Basic Italian Salad Dressing

4.75 from 8 votes

When I realized I had been cooking for years but never ventured past a basic oil and vinegar dressing, my search was on for the perfect Italian Salad Dressing recipe.  

Salad dressing in a serving glass, with fresh herbs

After reading every blog, book and site–I even dug through a few old recipe cards–I listed out every ingredient, and measured every amount.

Only half of the ingredients in this recipe are absolutely necessary. The other half are optional–which makes this dressing incredibly flexible.

A few things that do make a difference:

  • Use GOOD olive oil!
  • White wine vinegar is a nice alternative to the white vinegar. 
  • Try not to use too many chopped herbs (the fresh parsley, oregano or thyme). As tasty as they may be, the dressing can get too thick. 
  • If you do not have a ceramic garlic grater, the garlic can be mashed in a mortar with the salt or on a cutting board.

The flavors will blend nicely if the dressing is shaken well and sits at room temp for a couple of hours.

4.75 from 8 votes

Basic Italian Salad Dressing

By: Dawn Joyal
Simple and flexible, this dressing is best made at least a few hours in advance, so the flavors can blend nicely.
Prep: 15 minutes
Resting Time: 2 hours
Total: 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 8 servings


  • 6 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp white vinegar, or white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped fine
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp fresh oregano, chopped fine
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated on ceramic grater
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Optional Add-Ins

  • 2 Tbsp finely diced onion, shallot, or green onion
  • 1 tsp honey, or other unprocessed sugar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/8 tsp fresh thyme, removed from stems and chopped fine
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper


  • Place olive oil, vinegar, and lemon juice in a shaker or jar with a tight fitting lid.
  • Add herbs and spices to wet ingredients.
  • Shake well and let rest at room temperature for at least two hours.


Serving: 1tbsp, Calories: 96kcal, Carbohydrates: 1g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 146mg, Potassium: 5mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 80IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 5mg, Iron: 1mg
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About the Author

So far, Dawn Joyal‘s years on this planet have been split living in Rhode Island and California, when a family business brought her to sunny SoCal. She did exactly what everyone guessed she’d do, and started acting. In fact, she’s still at it.  When she is not at Improv or auditions, she is usually in her kitchen feeding her friends and using chopping as therapy. Enjoy Half Baked – a silly series of very short episodes created a while back that combine Dawn’s two favorite things; comedy and cooking.  You can also find Dawn on Instagram and Twitter.

A photo of Andrew Wilder leaning into the frame and smiling, hovering over mixing bowls in the kitchen.

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simon andrew
January 31, 2020 1:57 am

5 stars
Thanks for this lovely recipe