My earliest memories of salad dressing are of both my mom and my French grandmother making jars of what was essentially garlic-laden liquid gold. They never bought salad dressings, as they always made it from scratch.
Fast forward a few years to those 1980’s old-school Italian restaurants with huge-ass brown wooden bowls filled with iceberg lettuce, celery, garbanzo beans, and more (heavily coated in a creamy red wine dressing). It was so good, and I ate many, many bowls of those salads as a teen and young adult.
I often miss those bowls of deliciousness, so I came up with a dressing that combines all of those elements, just with way less oil, no cheese, and lots of great flavor! In fact when I think back, the only thing I didn’t like about the dressing of yore, was that it was mostly oil and very little of the good stuff. This dressing is all good stuff, plus it’s creamy and emulsified (so no deep pools of oil). It’s also gluten-free and vegan too.
Here’s a Facebook Live video that I filmed recently making this dressing. I always have a big canning jar of the dressing in my fridge, which makes salad prep super quick. Plus the dressing will last at least a week or two in your fridge.
Let me know if you make this. I’d love to hear! Oh, and if you’re wondering about the thickener, both Instant Clearjel and EZ Gel are what I use. They make the dressing creamy, and keep it emulsified so there’s no separation. You can buy both of the gels on Amazon, and I use them in dozens of recipes (from jam to dressings and no cook sauces). It’s pretty amazing and versatile stuff.
Julie's Old-School Creamy Italian Dressing
Yield 1 cup
This dressing is so good, and you will want to put it on everything, from mixed green salads to roasted beets!
In a blender jar, combine the vinegar, oil, water, garlic, and salt and blend until smooth. Add the oregano and blend again. With the blender running on low, add the Instant Clearjel or EZ Gel through the top of the blender. Blend until smooth and creamy. Wait 5 minutes and blend again briefly until smooth. This is because the gels can take about 5 minutes to completely thicken, and if you blend again after 5 minutes you will have a super smooth and creamy dressing. The dressing will last for 1 to 2 weeks in your refrigerator.
*Sometimes I'll add a splash or two of Bragg Liquid Aminos into the dressing to give it a bit of umami. It's also delish with 1 to 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes added too. This is a great blueprint recipe!