Jazz up your favorite salad with a homemade, sweet-and-tangy salad dressing in French and Catalina varieties!
After indulging in some of my favorite dips and appetizers during the big game yesterday, I feel like I need to cleanse this week with a barrage of smoothies and salads. Ha!
I always try to make my own salad dressing whenever possible. Sometimes, though, when I’m short on time, I buy a bottle from the store. My go-to brand is Brianna’s. It’s not an ad, I just like it because it tastes fresh and has simple ingredients. Recently, Brianna’s came out with a new flavor called Zesty French Dressing. It’s both tangy and sweet, reminiscent of traditional French Dressing but even better. So of course, I had to try to recreate it at home. 😉
Tomato or Not?
To start, I studied the ingredient list on the bottle and checked out various online French Dressing recipes. Surprisingly, the Brianna’s version doesn’t include tomatoes, but many other store-bought French Dressings do. Furthermore, there’s a lot of confusion surrounding whether French Dressing should contain tomato products. Recipes from renowned sources like Martha Stewart and Bon Appétit include ketchup or tomato paste. On the other hand, some argue that French Dressing’s cousin, Catalina Dressing, does include tomato in some form. Ultimately, my research yielded no consensus on the matter.
French vs. Catalina
For my first attempt at homemade French Dressing, I decided to incorporate tomato undertones using all-natural ketchup and a dollop of tomato paste. The resulting dressing was quite tasty, but when I compared it to the Brianna’s dressing I was trying to emulate, I noticed a difference introduced by the tomato. I decided to try again, omitting the tomato influence and adjusting some of the other ratios. The outcome was much closer to Brianna’s French Dressing. While not identical, it was undoubtedly delicious.
Both versions were tasty, so I refrigerated both dressings and put them to the ultimate family taste test during dinner. Here’s the verdict: our kids enjoyed both varieties, but slightly preferred the one with tomato. My husband and I liked both versions as well, but we slightly preferred the dressing without tomato. Since I couldn’t determine which one you would like best, I decided to share both recipes with you today!
Tips & Tricks
The sweetness of this dressing is subjective, so feel free to adjust the amount of honey to your taste. Start with a small amount and add more as needed. Additionally, after storing these dressings in the refrigerator, I noticed that the French Dressing version tended to separate more readily than the Catalina Dressing. This is likely due to the ketchup acting as an emulsifier in the latter. However, a quick shake of the jar easily fixes any separation.
Both dressings are delightful on a simple dinner salad, but they particularly shine on a taco salad or any salad with Tex-Mex flavors. Sweet and zesty dressing pairs perfectly with ingredients like taco-seasoned meat, tomatoes, cheese, tortilla chips, and cool, creamy avocado.
So there you have it, homemade French Dressing and homemade Catalina Dressing! You’re free to pick your poison. 😉 And if you decide to try both, please let me know which one gets your vote!
More Homemade Dressings
- Lightened-Up Honey Mustard Dressing
- The BEST Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
- Creamy Feta Dressing
- Better-than-Olive-Garden Italian Dressing
- Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Thousand Island Dressing