Wartime Oil & Vinegar Dressing


A basic Oil & Vinegar dressing that can be used as is or made into 4 more variations of dressings just by adding one ingredient for each of the other variations. What I love about this dressing is not only the flavor or that it only makes 3/4 of a cup at a time making it fresh for every salad, but that it only takes a few minutes to put together.

This recipe came from a book called Grandma’s Wartime Kitchen by Joanne Lamb Hayes. In it, Joanne wrote that in 1942 Wesson Oil helped the wartime wives by sharing a “Quick Change” recipe that offered a basic dressing recipe plus add-ins to use for different types of salads, this is a similar recipe to that one. Add pickle relish for a green salad, honey for a fruit salad, horseradish for mixed salads and tomato juice for seafood salads.






In a container with a leakproof lid add the

vinegar, mustard, salt, sugar and pepper.

Cover and shake to combine.



Add the oil.



Shake well then serve.


Wartime Oil & Vinegar Dressing




  • 1/4 cup apple cider or wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1/8 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil


  1. In a small leakproof container with a lid combine vinegar, mustard, salt, sugar and pepper.
  2. Cover and shake to combine.
  3. Add the oil, cover and shake to combine then serve.

VARIATIONS: Add 3 Tbsp. of any of the following:

  1. Pickle relish for green salad.
  2. Honey for fruit salad.
  3. Horseradish for mixed greens.
  4. Tomato juice for seafood.


Categories: Salad/Dressings


  1. I love homemade dressings. I just noticed you have several different salad dressing recipes. I’m gonna have to give this one a try and check out all the other salad dressing recipes

  2. A great base for personalizing the dressing for the occasion. I do this with balsamic vinegar and avocado oil, putting in whatever herbs suit me at the moment. With a plethora of Penzey’s spices to choose from, we have some interesting combinations.

    A current fave (from yesterday!) was the above, using Sandwich Sprinkle, Trinidad, and Greek, on a mixture of tomato, avocado, chicken cubes, orange bell pepper, artichoke hearts, and fresh mozzarella cubes – served over Romaine leaves, and sprinkled with pistachio nuts – with Triscuits to accompany for crunch.


    Virtual hugs,


    • WOW! What a fabulous combination Judilyn! Dressings are so simple to make yet people buy the expensive processed junk from the store. My husband loves the homemade dressings. Me….I don’t eat enough veggies but I am trying to change…lol

      • I’m with you on that, Diane.

        The shop bought stuff is full of all sorts of additives and preservatives and so on. At least this way you know exactly what is in there and it tastes a whole lot better as well.

  3. This brought to mind my family’s way of pinching pennies by making homemade mayonnaise with left over homemade sweet pickle juice. Company or Ice Circle pickles… Bread and Butter pickles would be a nice flavour too with the added mustard seed flavouring in the brine.

      • Me too! I have my great grams entire cookbook collection. It’s really fun to page through some of them. Because you can see how cooking has changed and yet how it’s stayed the same.

        Plus, some of those old recipes are better than the stuff we’re getting today.

      • They definitely can be better! The thing I notice the most is how they have downsized the products we buy today like boxed products, soups etc. compared to back then. It is usually only an ounce but I’m sure it changes the recipe.

      • Agreed. What also gets me is the minimalist recipes. And tips on how to leftovers and how to “remake” them or add to them to create a different meal

  4. There are just about endless permutations and you cannot go far wrong. I was just thinking that you mention using tomato juice for the seafood version and I reckon clamato juice would go well instead although I have not tried it, I only had the idea about a minute ago so thanks for prompting it!

    I see you use a two to one ratio of oil to vinegar whereas I was always told that three to one is the classic proportions but I suppose it is all a matter of taste.

Leave a Reply