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The World’s Best Salad Dressing

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Did You Know that Price Per Ounce, Salad Dressing is One of the Most Expensive Items in a Grocery Store? Learn How to Make Vinaigrette at Home!

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Salad dressing requires attention to details. For example, one of my favorite meals of the past few years was a quiet date night at Highlands Bar and Grill in Birmingham, Alabama. It was just the two of us and it was a lovely, quiet evening with good service, good wine, and good food – the trifecta of what successful dining out should be. One of the highlights was a simple butter leaf salad that was perfectly dressed in a mustard shallot vinaigrette.

“Salad?  you say, “A world class restaurant and she remembers the salad?”

Of course, all of the other dishes were amazing, but actually, sometimes the things that are the most challenging in the kitchen are those made of the least amount of ingredients. The fewer the ingredients there are in a recipe, the better each individual ingredient has to be, and the better the techniques must be executed in preparing those ingredients. The real secret to a world class restaurant is that the attention to detail is the same as with a simple salad as it is with the foie gras studded with truffles or christened with foam.

What makes a salad memorable is the quality and freshness of the lettuce, the care with which the greens were washed and dried, the temperature at which they were stored. The vinaigrette must be  well-balanced in sour, salty, bitter, and sweet. It should be  judiciously seasoned with good sea salt and freshly ground pepper. The lettuce leaves must be crisp and gently tossed with just enough sharp, shallot vinaigrette to bring the dish together.

This isn’t world class restaurant cooking — it’s just paying attention.

rice wine vinegar - the world's best salad dressing

Less is More

The greens shouldn’t be dry, nor swimming in dressing. Whether it’s a vinaigrette made by a French-trained chef or a store-bought bottle of Ranch or the World’s Best Salad Dressing, each leaf should be have a quick kiss of flavor to heighten the flavor, not overwhelm. A good salad is truly satisfying.

And, guess what? You can do this at home.

Summer is high-salad season. There are also so many fresh greens at the farmer’s markets and better grocers in summer.  Treat greens like the special ingredients they are, not just a thoughtless part of your meal.


Salad Dressing Recipes

You will notice the title is not vinaigrette, but salad dressing. While I do adore a classic French vinaigrette, I must confess, I have a new love in my salad bowl. It very well quite possibly the world’s best salad dressing. I actually once heard a non-vegetable eating 9-year old boy refer to it as such. I got this mouth-watering recipe from my mama-in-law and now I am passing it along to you.

This magical combination is  comfortable, familiar, and just sexy enough because it’s homemade, and not out of a bottle. The World’s Best Salad Dressing is a bit on the sweet side due to the seasoned rice vinegar, yet tempered with a heavy hand of sharp garlic and a pungent pow of mustard powder. I love it and I hope you will, too.

Bon Appétit, Y’all!

World’s Best Salad Dressing

Author: Virginia Willis


  • 1/3 cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • 2 cloves garlic pressed or very finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine. Or, place in a jar and shake to combine. Stores in a sealable container for up to 5 days.

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Copyright © 2019 Virginia Willis Culinary Enterprises, Inc.

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Please note that this post may contain affiliate links. (That means I make a commission if you use my affiliate link to buy the product.)

Virginia Willis

Georgia-born French-trained Chef Virginia Willis has made chocolate chip cookies with Dwanye “The Rock” Johnson, foraged for berries in the Alaskan wilderness, harvested capers in the shadow of a smoldering volcano in Sicily, and beguiled celebrities such as Jane Fonda, Bill Clinton, and Julie Chrisley with her cooking -- but it all started in her grandmother’s country kitchen. Virginia is a chef instructor for the digital streaming platform Food Network Kitchen and author of Secrets of the Southern Table: A Food Lover’s Tour of the Global South, Lighten Up, Y’all, Bon Appétit, Y’all, Basic to Brilliant, Y’all, Okra, and Grits. Lighten Up, Y’all: Classic Southern Recipes Made Healthy and Wholesome received a 2016 James Beard Foundation Award of Excellence. She is the former TV kitchen director for Martha Stewart Living, Bobby Flay, and Nathalie Dupree; has worked in Michelin-starred restaurants; and traveled the world producing food stories – from making cheese in California to escargot farming in France. She has appeared on Food Network's Chopped, CBS This Morning, Fox Family and Friends, Martha Stewart Living, and as a judge on Throwdown with Bobby Flay. She’s been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Eater, and Food52 and has contributed to Eating Well, Garden & Gun, and Bon Appétit, and more. The Chicago Tribune praised her as one of "Seven Food Writers You Need to Know." Her legion of fans loves her down-to-earth attitude and approachable spirit. Learn more about Virginia and follow her traveling exploits at

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