Thursday, July 3, 2014

It's Kind of Like That Zippy Zingy East Side Mario's Salad Dressing

Look at that splendid head of romaine lettuce from my first CSA basket of the 2014 season!  It was tender and sweet, with no hint of bitterness.  The head was solid and plentiful with many well-developed leaves.

When we don't want to do the classic Caesar salad dressing with our head of romaine, we go for something more zippy and zingy.

In our DIOK days of 'double income one kid' we sometimes caved on the way home from work and dined at East Side Mario's.  Part of the attraction was their all you could eat house salad. If I recall, it had tomatoes, olives, red onions, croutons, and a peperoncini pepper or two.  The wait staff would shred the cheese on top at your table and give a few turns of the gigantic pepper mill.  I think it was no more exciting than iceberg lettuce.  But it was the zippy zingy salad dressing that had us licking our lips.

A few years ago, I tried to find a dressing that would come close to that zippy zingy taste.  I have a yellow Post-It with an ingredient list but I have no idea where I sourced it. It appears that it exists everywhere out there. Who knows who started it. We have also doctored it a bit ourselves.  When we make this salad we use romaine instead of iceberg and we skip all the fixings, except for thin slices of red onions. That cuts down on calories and sodium.  If we need to stretch the salad, and don't have a second head of romaine, we use mixed greens.  They aren't as sturdy so if using serve as soon as the salad is dressed.

A little bit of parmesan is added to the salad when tossing but we save most of it for a showy topping, along with that quintessential freshly ground black pepper.

So here you go.  It's kind of like that zippy zingy East Side Mario's salad dressing.


1/2 c. vegetable oil
1/4 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 c. white vinegar
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. fresh oregano, finely chopped, or use dried
1/4 tsp. fresh thyme, finely chopped, or use dried
1/4 tsp. minced onion, or use powder
1/4 tsp. minced garlic, or use powder
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar

Combine all the ingredients in a glass jar and shake well.  This is more salad dressing than you will need for one head of romaine. It will keep in the fridge for a few days. We think it tastes better the next day.


  1. Interesting. I have just learned that after I type the comment and select google account - my comment gets deleted and then my name appears in the google account slot, and I get to retype it. So, this time, I just selected the google account in the comment as: before typing my comment - and it said that the space was blank - type a comment. So, I did... and then... it deleted my comment! Grrr! However, what I wanted to say was that this recipe is simple and delicious! The best kind. Love the CSA lettuce. I have some that grows from last year's seed in my garden now, just a little, so also have some huge bits. Yeah! :) V

    1. Hi Valerie: I am sorry you had such a hassle. Though I am thrilled that you persevered. Eating fresh picked greens just doesn't compare to eating something that is days and days old and has had much travel. You are lucky to have a good garden. My urban garden is very small. 6 tomato plants. 3 basil plants and a wee chive bush. I have a farmers' market at the end of the street on Saturdays. Plus my CSA basket every other week. Summer is the best time for good food!!!


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