Make your own zesty Italian dressing at home! This easy recipe needs basic pantry staple ingredients, and makes enough for several salads, so you can make a batch and keep it in the fridge for later.

For some more healthier salad mix-ins, try my pesto salad dressing, basic shallot vinaigrette, or use thinned-out lemon herb tahini sauce to top off all of your favourite vegan salads. See it used with my vegan hot girl summer salad.

A small mason jar filled with Italian dressing on a kitchen counter.
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Zesty Italian dressing ingredients with labels.

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Herbs: the recipe calls for oregano and thyme, but an Italian spice blend (sometimes called pizza spice) can be subbed if you'd like.
  • Vinegar: for a bit of a twist, try this with homemade herbal vinegar in place of plain red wine vinegar.
  • Honey: use a vegan sub, like maple syrup or plain sugar, to make this recipe fully vegan.
  • Mustard: Dijon is best, but another mustard can be used (as long as it's not yellow hotdog mustard).
  • Oil: extra virgin olive oil will have the best taste, but another neutral oil can be subbed in a pinch.

Step by Step

Italian dressing steps 1 and 2, mixing the dressing in a jar.

Step 1: add all the ingredients to a screw-top jar.

Step 2: shake until fully combined and lightened in colour.

Top Tips

  • Use a jar: so much easier than a bowl and whisk, and it's already in a storage container, so you have less dishes! A canning jar works perfectly for this.
  • Don't worry if it solidifies: good olive oil tends to partly solidify when refrigerated, so don't worry if your dressing gets too thick in the fridge. Just take it out and let it come back to room temperature before using.
  • Shake if it's been stored: the dressing will naturally separate after about half an hour. Give it a good shake before use to mix again.

How to Store

Storage: keep in the fridge for up to a week in a sealed container.

Freezing: while salad dressing can be frozen, it will 'break' in the freezer and probably won't mix back into a smooth dressing when thawed. I don't recommend it because the texture will be ruined.


What is Italian dressing supposed to taste like?

It should be bold and flavourful from the red wine vinegar, herbs, and raw garlic. Zesty is right!

What's the difference between Italian dressing and vinaigrette?

Italian dressing is a vinaigrette in that it calls for a mix of vinegar and oil, so they're the same thing, just called different names in different places.

What is Italian dressing in Italy?

This type of dressing isn't actually commonly used in Italy, where salads are usually very simply dressing with olive oil and lemon juice or vinegar right at the table. This vinaigrette originated in North America.

If you make this Italian Vinaigrette or any other kitchen staples on Wholehearted Eats, please take a moment to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. It’s such a help to others who want to try the recipe. For more WHE, follow along on Instagram or subscribe for new posts via email.


A small mason jar filled with Italian dressing on a kitchen counter.
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5 from 2 votes

Zesty Italian Dressing

Make your own zesty Italian dressing at home! This easy recipe needs basic pantry staple ingredients, and makes enough for several salads.
Prep Time5 minutes
Total Time5 minutes
Servings: 6
Author: Sophie


  • 1 jar with a tight-fitting lid
  • Microplane


  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic grated on a microplane
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoons dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt to taste
  • Pinch black pepper
  • Pinch red pepper flakes


  • Add all of the ingredients to a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake until well combined. The dressing should be thicker and lightened in colour when it's fully mixed.
    ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, ¼ cup red wine vinegar, 2 cloves garlic, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoons dried oregano, ½ teaspoon dried thyme, 1 teaspoon honey, ¼ teaspoon sea salt, Pinch black pepper, Pinch red pepper flakes
  • Use immediately or refrigerate for up to a week. The dressing will thicken in the fridge but will return to normal at room temperature.


Serving: 2tablespoons | Calories: 154kcal

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