Zesty Salad Dressing Made by Dad

Zesty salad dressing was the only dressing I would eat on a salad when I was a kid. My dad created this dressing but would never share his secret ingredients — until now!

He wanted to keep it a secret because it is special. This dressing is light, allows the color of the vegetables shine through, and adds the zip that raw vegetables need.

That was especially true back in the 1960’s when the only lettuce we knew was iceberg lettuce.

Although iceberg lettuce got a bad reputation as being nutritionally empty, it actually does supply vitamins, fiber, and water.

Kids aren’t usually fans of salads, or many vegetables for that matter, but the blend of vinegars in this recipe seems flavorful enough to attract the younger set.

As with most recipes, adjustments to your taste can be made so that Zesty Salad Dressing matches your palate.

Why so many vinegars? Well, for the flavor variety. My dad especially likes to use white balsamic vinegar and apple cider vinegar in his recipe.

These vinegars are flavorful but not harsh. The white balsamic vinegar keeps the dressing from getting too dark and obscuring the bright green of the lettuce leaves.

Smart thinking, Dad!

Dad’s Zesty Salad Dressing

A bright and light salad dressing with enough zing to get noticed!
Prep Time15 minutes
Course: Salad
Cuisine: International
Keyword: salad dressing
Servings: 30 2 tbsp
Calories: 87kcal
Author: A. JoAnn


  • whisk


  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp sugar
  • 10 tbsp vegetable oil, like Crisco
  • 11 tbsp olive oil
  • 10 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
  • 6 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 10 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 11 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 splashes water


  • Mix all ingredients and taste-test as you go, whisking all together in a 2 quart bowl or shaking in a sealed quart glass container.
    whisking the ingredients mixes the oils, vinegars, and spices thoroughly.
  • Store in refrigerator in a glass container.


This dressing is great on crisp greens and as a “wilting” dressing for more tender greens like spinach, arugala, and leaf lettuces.

Looking for some great main dish salads? Try our Superfoods Salad.

Post updated on May 3, 2024.

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Author: A. JoAnn

Here is where I share the beauty I find in everyday life; and the humor, too!