Nonna's Tuscan Salad Dressing Recipe -
Nonna's Tuscan Salad Dressing Recipe

Nonna's Tuscan Salad Dressing

Recipe by  

"This very light, fresh dressing works equally well on mixed greens, spinach or romaine, or just drizzled over sliced, fresh, ripe summer tomatoes and fresh basil leaves. Quick and easy to make fresh, but stores well for up to 3 months in the refrigerator. It's a family recipe brought over from the old country by my nonna (grandma.)"

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Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 1 cup Change Servings
  • PREP

    5 mins

    1 hr 5 mins


  1. Place the mayonnaise, vinegar, water, lemon juice, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, garlic, oregano, basil, and black pepper into a blender. Blend for 2 minutes, then pour into a salad dressing container, and refrigerate at least 1 hour. Shake well before using.
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  • Cook's Note
  • White vinegar may be used, but the taste will be sharper. Balsamic gives a smoother flavor. If you feel the vinegar is too sharp for your taste, blend in 1 tablespoon light corn syrup.

Reviews More Reviews

Most Helpful Positive Review
Dec 06, 2014

I am the submitter of this recipe. I have tried, unsuccessfully so far, to have a misprint corrected. The water should be 1/3 cup, NOT 1/2 cup. The longer you let it mellow, the thicker it gets, also. So if you like your dressing to be thick, BE SURE to make it at least 24 hours before you need it and allow it to rest in the fridge before use. Another way to make it thicker if you don't have resting time that I can recommend is to put 1 Tb tomato paste in the blender with the rest of the ingredients. The paste not only makes it thicker, it rounds out the taste and imparts a lovely blush. Feel free to add more Parmesan if you like it, which will also lend additional body to the dressing. The flavor is best if you avoid garlic powder (which no self-respecting Italian would ever have in his/her kitchen) and stick with fresh garlic. If raw garlic is too sharp for your taste, brown it lightly in a touch of olive oil before incorporating it. It's well worth the time to do this. Once again, if you find it too acidic for your taste, either be sure to use a high quality balsamic - from Modena, which has a much smoother finish on the palate, or add a tablespoon or two of corn syrup and blend well. Nothing is carved in stone. You can tailor this recipe to your taste. BTW, one reviewer questioned the olive oil amount, and it only seems low. Don't forget that the mayonnaise is almost pure oil, as well, which is why the recipe only calls for 3 Tb olive oil.

Most Helpful Critical Review
Jan 25, 2010

I'm a huge fan of homemade dressings--I don't even purchase the bottled kind but this recipe was just too sour for me. I followed the submitter's recipe correction using less water but thought it was still way too runny. Also, I'm used to a 3-to-1 oil to vinegar ratio and this recipe seemed to have it backwards. I was disappointed since so many reviewers had given it high marks!

Mar 16, 2011

Great recipe for homemade Italian dressing! I used Hellman's light mayo and a good quality balsamic vinegar. I also used 1/3 c. of water a little more Parmesan and garlic and added 1/2 tsp. of white sugar. I let it sit overnight and it went perfect over mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, and thin sliced red onion. This is a fabulous salad dressing! Thanks Baricat for a great recipe!

Mar 16, 2011

I took the submitter's suggestion for smoother flavor and used a quality balsamic and reduced the water as suggested. I had time to make this dressing early this morning while cleaning up the breakfast dishes. The mayonnaise I used was reduced-fat and I used extra virgin olive oil and honestly, this didn't affect the flavor at all. This was good but I did end up tripling the spices after sticking a pinky in and giving it a try. IMO, this is one of the best salad dressings I've had on this site. I cannot stress enough that you use a quality balsamic for the best results. I could really just drink a vat of this--thanks for a new family favorite, Baricat!

May 07, 2009

We loved this. It reminds us of Olive Garden's salad dressing, only a bit creamier. It was just the right tartness for our palates. I let it whirl in the blender for about 2-3 minutes or so. If it's too tart, you could always back off a bit on the vinegar, or use balsamic, which will give smoothness to the taste. But all I can say is in this house, we LOVED it and I keep a cruet of it in the fridge all the time for dipping baby carrots and impromptu salads. Yum!

May 03, 2011

This was too acidic for our tastes. I had to add more Olive oil & spices to even use.

Feb 22, 2010

I follwed the recipe pretty closely-used a bit less water as the submitter suggested, did a combo of flavored red wine vineger & balsamic, used a tad more cheese & garlic & added a dash of tomatoe powder as I've been wanting to use it-had a nice blush, was a little runny, but didn't have time to let it set-went to a get-together straight from the blender, but it was a star of the party-everyone loved it-very- tasty & easy! I will definetly be making this again.

Jun 29, 2009

Fantastic recipe! I used light mayo (all I had), and balsamic vinegar, also used garlic powder. Thanks Baricat! I will update tomorrow when I serve it with a salad! I can already tell its great though!


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  • Calories
  • 91 kcal
  • 5%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 1.2 g
  • < 1%
  • Cholesterol
  • 3 mg
  • 1%
  • Fat
  • 9.5 g
  • 15%
  • Fiber
  • 0.1 g
  • < 1%
  • Protein
  • 0.6 g
  • 1%
  • Sodium
  • 49 mg
  • 2%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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