How to Save Money on Store Bought Salad Dressing: Make Your Own!

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Savvy Spender knows how to pinch a penny and about being on a budget. She has learned great ways to save money on everyday expenses.

How to Save Money on Store Bought Salad Dressing: Make Your Own!

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I know, I know!  I keep going on about all the green vegetables in the markets at the moment but you'll just have to excuse me. It's been a long winter of eating nothing but root vegetables and stews.

Just in case you are still in the mood for those, please see my post, How to Save Money This Winter With Warming Soups and Stews.

While I do love making braises and soups and eating the tender and flavorful meals that result, in the spring and summer I am looking for faster food. By this I do not mean hamburgers and fries, I mean food that can be made in a hurry, leaving me and my husband more time to enjoy the warmer outdoor temperatures.

The great thing about spring vegetables is they do not require lengthy cooking times to get tender-- most of them are just chop and go. I love to add sliced red and yellow peppers, diced avocado, and chopped vine-ripened tomatoes to a bed of in-season lettuce. I usually pick whichever great looking lettuce I can find on sale that week for my salads.

Have you ever thought about how much you spend on bottles of salad dressing over the course of a year?

At anywhere from $2.39 to $6-plus a bottle, it adds up quickly. Compare that to the cost of half a cup of oil and a quarter cup of vinegar, which add up to just cents! You quickly save dollars off your grocery bill by making your own dressings. (You can also try making your own mayonnaise, but more on that later.)

The vinaigrette and salad below are just examples. You can switch out the sherry vinegar for balsamic or cider or whatever vinegar you think will go best with the salad; sometimes it is just whichever you have in your pantry! You can also use extra virgin olive, canola, or vegetable oil instead of the olive oil I have specified in the recipe.

For more ideas about oils and why having a few in your pantry is a good idea, please see my post, The Building Blocks of a Can-Do Pantry. And of course, you can dress any vegetable with vinaigrette. There is the classic pairing of mozzarella, tomato, and basil with a balsamic vinaigrette but roasted asparagus, sautéed baby carrots, and shaved fennel (to name a few) also taste amazing with a dressing.

Money Saving Tip:

I buy olive oil, rather than extra virgin olive oil, not only for its lighter taste, but also because it is cheaper. When you go through several bottles a year, those dollars really add up. I also buy in bulk whenever it goes on sale, as I know I will use it before the expiration date.

How to Save Money on Store Bought Salad Dressing: Make Your Own!Baby Mozzarella, Fig, and Walnut Salad with a Sherry Vinaigrette, serves 4 as an appetizer or a side

  • 8 baby mozzarella balls, quartered
  • 4 dried or fresh figs, quartered
  • ½ cup walnuts, chopped roughly
  • 3 cups mesclun (a mix of baby lettuces) or arugula, bibb, or Boston lettuce, washed and dried
  • Sherry Vinaigrette

  • ¼ cup sherry vinegar
  • 1 tsp mustard (Dijon and whole grain work best)
  • 1 tsp honey
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

 

1. Whisk together vinegar, mustard, and honey. While continuously whisking, begin to drizzle in the olive oil in a steady stream. Season with salt and pepper to your taste.

2. Toss lettuce, mozzarella, figs and walnuts with a drizzle of the vinaigrette and add more until you have moistened the leaves to your liking.

3. Serve immediately.

Related posts:

The Building Blocks of a Can Do Pantry

Summer is for Salads

How to Save Money When Buying Groceries for Two

How to Save Money This Winter With Warming Soups and Stews

Vienna NowellVienna Nowell

Vienna currently resides in New York City, but is originally from London. She is a contributing writer under the A Straight Talk on Debt and Savvy Spender blogs. She and her husband are recently married and they are contemplating taking the nexgt big step and buying their first home.  They are still working their way through the process of buying an apartment, and Vienna and her husband are learning as they go. Vienna also writes a food blog Tiny Test Kitchen, is a freelance writer, chef and food stylist. Read more posts by Vienna here. Compensated Blogger for CareOne Debt Relief Services.

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  • This sounds delicious. It's true salad dressing really does add up. Can't wait to try your recipe.

  • I also buy olive oil instead of EVOO to save a bit. Even though canola and vegetable oil are a little bit cheaper, olive oil is so much better for you so I try to stick with that. I'm excited about this recipe. It sounds like it will taste fantastic.

  • No 'monosodium glutemate' or 'partially hydrogenated fructose' or, worst of all... YELLOW 2.

  • Left-over fresh herbs:  Wash, dry with a paper towel, then lay out on a clean, dry paper towel.  When dried -- make ssure there is NO moisture--crumble into a clean jar with a lid. You now have the freshest dried herbs you will ever have!

    Dried mint--try making mint tea.

    Mince left-over garlic into a jar of olive oil.  Store in the refrigerator.  Use the oil to make dressing; toss some garlic and a lttle of the oil in a pan to saute the garlic when needed. Let your imagination be your guide!

  • This is what I usually make as a quick dressing:

    2/3 cup EVOO

    1/3 cup Balsamic Vinaigrette

    about 1TBS of Grey Poupon

    Kosher Salt & freshly ground Pepper to taste

    Quick, easy & healthy!

  • Many people are hesitant about buying fresh herbs, as they often use them for just one dish and have over half a bunch remaining that will sit there until they have to be tossed out. I make sure that I plan ahead and only buy a bunch of herbs if I know

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