Cooking With Confidence
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Economical, Gluten Free, Quick and Easy, Salad, Side Dishes, Vegetarian

Creamy Pecorino Dressing

by Nick

Very high on my list of baffling grocery store aisles is the salad dressing section. When I look down that section I see wasted money and calories. Most of the dressings use cheap oils and lots of salt and then they charge you $4/bottle for the stuff.

To be fair, this dressing might cost $4 to make. I didn’t do the exact calculations, but it’s leaps and bounds ahead on the flavor train thanks to using really good pecorino cheese.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, but once you start feeling comfortable mixing your own salad dressings, you can just eliminate that aisle all together from your grocery store lists.

Yield
Makes about a cup (serves 6)
Prep Time
Total Time

Just a moment please...

Print Recipe Creamy Pecorino Dressing

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup grated pecorino cheese
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon crushed black peppercorn
  • Dash of hot sauce
  • Pinch of kosher salt

Helpful Equipment

Directions

1) Grate pecorino cheese. Add all ingredients to a mini food processor and pulse until smooth.

2) Season dressing with salt and hot sauce to meet your tastes. Store in the fridge until needed.

Dressing Basics

Once you get the hang of salad dressings, you can whip up a batch of very good dressing in under 10 minutes. I say this recipe takes 10 minutes, but that probably includes the time it takes to make the actual salad as well.

The thing about salad dressings that takes some time to get the hang of is figuring out a balance that works for you. If you’re going for a creamy dressing like this one, you need some rich elements like mayo or olive oil, but you also need some tangy flavors (I use buttermilk and mustard).  Most of the actual flavor in the dressing comes from pecorino cheese, lots of crushed black peppercorns, and a few dashes of hot sauce.

I took notes and played around with the ratios of these ingredients until I found something that I liked, and you should feel free to do the same. That’s half of the fun of it. The other half of the fun is eating it!

The basics.

The basics.

When it comes to the cheese, it adds a nice depth of flavor to the dressing. I used pecorino cheese, but any aged hard cheese would work fine. Really good parmesan would work equally well although it tends to be a bit more expensive I think.

I just grated up a big mound of the stuff and tossed it in.

Feel free to eyeball it.

Feel free to eyeball it.

Quite honestly, you can just whisk all the ingredients together and call it a done deal, but if you have a little food processor, use it to ensure that the ingredients are emulsified nicely.

A few pulses will do the trick!

blended

Blended.

I added two ingredients to the dressing after pulsing it a few times. First, I added a lot of fresh crushed black peppercorns. I used about a teaspoon and they really help round out the flavors in the dressing. I also tossed in a few dashes of hot sauce to give it some spice.

The finished dressing should be on the thin side for easy drizzling.

Done deal!

Done deal!

I think this dressing works best over tangy salads. When I  served this version, I drizzled it over a salad of greens, strawberries, blueberries, red onion, avocado, and slivered Parmesan cheese.

pecorino dressing

Serve with a light salad.

I make way more salad dressings than I post on Macheesmo, but I had to share this one with you all.

It was really delicious and helps drive home my salad dressing argument.

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13 comments on “Creamy Pecorino Dressing

  1. Thanks for this recipe! I haven’t bought salad dressing from the grocery store for years, for exactly the reasons you mentioned in your first paragraph. Unfortunately though, my collection of recipes is rather pathetic – bleu cheese, oil/vinegar and a raspberry vinaigrette. So, I can’t wait to try this one.

    1. Would you mind sharing your recipe for a raspberry vinaigrette? That’s one of the few dressings I buy because I don’t have a go-to recipe.

      1. This is the raspberry vinegar that I have been making for several years. We grow our own raspberries and I use the “not nice looking ones” for the vinegar!!

        Soak equal parts of raspberries and a good white wine vinegar in a glass container for 6 days, stirring each day.

        On day 7 drain liquid thru’ a very fine sieve. Add equal parts sugar, bring to the boil and simmer for 2 minutes.

        Cool and bottle.

        ** Less sugar (as little as 1/3 cup sugar to 1 cup raspberry vinegar liquid) can be used if desired. This is what I do. Then mix with a little oil to your taste to make your salad dressing.

      2. For a quick and easy raspberry vinaigrette; start with a bottle of oil and vinegar dressing or make your own oil and vinegar dressing/vinaigrette, and add 1 Tbs. of raspberry jam. blend well. That’s it.

  2. I so agree with you. I can’t imagine why people buy bottled salad dressings – yuck. I make mine directly in the bowl — sprinkle sea salt over the greens, grind on some black pepper, pour on olive oil and a little vinegar of whatever kind goes best with the greens mixture. Toss with my hands. I’ve done it so often I don’t need to measure. And no need to get out the blender or food processor.

    But this does look good!

    1. Nah… I didn’t think it needed any. The buttermilk is tangy enough, but if you thought it needed some extra acid a little lemon juice or white wine vinegar would do the trick.

    1. It should keep for at least a week. I found that it thickened in the fridge after a few days so you might need to thin it out with a bit more buttermilk before using.

  3. I’ve gotten to the same point, we rarely buy salad dressing for the past few years. The one I haven’t been able to replicate was the way Brianna’s blue cheese dressing tasted back in the very early 90’s. It’s totally different now and I can’t get the taste right based on recollection and nostalgia.

  4. I have a question for you – do you make your own mayo for this dressing? The reason I ask is its not difficult and to me buying mayonnaise is the same as buying a bottled dressing.
    I’ll admit to having the bottled dressing here and there for the picky ones. Otherwise an empty mason jar and lid are what I use to make my red wine vinaigrette.

    1. I didn’t make my own mayo for this particular dressing, but have in the past. Mayo is something that I figure most people have on hand and I would rather convince people to use purchased mayo and make homemade dressing than be too intimidating by asking them to make both homemade mayo and then homemade dressing… it’s a fine line though. I agree that homemade mayo is a delicious and better thing.

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