Lebanese salad dressing

March 24, 2010  •  Category:

I  moved to  California  in the early eighties  and back then  everybody around me was using bottled salad dressing with names like Ranch, Thousand Islands, French; that  was  bewildering to me; I did not understand why someone would buy a bottle of these rich  concoctions when it was so easy to whip up a salad dressing at home.

I never adopted this custom and stuck with my Lebanese dressing of fresh lemon juice, a smidgeon of fresh mashed garlic and lots of olive oil, even though at the beginning the only olive oil I could find in Southern California’s  supermarkets was Progresso, imported from Italy.

A  lot has changed  in the last thirty years and now the array of salad dressings has multiplied thousand-fold and hardly anybody I know uses strictly Ranch or Thousand Island or the one strangely called French Dressing; or do they?

What do you use? Do you make your own?

Here is mine. Time used is less than what it would take me to find a bottle in the supermarket, throw it in the cart, wait in line at the checkout stand and pay for it. It takes 56 seconds (or less) to make. It is  used  oneverything, cold and warm salads alike.

Lebanese Salad dressing:

Olive oil, fresh lemon juice and a smidgeon of mashed garlic.

  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped and mashed with salt
  • 1/2 large lemon, squeezed
  • 1/3 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt, to taste
  • sprinkle of dried mint (optional)


  1. Peel and dice the clove of garlic, 10 seconds
  2. Mash the clove of garlic with a pinch of salt in a mortar, 25 seconds
  3. Transfer to a small bowl; squeeze half of a lemon over the garlic, 6 seconds
  4. Add the olive oil and whip the mixture, 11 seconds
  5. Add  a dash of dried mint if desired, 4 seconds

TOTAL: 56 seconds


44 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Rosa says:

    Perfect and so tasty!



  2. peter says:

    Can you believe some will still not make their own dressing? They find it easier to reach on the market shelf and throw it in the cart.

    I basically go with a 3-1 oil to acid ratio and any flavourings in between can be added.

  3. Sarah @ Mum In Bloom says:

    You have a beautiful site here and I am so excited to find Lebanese recipes! I grew up in Nova Scotia, Canada where there are lots of Lebanese people who have restaurants. I never realized how much of this food I ate until I moved away and thought “huh, you mean I can’t just get this good food anywhere?”. Now, thanks to your blog I can make it at home for my family. Thank you for the inspiration 🙂

  4. Amelie says:

    Simple, rapide et délicieuse !
    Bonne soirée

  5. MaryMoh says:

    That’s a fast, refreshing dressing. I love it. I love mint & lemon.

  6. Devaki says:

    Hi Joumana – How delightful! The use of shrimp, chickpeas and mint – 3 of my favorite things in the world in beautiful harmony!

    Lovely 🙂

    Ciao, Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  7. A Canadian Foodie says:

    First of all, thank you so much for visiting some of my honourees to day. I know they appreciated the time you took. And, I am glad you found I was honouring you. I was going to tell you later today. I enjoy your site a great deal.
    I am with Peter on this one. I cannot believe people buy salad dressing. It is just simply a lack of knowledge. It must be. I have made something like this before. YUM!

  8. Sook says:

    Oh good for you for sticking with your own healthier salad dressing! I am excited to try this!

  9. Sushma Mallya says:

    very quick salad dressing, so easy and so nice too

  10. denise fletcher says:

    Buy salad dressing? No way 😛 The only flavour it has is whatever it manages to leach out of the plastic bottle it’s in. I always make my own cos it’s so easy and tastes way, way better. I love your dressing – so simple yet flavourful!

  11. tigerfish says:

    Woot! 56 secs, that’s less than 1 minute! *applause*

  12. oum mouncifrayan says:

    facile et surement délicieuse cette vinaigrette!! merci du partage jumana!

  13. Mamounette85 says:

    Oh comme je suis d’accord avec toi ! Je trouve que faire ses vinaigrettes maison ne prend pas beaucoup de temps. De plus, avec les herbes aromatiques du jardin on peut varier à l’infini pour le goût.
    L’huile d’olive est excellente pour la santé.
    Bises Françaises de Vendée 85
    Bon Ap chez Mamounette

  14. Katie@Cozydelicious says:

    Thanks for stopping by my site – I’m so glad you did because I’m thrilled to have now found your beautiful blog!
    I actually grew up in the era of bottled salad dressing, but it was banned in our house since my mom hopped on the anti-corn-syrup wagon early. We always used simply olive oil, red wine vinegar, and a bit of dijon mustard. I had never had the bottled stuff until I got married, although I’ve been weaning my husband off ranch and thousand island with good results. This looks lovely, I’m excited to try it with the mint!

  15. Stella says:

    Hi Joumana, I must admit I love a homemade, organic Ranch dressing, but I almost always make a dressing like this at home with red wine vinegar instead of lemon juice sans the mint. These types of homemade acid, oil, and garlic dressings are the overall best dressings for both health and versatility in cooking, I think!?!??

  16. Brad says:

    Yum, with garlic lemon and mont, sounds tasty thanks for the recipe.

  17. Andrea@High/Low says:

    Beautiful site! I will definitely return to learn how to make Lebanese meals at home – you make it look so easy!

  18. peachkins says:

    healthy and delicious salad dressing!

