Zoe’s Copycat Salad Dressing – if you’ve never been to Zoe’s Kitchen, you’ll flip over this delicious dressing. If you’ve been there, I know you’ll be quite thrilled to have this recipe!
Zoe’s Copycat Salad Dressing… this one’s been on my bucket list for a while now. Oh, I don’t mean my BUCKET list, as in: sky diving on a clear blue Carolina day, floating high above green forests in a brilliantly striped hot air balloon, snorkeling through azure, crystal Caribbean waters, bicycling (motor-assisted) through majestic Swiss mountains… No not like that.
I’m talking about my “culinary” bucket list. Yup, I have one of those too. I almost always have at least two or three recipes I’m dying to figure out – what the ingredients are, the right proportions, or perhaps it’s just the method of preparation that has me stumped. Usually it’s something delicious that I’ve had when dining out, and I’m quite certain that I’m not the best out-to-dinner date, as I’m often distractedly analyzing and taking apart the food (I try to mind my manners, so I do this in my mind.)
Zoe’s fit great for a quick, healthy meal on the run.
That’s been the case ever since my first visit to Zoe’s Kitchen. Zoes’s is a chain restaurant specializing in fresh, delicious Mediterranean fare. The restaurants are scattered throughout the eastern United States from Florida all the way up to Pennsylvania. They can also be found in Texas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arizona. They have great salads, pitas, hummus, soups and lots of wonderful entrees. Scott and I love stopping a Zoe’s when we’re in a hurry, but want something healthy and tasty. All the food is made to order and the servings are hearty – we order one salad to share and we’re happily content.
One of the things I noticed right away about Zoe’s was the bottle of house dressing that’s always available on every table. Although their salads come dressed, you have the option of adding extra, if desired. The first time I tried the dressing, I was sold. It’s super flavorful without being too strong or heavy. Scott doesn’t care for most Greek dressings, as they are often too “vinegary” or “strong”, but he loves Zoe’s dressing.
After that first visit, I was determined to figure out the delicious dressing as I knew it would be perfect with a wide variety of greens and veggies. I tried googling it and immediately found a recipe for Zoe’s Copycat Salad Dressing. Excited, I followed the recipe carefully, anxious to see if it was as authentic as it claimed.
No go. It was NOTHING like the real deal. I tried a few ideas of my own, but they weren’t quite right either.
A secret revealed…
Then, one day (one happy day) a few months ago, Scott and I stopped by Zoe’s while running errands. As we were enjoying our lunch, I happened to notice one of the staff members refilling the salad dressing bottles at the counter right near our table. Well, actually she wasn’t re-filling them, she was actually making the dressing as she replenished each bottle.
You can imagine I was like a hunting dog (squirrel!) on a scent. I watched her intently – and discovered what the problem was with the “copycat” version as well as my own renditions. It was the ratio of oil to vinegar that was way off. The copycat version is a 1:1 ration and I was doing a 2:1 or a 3:1 ratio. After watching her, I realized Zoe’s dressing actually closer to a 4:1 ratio. I was also able to observe the type of oil that was used – it was a canola/olive oil blend. The label on the bottle read “75% canola oil, 25% extra virgin olive oil”. The only other ingredient was a spice/herb blend. Are you proud of me for being such a super sleuth?
When I got back home that day I wasted no time, going right to the kitchen, working to recreate what I observed. I did a bit of tinkering and measured everything as I went. It took a few more trials, but I think I’m quite close and you probably can’t guess that I’m super thrilled, right? I’m calling it Zoe’s Copycat Salad Dressing.
Everyone loves this Zoe’s Copycat Salad Dressing.
Every time I serve a salad with this dressing, there are lots of compliments and statements like, “This is the best salad” or “I love this salad”. You’ll be sure to see it again in the near future, as I’m working on a fresh new summer salad.
I like having a stash of this Zoe’s Copycat Salad Dressing in the fridge, so I can whip up a healthy lunch in a hurry. Don’t get me wrong, we still love to stop at Zoe’s Kitchen for fresh, delicious meals on the run, but I love that we can enjoy this wonderful dressing without even leaving home.
P.S. If you’re in the mood for an Asian salad dressing this Asian Honey Sesame Dressing is crazy delicious too!
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder available at just about any grocery store in the spice section
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt more, to taste
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¾ cup mild flavored oil grapeseed, sunflower, avocado, canola, etc.
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 5 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Combine powdered garlic, oregano, basil, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Rub mixture with your fingers for a minute or two till herbs are finely crushed. This will help bring out the flavor of the dried herbs.
Combine oil, vinegar and spice mixture in a medium-size glass jar. Shake well to combine. Taste and add more salt, if desired. Shake again, just before serving.