Zesty Italian Dressing

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Dijon mustard, garlic, oregano, and red pepper are delightfully brightened by fresh lemon juice in this Zesty Italian Dressing. So simple to make, it’s ready in just a few minutes!

A close up shot of a round metal spoon full of zesty italian dressing is lifted above a jar full of the dressing on a wooden tabletop with a blue and white tea towel in the background

Italian Dressing Marinade for Chicken

This dressing is fabulous on salads. And, it is also makes an awesome marinade for chicken, too. You don’t need to change a thing. Just shake it together, pour it over the chicken, and let it marinate.

You can use this zesty Italian dressing recipe on a pasta salad, too. Just add enough dressing to make it shiny when you toss it. The pasta doesn’t need to swim in it. Give it a bit of time to rest in the fridge and the flavors will mingle beautifully.

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Is Italian Dressing Gluten Free?

For those of you with gluten concerns, I’ve got good news! While most big brands may contain gluten, this recipe makes a 100% gluten-free Italian salad dressing. And, it tastes better than anything you’ll find on store shelves.

This simple Italian dressing works just as well with gluten-free noodles. Or, give Zucchini Noodles a try for a refreshing twist in your favorite pasta salad.

a vertically aligned photo of a round metal spoon full of zesty italian dressing is lifted above a jar full of the dressing on a wooden tabletop with a blue and white tea towel in the background

Zesty Italian Dressing Recipe

  • olive oil
  • Dijon mustard
  • lemon juice
  • garlic cloves
  • oregano
  • red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper
a pour shot of the italian dressing being added to all the ingredients for a pasta salad with spaghetti, olives, cucumbers, peppers, tomatos, and red onions

To make this recipe, add all of the ingredients to a pint-size or larger glass jar or bottle. Seal with the lid and shake well to combine. It’s that easy.

This homemade Italian dressing keeps well in the refrigerator for a week or two. It’s been a flavor-packed staple in my home for years because it is so versatile.

a pour shot of the italian dressing being added to all the ingredients for a pasta salad with spaghetti, olives, cucumbers, peppers, tomatos, and red onions

Zesty Italian Dressing

I should probably warn you–once you start making your own dressings, you won’t want to go back. I adore creamy homemade ranch on a quick salad or as a dip with some spicy chicken bites.

I’ve posted a lot of custom salad dressing recipes, and there are still so many tasty flavors I’ve yet to play with! I can’t wait to try one of them on this caprese salad that caught my eye.

Now, I don’t use the word best very often. But, this recipe makes the best balsamic vinaigrette I have ever tasted. And, this creamy poppyseed dressing gets rave reviews too.

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A close up shot of a round metal spoon full of zesty italian dressing is lifted above a jar full of the dressing on a wooden tabletop with a blue and white tea towel in the background

Zesty Italian Dressing

5 from 3 votes
Dijon mustard, garlic, oregano, and red pepper are delightfully brightened by freshly squeezed lemon juice in this flavor-packed dressing.
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Servings: 16 tablespoons

Ingredients 

  • cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

  • Combine all the ingredients in a pint-size or larger glass jar or bottle. Seal with lid and shake to combine. This will keep well in the refrigerator for a week or two.

Nutrition

Calories: 84kcal · Carbohydrates: 1g · Protein: 0.2g · Fat: 9g · Saturated Fat: 1g · Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g · Monounsaturated Fat: 7g · Sodium: 167mg · Potassium: 20mg · Fiber: 0.4g · Sugar: 0.2g · Vitamin A: 26IU · Vitamin C: 4mg · Calcium: 9mg · Iron: 0.2mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @barefeetkitchen or tag #barefeetkitchen!
a top down photo of a jar containing italian dressing with the metal handle of a spoon sticking out, classic spices and herbs are visible within the dressing

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Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

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  1. Becki's Whole Life says

    I needed this one – I just told Jim that I was "Salad-ed out" – I think it's because I was getting tired of just tossing them with OO and balsamic…need a new dressing recipe. This looks like it gets kind of thick, which I like in a dressing…(need to do your poppyseed one, too, but I think I might be eating that one by myself:-).

  2. Laurie says

    I made your homemade Italian Dressing today. I doubled it and used it to make pasta salad. It was a hit with everyone!

    • Mary says

      I would make this as written, taste it and then adjust the red pepper until you have the level of "heat" or "zestiness" that you desire. I hope that helps!

  3. Anonymous says

    I made this I thought it had way to much lemon in it but that is just my personal opinion I love your recipe for ranch dressing though

  4. Viki says

    Delicious! Though, I only used half of a clove of garlic. Pretty sure putting three in there may have annihilated a small country from the garlic breath. 😀

  5. Althea says

    I only used 1 tbsp of dijon, and it sure is zesty – but a tad too much dijon for me for salads…even halfed.
    I’d like to salvage it by adding more oil, vinegar/lemon juice? I was wondering Mary if you had any suggestions? I would really only use 1 tsp of dijon if starting over.5 stars

    • Mary Younkin says

      Hi, Althea! Normally if I add too much of a central ingredients, I’ll try to bring the other ingredients to scale if I can, unless I can’t make the batch larger (which shouldn’t be an issue here). I hope you love the dressing.

    • Althea says

      Hi Mary,
      I actually wanted to share my solution with you. And thanks for your recommendation!!! 🙂
      It’d be too scary to adujst the other ingredients to scale, given that I’d prefer 1 tsp of dijon to 1 tbsp.
      Plus I had mixed it with a hand-held blender, so the consistency is that of mayonaise.
      I put a tbsp of original dressing in a bowl and then mixed in a bit oil and a dash of honey, and I find it more suited to my easily annoyed digestive system.
      And yes, it is delicious both ways.5 stars

    • Mary Younkin says

      I’m so glad you managed to find a solution, Althea! I thought scaling the recipe might work, but it’s definitely not the best answer in every situation. Mixing in oil and honey is a good alternative. Enjoy the dressing!

  6. Gary R Klett says

    I just made this and it’s really good but I added anchovies all smashed up – super good!5 stars