Here’s the thing about salad.  If you don’t have the stuff in your house available at all times with the dressing already made and ready to go, chances are you aren’t going to eat one.  Even if you want to eat salads, even if at 6:00 you plan on having a salad with dinner, by 7:00 when dinner hits the table chances are it’s hitting the table without a salad.  Don’t worry.  It’s not you.  It’s the salad.

THIS is why I’m so in love with my favourite kale salad, which you can prepare, mix with the dressing and keep it in the fridge for at least a week.  When you want salad you just pull out the bag, grab a handful and throw it on your plate.  With flair.  I hate to get you all worked up about a salad recipe I’m not going to be featuring for another couple of weeks, but I wanted to get across the point that if you do a little work in advance you’ll increase the likelihood of all those nutritious leafy greens making it onto your plate and into your belly.

So yeah, the kale salad recipe is coming in a couple of weeks but for now what I have is a collection of my 4 favourite dressings for summer AND one of my favourite tips ever so you never have to remember a salad dressing recipe again.


sweet balsamic dressing recipe


I use this dressing all summer long on just about ANYTHING from salads to roasted red peppers to beets.  It’s tangy and sharp with a bit of honey to sweeten it up.


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Course: Salad Dressing
Author: The Art of Doing Stuff


  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
  • honey to taste start with 1 Tablespoon and build from that
  • salt & pepper


  • Mix together balsamic, dijon, honey and salt.
  • Slowly drizzle in the olive oil and whisk until emulsified.


Need a salad idea to use it on?  THIS is the one.

white balsamic salad dressing


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Course: Salad Dressing
Author: The Art of Doing Stuff


  • 2 Tbsp White Balsamic vinegar
  • 4 Tbsps Olive Oil
  • 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • salt & pepper


  • Mix together white balsamic, dijon, salt & pepper.
  • Slowly drizzle in the olive oil and whisk until emulsified.


White balsamic dressing is sweeter than a regular balsamic dressing and it used to be much more difficult to find.  Now you can find it in most grocery stores.  If you have trouble getting your salad dressing to emulsify and stay together without separating there are 2 things you can do to fix that.

  1. Mix together all your ingredients INCLUDING something that will act as an emulsifier like mustard or salt.
  2. Slowly, slowly whisk in your olive oil bit by bit by drizzling it into the other ingredients.

If you do those two things your dressing shouldn’t separate.


THIS is the salad I love to use a White Balsamic dressing on.  It’s a perfect summer salad with a mixture of sweet and tart apples, with the licorice taste of shaved fennel.

apple and fennel salad

Heirloom tomato salad with lemon ricotta


Oil & Vinegar

Oil and vinegar dressing gets fancy with the use of white balsamic.
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Course: Salad Dressing
Author: Karen


  • 1 tbsp olive oil The good stuff
  • 1 tbsp white balsamic vinegar


  • Drizzle salad with oil.
  • Drizzle salad with vinegar to taste.


That’s right.  Plain old oil and vinegar.  You don’t even have to mix it.  Dark balsamic and good quality olive oil drizzled over tomatoes, basil and buffalo mozzarella is a classic.


But if you’re looking for something a bit more adventurous you can drizzle tomatoes with white balsamic and olive oil.  Add in some ricotta cheese and lemon rind and you’ll be well on your way to eating salad every night.  Heirloom tomato salad with lemon ricotta.


heirloom tomato salad with lemon ricotta



Maple salad dressing

THIS one is sweet so if that’s not your jam, just reduce the amount of maple syrup in it.


A sweet and tart dressing perfect for summer salads.
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Course: Salad Dressing
Author: Karen


  • 1 part Maple Syrup
  • 1 part White Balsamic Vinegar
  • 3 parts Olive Oil
  • dash of dijon mustard
  • salt & pepper
  • Mixed Baby Greens
  • Brie Cheese cut into bite sized pieces
  • Green grapes cut in half
  • Sliced Strawberies
  • Spiced Sugared Pecans


  • For dressing, mix together vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in olive oil to emulsify.
  • Combine salad ingredients and toss with dressing.



  1. Karen Purpero says:

    We used to live in Florence Italy and I learned some very important life changing things. One is, Always dress salad with Vinegar First, THEN oil. Otherwise the vinegar just slides off your oily salad. This is if you are at a restaurant or at a friend’s home; one who didn’t want to dress the salad in case you sadly prefer Hidden Valley Ranch. If you’re at home, you whisk together oil, vinegar, salt, pepper at the bottom of the empty salad bowl, add salad stuff, and stir it together.

  2. Korrine Johnson says:

    Yum! How long would you say these should last in the fridge?

  3. Kim from Milwaukee says:

    Karen, I got really hooked on your maple dressing, and then I found out I needed to control my blood sugar big time. So now I use a simple 1/2 lemon juice, 1/2 avocado oil, with a bit of balsamic vinegar, salt and stevia added and it’s ALMOST as good as your recipe! :) Costco has giant bottles of lemon juice from Italy so it’s easy peasy to whip up in a jar, especially since I pretty much live on salads now (not complaining!).

    • Karen says:

      You know what? I can’t eat anything with Stevia. All I taste is licorice! I got a big bottle of cranberry juice 2 days ago and can’t even drink it because it’s sweetened with Stevia. I love licorice … just not as a sweetener. I’d probably like it in my apple fennel salad, lol. ~ karen!

