The Homemade Dressing That Makes Me Excited to Eat Salad

updated Sep 16, 2021
Christine’s House Dressing

This versatile vinaigrette, inspired by Caesar dressing, is packed with anchovy, garlic, and lemon.

Makesabout 3/4 cup

Prep5 minutes

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Christine's house dressing ladled onto spoon from mason jar.
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman | Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

Salad dressing at my house used to come in one of two forms: a store-bought bottle or a homemade one that was honestly pretty lackluster. Designed to have a long shelf life, my homemade one didn’t have any fresh ingredients like garlic or shallots but relied on just vinegar, mustard, and oil instead. While it was perfectly fine, it didn’t make meals exciting to eat; rather, it was used out of sheer convenience for the occasional dinner side salad.

That all changed when we started eating all our meals at home and big salads started making the lunch rotation on the regular. I threw together a new dressing on a whim, packing it with anchovy paste, garlic, and zingy lemon zest and juice, and we haven’t made our other dressing since. It’s the Gallary house dressing now that we make once a week, and it’s so good that even my 7-year-old daughter will eat kale massaged in this magical concoction.

Credit: Photo: Joe LIngeman | Food Stylist: Cyd Mcdowell

The Only Salad Dressing Recipe You Need

This dressing came about from a craving for Caesar salad. I wanted the same background notes of anchovy, the same punch from garlic, and the same zing from lemon, so I started with a big squeeze of anchovy paste (although I pinky swear that it won’t make things too fishy), a cube of my favorite frozen garlic, and lemon zest and juice from the small backyard lemon tree. Then I rounded it out with some Dijon (to keep things emulsified rather than using an egg), a big pinch of salt and pepper, and a blend of olive and canola oil. And just like that, I had a delicious dressing within minutes that made me excited to eat salad again.

We usually massage this very lemon-y dressing into kale and add a flurry of Parmesan cheese for a tasty kale Caesar, but we’ve drizzled it over roasted and grilled veggies, grain bowls, and white fish, too. I’ve made it with whatever I have on hand — fresh garlic, frozen garlic, anchovy paste, and jarred anchovies that I chopped into a smooth paste with some salt — all work beautifully depending on what’s available or how much effort you want to put into chopping. There have even been times I’ve forgotten to zest the lemon before juicing it, and it was still great. It’s a forgiving dressing that always delivers in flavor, so give it a whirl if you need to liven up your next salad.

Christine’s House Dressing

This versatile vinaigrette, inspired by Caesar dressing, is packed with anchovy, garlic, and lemon.

Prep time 5 minutes

Makes about 3/4 cup

Nutritional Info


  • 1

    medium lemon

  • 2 cloves

    garlic, or 2 frozen garlic cubes

  • 2 teaspoons

    anchovy paste, or 4 anchovy fillets

  • 1/3 cup

    neutral oil, such as grapeseed, vegetable, or canola

  • 1/4 cup

    olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon

    Dijon mustard

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper (optional)


  1. Finely grate the zest of 1 medium lemon (about 2 packed teaspoons) into a small jar or bowl. Juice the lemon (about 3 tablespoons) into the bowl. Finely chop 2 garlic cloves (if using anchovy fillets, finely chop 4 together with the garlic), chopping until it is paste-like. Add the garlic and anchovy or 2 teaspoons anchovy paste to the bowl.

  2. Add 1/3 cup neutral oil, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and a few grinds of black pepper if desired. Whisk or seal and and shake the jar until combined and emulsified.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Refrigerate in an airtight container up to 1 week. Rewhisk before using.