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Under 30 Minutes

Creamy Salad Dressing Base

One smooth, tangy base can be transformed into 6 different dressings. Use our mix-in ideas to create your favorite salad topper.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Yield: Makes 2 cups

Photography: Petrina Tinslay

Source: Everyday Food, June 2011


For the Creamy Salad Dressing Base

  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • Desired mix-in
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper

Green Goddess

  • 1/2 avocado, mashed until smooth
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped chives
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Roasted Garlic

  • 1 small head roasted garlic, skins removed cloves mashed until smooth (2 tablespoons)


  • 1 1/2 teaspoons copped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper

Blue Cheese

  • 3 ounces blue cheese, crumbled (3/4 cup)

Thousand Island

  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons sweet pickle relish


  • 2 ounces finely grated parmesan (2/3 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper


  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together buttermilk, sour cream, and mayonnaise until smooth. Whisk in desired mix-in. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Cook's Notes

For a lower-fat version, replace the sour cream with low-fat plain Greek yogurt. Refrigerate the dressing base in an airtight container, up to 2 weeks, before adding mix-ins.

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