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Homemade Zesty Italian Dressing Recipe

Homemade Zesty Italian Dressing Recipe
Homemade Zesty Italian Dressing Recipe

Many recipes call for Italian dressing–and that’s when I bring out this homemade Zesty Italian Dressing Recipe. It has a kick that you will love. The bits of red pepper add instant eye-appeal.

You don’t have to worry about kitchen drudgery. It’s unbelievably fast to throw together and you can control the seasoning. It’s a snappier version to the Homemade Italian Seasoning Recipe I previously shared.

Homemade Zesty Italian Dressing Recipe

I love salads. I like them as full meals or as a side dish. I like them loaded down with good-for-you toppings as well as simple salads that don’t require much more than a bit of cheese, a bit of meat, and a drizzle of salad dressing.

But what I don’t like is a lot easier to pinpoint. I am not a fan of buying bottles of dressing from the store. Does anyone actually remember what they have and use them up? Or do you, like me, find a bottle of ranch dressing or Italian or bleu cheese and wonder how long that was hiding in the fridge?

I’m all about making smaller quantities. I want salad dressings that taste so good you can’t forget about them. That’s where this recipe enters the picture. It’s got a zippy flavor that tastes even better if you can give it time to mellow and chill in the refrigerator.

You don’t have to be a slave to those bottles of preservative-laden salad dressings. Real dressings aren’t gloppy like that. Ew. Instead, you can easily craft your flavor combinations. If you don’t like oregano, consider other traditional Italian seasonings. That goes for substitutions. Use the recipe for zesty Italian dressing as your base. Make it once, as is. See what you think. Then, give yourself free reign to play. Tweak it to make it your own. It’s an easy way to not only get kids in the kitchen, but to help them see how their herb choices affect a flavor. Plus, what kid doesn’t want to at least sample what they’ve concocted?

After one taste, you’ll easily see yourself adding this homemade zesty Italian salad dressing recipe to more than salads but to entrees like Slow Cooker Italian Chicken and Rice. I love that I don’t have to make last minute trips to the grocery store (again) for one more thing that I will use once and forget about. Now, you, like me, can easily have a bottle of salad dressing that’s ready to go when you are.

It’s another keeper from Indiana blogger The Stay at Home Chef. She has since abandoned her blog but you can find her cookbook on Amazon (affiliate link) The Stay-At-Home-Chef: A Beginning: Life and Recipes from the Open of WineStyles to Winter 2011. I do not know if that particular recipe is in there but I have followed along her blog and know she makes excellent food.

Homemade Zesty Italian Dressing Recipe

Homemade Zesty Italian Dressing Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Homemade Zesty Italian Dressing Recipe

I use this yummy homemade option for recipes that call for Italian dressing.

It comes from Indiana blogger:


  • 1/4 Cup Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1/3 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1/3 Cup Water
  • 1 teaspoon Lemon Juice
  • 1/4 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Red Bell Pepper, Minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Onion, Minced
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic, Minced
  • 1 teaspoon Oregano
  • Paprika
  • Sea Salt and Pepper


  1. Combine together.
  2. Store in refrigerator.

Small Towns: Destinations, not Drive-Thrus! I’m Jessica Nunemaker and THIS is Little Indiana.

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About Jessica Nunemaker

Jessica Nunemaker is the Owner of Little More than a website, Little Indiana is a PBS segment on the state-wide program "The Weekly Special," a bi-weekly column in a local newspaper, and a book. Look for "Little Indiana: Small Town Destinations" published by Indiana University Press in April 2016--just in time for Indiana's BIG 200th Birthday Celebration.


  1. Jessica Nunemaker

    Dried things usually have a stronger flavor so you may need to use a bit less. Just play around with it and see what works for your tastes! Hope it helps!

  2. Hi Jessica, great recipe! Exactly what I was looking for – a simple Italian dressing that is also Paleo compliant.

    One question, have you tried Onion and/or Garlic powder instead of minced Garlic and Onion? I was wondering if the measurements would be the same? I don’t have any fresh onion or garlic on hand :)


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