Poppy seed sweet onion dressing is bursting with flavor and made with healthy oils for a bold and very lightly sweetened salad dressing.
Today we're talking about one of my very favorite vegetables: the onion. Sometimes I fall into a bit of a conundrum when it comes to sharing recipes here that contain onion (and garlic for that matter) because I like them both to be prominent in recipes. Italian problems!
Generally I try and keep them both within more reasonable quantities for the recipes I post here, but when we're talking about ONION salad dressing...you can't not have a bold onion flavor. So fair warning - please don't make this if you don't like onion. Please please.
I'm a huge fan of store-bought sweet onion dressing, but after peeping the nutrition facts label on the back of even the "lite" version that showed sugar as the very first ingredient, I started thinking about a homemade version. Thankfully homemade salad dressing isn't tough to make!
This poppy seed sweet onion dressing satisfies my craving with fresh sweet onion and pantry staples, all the while including just two tablespoons of sugar in the whole batch. The thickness of this salad dressing comes from the onion, and the creaminess is from the emulsification of the ingredients in the food processor. No gums or thickening agents needed. The oils may separate in this dressing once stored in the fridge, but a simple shake before using will make it good as new.
It's no surprise, the base of this salad dressing is an onion. A sweet onion! Sweet onions lack that sharp bite that regular onions have, and are a much more palatable option for consuming raw, like in a salad dressing.
Vidalia and Walla Walla are two popular sweet onion varieties, but you may be able to find Maui onions depending on your locale.
Next up is grape seed oil, and I'll tell you why. I'm a big fan of olive oil in basically anything, sesame oil for Asian-inspired dishes, and coconut oil in dairy-free recipes, but grape seed?
I used all olive oil in the first go-around of this sweet onion dressing and while I love the flavor of olive oil, it has a tendency to dominate the taste profile in something simple like a salad dressing. Grape seed oil is just about flavorless, so it adds the oil component without interfering with the taste. It also shares many of the healthy attributes that olive oil has. Adding one tablespoon of olive oil to the majority grape seed oil was just about right flavor-wise.
As for the rest of the ingredients, we have white wine and a little apple cider vinegars, water to thin, two tablespoons of granulated sugar, salt, pepper, and poppy seeds.
Like most salad dressings, this one is easy easy. Add all ingredients (except for the poppy seeds) to the bowl of a food processor and whizz until as smooth as it can be. Stir in the poppy seeds, then store in the refrigerator. This dressing will stay for 10 days to two weeks, maybe even longer. Just be sure to give it a shake before using if any of the ingredients have settled.
While not pictured here, an oxo shaker bottle (affiliate link) is my go-to when making homemade salad dressings. It has side measurements to cut down on dirtying measuring cups and a tight seal so you won't spill when you shake it up.
Another homemade dressing we love is honey mustard vinaigrette. An optional ingredient (cream of horseradish) gives it the best kind of kick!
I just might be obsessed with this Greek yogurt caesar salad dressing. There aren't any raw eggs in this one (yes!) yet it still tastes authentic. Whether you serve it over kale, lettuce, or a kale/lettuce blend, this healthier caesar is hard to beat.
Greek yogurt also acts as the base of this cilantro lime ranch dressing for a healthier spin on ranch. Easy homemade ranch seasoning also makes an appearance here to keep tabs on the sodium level.
Poppy Seed Sweet Onion Dressing
- 5 oz sweet onion, roughly chopped*
- ¼ cup grape seed oil
- 2 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoon water
- 2 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
- Add all ingredients, except poppy seeds, to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until mixture is smooth and creamy.
- Pour salad dressing into a jar or small pitcher and stir in poppy seeds. Cover and store in the refrigerator, shaking or stirring before use.
5 oz or 10 oz onion?
Hi Tammy, sorry for the typo! It's a 5 oz onion, with a 10 oz total dressing yield. I'll update the notes to the recipe card - thank you for catching!
EILEEN C HOLTZ says
This sounds delish! Can’t wait to try it. I have a bag of red onions and the rest of the ingredients so I can whip it up this afternoon! Ye
Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice says
I feel like we're soulmates haha! I LOVE onions (and garlic too), but I never share recipes that contain too many onions, because I know most people don't like them, including my husband! I could eat onions on just about anything, especially red onions, they're my favorite! I've GOT to try this dressing! I think I would quickly become addicted to it, sounds so good, Alyssa!