Homemade Italian Dressing

Head-on shot of a bottle filled with homemade Italian salad dressing. There are garlic cloves around the bottle and a standing red bell pepper in the background.

This easy homemade vegan Italian salad dressing is not only perfect for topping simple green garden salads, but also as a main ingredient in some of our favorite summer salads. We especially love it in our cucumber tomato salad and in our easy summer pasta salad. Any way you use it, you’ll definitely always want a bottle on hand. And with such a simple recipe, you can!


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I love big green salads. Unlike some people around here (*cough* B), I prefer a light dressing to heavy cream dressings. And this homemade Italian dressing hits the spot just right for me!

It’s made fresh with wholesome ingredients in just a few minutes with quality olive oil, white wine vinegar, fresh garlic and red bell pepper and Italian herbs. You won’t believe how simple this is. And you may never buy grocery store Italian dressing again!

Fresh and refreshing. Simple and delicious. On a big Italian salad, a simple side salad or just poured over a bowl of cherry tomatoes and cucumber, you’ll rank this homemade Italian dressing recipe among your favorite salad dressings!

Why We Love This Homemade Salad Dressing

  • This dressing could not be easier to make. You probably have all the ingredients in your kitchen already.
  • It’s made with ingredients you know and recognize. 
  • More than just a salad dressing, it’s also a great marinade for tofu cutlets or light summer salads like our vegan pasta salad recipe.

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Close up head on shot of a large glass salad dressing jar filled with homemade vegan Italian dressing. There are garlic cloves around the bottle and a plate with greens in the background.

Ingredients in Italian Dressing (Vegan)

You only need 8 simple ingredients to make your own Italian salad dressing at home!

  • Olive oil – First thing: you want to use a good quality extra virgin olive oil that will add flavor and enhance the dressing.
  • White wine vinegar – See next section for how to substitute if you can’t find this
  • Garlic cloves – minced
  • Red bell pepper – minced
  • SPICES: Italian seasoning, salt, ground black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes (optional – for a little extra spice)

If you want to make this a creamy italian dressing, add 1 tsp – 1 Tbsp vegan mayo to the mix!

Substitution Options

If you don’t have or can’t tolerate one of the above ingredients, here are our best substitution tips. Remember: substituting any of the ingredients may lead to a difference in the final product that is not always a positive one. Let us know in the comments if you try any subs and how they work out for you! 

For the olive oil: In a pinch, you can sub avocado oil, safflower, sunflower, or canola oil for the extra virgin. They don’t impart as much flavor, but they do have a similar texture and mouthfeel.

For the white wine vinegar: You can sub red wine vinegar for this recipe if that’s your preference. You can also use distilled white vinegar, but you should add 2 tsp of fresh lemon juice and 1 tsp sugar or maple syrup to give it similar notes to the white wine vinegar. I do not recommend apple cider vinegar for this, but balsamic vinegar would be a nice, earthy addition.

For the fresh garlic cloves: You can sub jarred minced garlic if that’s what you keep on hand. I usually use about a scant tablespoon per large clove of fresh minced garlic. I haven’t tried this with garlic powder. If you do, I recommend using about a teaspoon of garlic powder.

For the red bell pepper: You can use a variety of bell peppers if you like. Mixed yellow, red, and orange bell peppers would also add a great splash of color. 

For the Italian seasoning: You can use an equal mix of dried basil and oregano if you don’t have Italian seasoning. You could also use fresh herbs if you keep a little herb garden.

Head on shot of a hand pouring a glass jar of salad dressing on a pile of green lettuce.

How to Make Your Own Salad Dressing

This vegan Italian dressing recipe couldn’t be easier to make. Once you know how easy it is, you’ll make your own dressing all the time!

Step 1 – Prep the ingredients. Get everything out and mince the garlic and bell pepper and add them to the jar.

Step 2 – Combine and shake. Add all the rest of the ingredients to a 16 oz jar and shake vigorously to combine ingredients. You can use any jar with a resealable lid. I keep an old glass salad dressing jar in the pantry for this, but a mason jar or the like would work just as well.

How to Use Italian Salad Dressing

You can use this as a simple salad dressing on a big mixed green salad. Or you can use it as a marinade for summer salads like our:

You can also use this dressing as a marinade for:

A hand reaches in and lifts up a bottle of Italian salad dressing. There is a plate of lettuce and red bell pepper in the background and garlic cloves all around the scene.

How to Store This Homemade Dressing

Store your Italian dressing in the fridge for up to 5 days. It will last a few days longer if you are not using fresh herbs and garlic.

A note about appearance: Quality olive oil will harden when refrigerated. If you find this to be the case, just run the bottle under some tap water or let it sit on the counter at room temperature for about 20 minutes.

Make sure you give the dressing a good shake each time before using it to really incorporate the ingredients!

Can you freeze Italian Salad Dressing? We do not recommend freezing this dressing. It freezes fine, but it does not thaw well!

More Delicious Vegan Salad Dressings:

When you make this delicious dressing, we’d love to hear about the different ways you use it! We always get excited seeing how you’re using our recipes in your own home!

We’d be so grateful if you could leave a star rating and review in the comments section as well. It REALLY helps support our work and get our recipes to more people like you!

We also love to chat with you on IG, so tag us in your vegan food photos! If you’re not already hanging out with us over on Instagram , we’re @theplantpowercouple with the “the”.

Yield: 1 (16-oz) jar

Zesty Italian Dressing

A hand reaches in and lifts up a bottle of Italian salad dressing. There is a plate of lettuce and red bell pepper in the background and garlic cloves all around the scene.

This easy homemade Italian dressing is not only perfect for topping simple green garden salads, but also as a main ingredient in some of our favorite summer salads. We especially love it in our cucumber tomato salad and in our easy summer pasta salad. Any way you use it, you’ll definitely always want a bottle on hand. And with such a simple recipe, you can!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar*
  • 2 large garlic clove - minced
  • 1 Tbsp red bell pepper - minced
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp fine ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes (optional - for a little extra spice)

Instructions

  1. Mince the garlic and red pepper.
  2. Add all ingredients to a 16-oz jar and shake vigorously to combine ingredients.

Notes

*Vinegar Notes: You can easily sub red wine vinegar for this recipe if that’s your preference. You can also use distilled white vinegar, but you should add 2 tsp of lemon juice and 1 tsp sugar. The combination of lemon juice and sugar will help the regular white vinegar taste more like white wine vinegar.

The oil in the dressing may harden a little in colder storage temps. Just run the bottle under lukewarm water or leave it on the counter for about 20-30 minutes and shake vigorously to recombine ingredients.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

16

Serving Size:

1 oz

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 122Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 73mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated and may not always be accurate.

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