The basic formula is 1 part acid to 3 parts oil. You can vary the ingredients to suit your taste. Good oils to use are olive oil (obviously), walnut oil (not so obvious), toasted sesame oil, grapeseed oil, etc. For your acid, you can use any vinegar - balsamic, white wine, red wine, apple cider, or fruit-flavored vinegars. You could also use a citrus juice (like lemon) in place of, or in combination with the vinegar. This is really a basic formula. You may decide that you need to adjust the ratio of vinegar to oil slightly, depending on the combinations you choose. Always give it a taste as you go along!
Besides the oil and vinegar, all you really need is a dash of salt and pepper. Shake it up in a jelly jar, and you're good to go! If you want a dressing that is a little more exciting, you can add in other stuff. Fresh herbs, garlic, yogurt, sun-dried tomatoes, and olives all make flavorful additions. Mustard or honey are excellent additions, because they are not only delicious in a dressing, but they act as emulsifiers and keep your dressing from separating immediately after you shake it.
Today I made a Greek dressing with red wine vinegar, olive oil, fresh oregano (from my garden), chopped olives and a squirt of lemon juice. It was fabulous over my salad of mixed greens, cucumbers, red onions, and goat cheese. Not to mention, it looked really lush in a glass cruet!
Do you typically make your own dressings? What do you like to put in your dressing? Any good ideas for a dressing? Let me know!