      • Kim from Milwaukee says:

        Karen, I only use the stevia because it won’t raise my blood glucose, but the maple syrup would work as well. I went for years being sensitive to citrus so the lemon juice is a new thing for me and it has such a fresh taste. ACV has gotten a little old for me after 30 years, even though I still use it for other things.

  4. Marlene Eastman says:

    Easy Beet Salad … OMG yes!!! First time I had it was at Aprils Point, Strait of Georgia, off of Vancouver Island, with some incredible wild caught salmon. Soooo good!!! I use toasted pine nuts instead of the pecans. Great recipes!!!! Love them!!!

  5. marilyn meagher says:

    Great recipes ! I don’t care if you ever post a kale salad recipe because I cannot stand it …have a nice one Karen.

  6. karin sorensen says:

    are you kaleing me right now???

    ;0B nah, it’s fine, I can wait for the kale recipe, seeing my few seedlings are sad little underdeveloped creatures that won’t even be enough for an amouse bouche…. how can you NOT grow kale right….. leave it to me I guess :0(

    have a great weekend


  7. Mary W says:

    My family just returned from a trip where they ate ‘strange’ food at a very expensive restaurant. All 4 came home raving about the roasted beet salad. I was going to look up how to best roast beets but read my email first – you must have been reading my mind. THANK YOU.

  8. Sondra Oravetz says:

    Thank you, nice salad dressing ideas! I made notes. Here’s two of my favorites. Change out the balsamic vinegars to Bragg’s (or any other brand) RAW organic cider vinegar with the “mother” and notice the punch you get in taste over ordinary red or apple cider vinegars plus add some maple syrup, agave or honey. White Miso and lime juice plus the rest of your favorite ingredients and a good “California Ranch” (top of the list for outstanding olive oils) olive oil is fab! I’m ready for that salad, my favorite part of the meal….bring it on!

  9. NinaMargo says:

    Karen- I can’t wait to try these. Thanks! Have you experimented with substituting avocado oil for olive oil in any of them?

  10. Mia says:

    Love that tip! So what’s good for writing on bottles? Dishwasher safe? And it should work to write another recipe on the other side, right? I know already that these recipes will become standards. Buh-bye store bought!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Mia. If you click on the link it’ll bring you to the post on how to do the bottle writing. :) ~ karen!

  11. Wendy says:

    I haven’t bought salad dressing for years, since making my own. They taste weird now. The maple dressing is my go-to most nights. Thanks for the other combos.

  12. Emie says:

    I’ve been using your “stolen” Maple Dressing since you first posted it. I always remember your story behind the dressing every time I use it!

  13. Sera says:

    I used to make salad dressing all the time. Now I’m super lazy and just toss arugula with balsamic and olive oil, top it with sea salt and lemon pepper and shaved Parmesan. I had it in a restaurant and it changed my life.
    Now that it’s strawberry season I do the Mark Bittman strawberry balsamic and arugula salad too. Just mascerate the strawberries with balsamic and pepper for five minutes then toss with arugula, olive oil and a fresh grind of sea salt. Top with goat cheese if you’re feeling frisky (I usually am).
    I’ve nearly forgotten how to make salad dressing. Thanks for the reminder.
    PS. Have you ever tried a csprees with nectarines? so good.

  14. TucsonPatty says:

    I love the sound of these dressings. My mouth is watering! I’m getting ready to begin a short housesitting job, and I buy bags of readymade salad for my dinner, and then I only have a bowl and fork to wash! I can make these dressings and take with me and I will be a happy camper. I had a dessert out recently that had a Vanilla Balsamic Reduction as a drizzle. I tasted it first and thought I had died and gone to heaven! Is there a special reduction recipe you like? I’ve read to make it with sugar to help with the thickening, I guess…i brought some home and I’m going to try it on vanilla ice cream. Yum.

    • Sera says:

      That sounds so good! There is this fancy olive oil shop nearby and I bought a bottle of espresso balsamic to drizzle over vanilla ice cream. It was so good!

    • Karen says:

      HI Patty! There’s no need to add sugar to reduce the balsamic. It just takes time that’s all. :) And so you know … your entire house and YOU are going to stink like vinegar, lol. For real. I have now found a balsamic glaze I like in fact and I just use that instead of making my own reduction. Making it is eye watering pungent and it sticks around for a while. :) ~ k!

      • Bee says:

        Salad dressing….yay finally something i can do! Kinda getting tired of just watching you do stuff and laughing. Not laughing at you doing stuff, you are a bit funny is all. Almost quit you cause you were doing all the stuff and I was just reading and watching and having coffee spew all over the place. I know every one tells you all day long how talented you are, so I am not going to be that type of groupie. So try harder and sleep less, oh and try building a castle next week or something, seriously you are lazy and a under achiever and you know it..

      • Karen says:

        Finally someone who speaks the truth. ~ k!

  15. Paula says:

    Love the recipe on the bottle tip! Thx

  16. Ella says:

    Karen, that is such a brilliant idea to mark everything right on the dressing bottle. Heading out to get a few bottles tomorrow!!

    I hate goat cheese — almost as much as I loathe fennel (and olives – at least you spared me those). I usually sub very mild feta for blechy goaty goat cheese…. but maybe I will use cotija instead…. what can I sub for fennel…?

    • Karen says:

      Well if you don’t like fennel you probably shouldn’t sub with anything, lol. :) It’s that black licorice taste you’re looking for. You could just make a regular salad with a tough green like romaine, the apples and maybe a handful of walnuts though. ~ karen!

  17. Jani Wolfe says:

    They all sound so good! Thanks for sharing.

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The Art of Doing Stuff