  19. heguiberto says:

    I could not agree more with you, although I must confess I cheated this time by making a purple-kohlrabi slaw recipe I posted today on weirdcombinations, shame on me lol.
    California now makes amazing olive oils, there are so many farms growing olive trees all over. I have bought olive oils from olive varieties from Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece. I am going to look for olive oil from Lebanese olive trees, I am sure they will have it. I adore extra virgin oil extracted from Arbequina olives, these are from Spain. It has a nutty, fruity, sweet taste with a touch of bitterness, with a wonderful aroma. Delish! These guys here make beautiful olive oil, skip the flavored ones: http://www.stonehouseoliveoil.com/
    I combine these oils with the same ingredients you made yours but I also use lots of parsley, basil, roasted pepper, other citrus fruits, different types of vinegar, tarragon, mustard, ginger, tamarind… the list is extensive.
    We love your blog!

  20. Olive says:

    this is my kind of salad dressing..simple and healthy, I love the addition of garlic and mint..thanks for sharing : )

  21. 5 Star Foodie says:

    A simple and delicious dressing, perfect for a wonderful salad!

  22. Mary Lee says:

    I had a similar salad dressing at the Kabob Grill here and have been making my imitation version ever since. I’m delighted to have a “real” recipe for it. It sounds so healthy and tastes so yummy! They put corn in their green salad and I like that.

  23. Faith says:

    This is my hubby’s absolute favorite salad dressing. I sometimes like to switch up the lemon juice for different kinds of vinegar (apple cider is a favorite), but lemon juice is his all-time favorite!

  24. Simply Life says:

    those are nachos I would love to have!

  25. The Little Teochew says:

    You timed yourself? LOL. 56 secs – that’s like the gold medal for salad dressing. Easy and delicious!

  26. Arlette says:

    I never bought a bottle of salad dressing in my life…
    Even if I want to try the American flavours, I search for a good recipe and do it from scratch.. still prefer our salad dressing for the heavy mayo and all that fat….
    lots of time, if I have a big fatty lemon, I peel it before squeezing, then eat the leftover
    pieces with salt… Yummmy.
    This is the time for Hoummayda…..if you ever used it in salad dressing.

  27. Julie says:

    Chez nous c’est pareil, on fait toujours la vinaigrette maison, seule la recette change évidemment (moutarde, vinaigre ou citron, huile d’olive, sel)! Elles n’ont tellement pas de goût les vinaigrettes industrielles, beurk!

  28. Elizabeth says:

    I always assumed that everyone made their own salad dressing. But I was VERY surprised to see an array of various salad dressing bottles arranged on the dining room table at a recent dinner party. Everything served, including the salad, was very good. It had clearly been made from scratch. I just couldn’t understand why there would be bottled salad dressing!

    When it came time for the salad, I chose what looked to be the least of the evils of the dressings on the table. It was pretty Bflat. In fact, it might have been better to leave the salad undressed.

    Your dressing looks very similar to what we make, except we often use cider or wine vinegar instead of lemon juice. I also like to add freshly ground pepper and a little tarragon and/or thyme.

    (I confess that we buy mayonnaise though.)

  29. Laurie says:

    I am always happy to add knew salad dressings to my collection. Thank you for sharing this, I love mint.. how fun it will be to try!

  30. Ivy says:

    Hi! Super Cu-ute blog! Thanks for your lovely comment. 🙂

  31. Lori says:

    I just drool everytime I come to your site. I dont make this kind of food nearly enough. Looks so good.

  32. Mathai says:

    We dont use store bought dressings too. For my green salad I usually mix 1 part cider vinegar to two parts olive oil, then add some mustard, honey, salt pepper and sugar 😉

  33. heni says:

    i agree fresh dressings with natural pronoucable ingredients is best! i love this dressing – every since my first lebanese salad fattousch i use this dressing with dried mint!

  34. Zoubida says:

    I make my own salad dressing and yes, that was bewildering to me too when I discovered the great success of industrially made ones here in Qubec 15 years ago. I still have people looking at me like I have two heads when they come home and see me whip up a *real* classic french or a moroccan one.
    I’ll try yours at lunch… It’ll sure make our salad sing!

  35. meriem says:

    Je viens de découvrir cet article que j’adoooore. Tout à fait d’accord avec toi!!! J’ai eu la même réflexion quand je suis arrivée en France il y a une dizaine d’années. De la vinaigrette embouteillée au supermarché?!! Non seulement c’est très rapide à faire, mais c’est tellement meilleur pour la santé car au-moins tu sais exactement ce que tu mets dans ton assiette!!!

  36. kate says:

    What to do mean by ‘whip the mixture’? I wonder if you mean ‘whisk’… whipping would require using a blender or hand mixer (electric). It seems a wire whisk would be sufficient but want to do it ‘right’. 🙂

  37. Stacey says:

    I make something similar. Olive oil, fresh lemon juice, dried mint, but I use garlic salt and pepper. I’ve never whisked it because I’ve never measured. I was taught to put everything directly on the romaine. The order was critical: olive oil 1st, lemon juice, mint, garlic salt and finally pepper. Then, I have to leave it alone to marinate. I don’t mix it for at least 15 mins. If I mix too soon, It’s not the same.

  38. Joan says:

    My Mom passed away 10 yrs ago. A Greek woman wed to a lebanese man. She made this salad dressing it was the only one i ever had at home. Mi watched her make it but never figured i would someday want it….after all there was so much stuff in bottles.😛 i saw the recipe in,the newspaper and jumped for joy. I remembe i so well. Have her little pestle and will be using it with tears in my eyes.

    • Joumana Accad says:

      @Joan Thank you for sharing your personal story about your Mom and hope she is resting in peace; its wonderful to know that she passed on her creations in the kitchen and that you will be able to recreate them and remember her this way in a vivid way!

  39. Daveed says:

    Simple and good base for dressing. I like more lemon in mine and add black pepper as well. I\’ll also add savory herbs and spices to compliment the meal being served. Anyone can do this in 2 minutes.

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