" Dressed Up" Salad With Secret Dressing

READY IN: 1hr 35mins
Recipe by Mareesme

I figured that if I had to forgo my jeans to get all dressed up for a dinner party I was giving, why should my salad get off easy? The result is beautiful to look at and impressed everyone, plus they raved about my decades-old "secret" dressing. Quantities of the vegetable toppings are based on using one large head of iceberg lettuce and standard sized bowl, but I've used iceberg and other salad greens in larger quantities by increasing amounts of vegetable toppings so top is not "half dressed"! (Quantities of fresh veggies for "rings" are fairly approximate because salad bowls vary in sizes, but rings should be uniformly shaped) DON'T BE AFRAID to try this -- it's not as complicated as it may seem! RE. SECRET DRESSING: The recipe makes a good amount, so can be enough for larger salads. It really is a closely-guarded recipe given me by my cousin, who was friends with a chef who swore her to secrecy. However, I think since my promise of secrecy was made over 30 years ago, the statute of limitations has run out! He worked at one of the first very exclusive $$ spa resorts in Southern California that still exists... the Golden Door. At that time it was the first dressing I had ever had with fresh ginger and I had to drive miles to an Asian market to find it and the rice vinegar... times have changed! Similar dressings now exist, so I'm sure the spa now has a totally different "secret" dressing!

Top Review by Garlic Chick

Excellent! I've been planning to make this recipe since 2008 when I printed it out. I made half a recipe today without the mushrooms and used the tomatoes instead of beets but also added cooked chicken. The dressing is so perfect. I may have added too much honey because I didn't measure it but it turned out so thick, fragrant and fabulous! Definitely I will use this again. Thanks for posting such a tasty recipe.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. SALAD.
  2. In salad bowl, tear lettuce and add green or red onion and seasonings (for some reason, it seems to work better with the onion mixed in with salad greens, not as one of the "rings"). Toss and smooth greens so top is uniformly level.
  4. Proceed to "dress up" the salad by making a 1" ring (1-1/2" for wider bowls) of grated carrot around edge of bowl thick enough to cover the greens.
  5. Then make rings inside this of corn, then green pepper, then beets or tomatoes then mushroom slices piled in the center circle. If using beets and tomatoes both, make it tomatoes then a ring of mushrooms then a mound of shredded beets in center.
  6. Make sure rings are thick enough to cover all the "naked" greens. You can use any vegetables of your choice to make the rings, such as radishes, olives or water chestnuts, but I prefer the varying colors and blend of flavors of the above.
  7. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to place it on buffet or dinner table.
  9. Make Secret Dressing by placing cut pieces of ginger root and vinegar in a blender and blend until smooth. Press through a mesh strainer over a bowl, squeezing out pulp to get more liquid into bowl. Pour liquid back into rinsed-out blender.
  10. Add honey, garlic and soy sauce. Blend well. Slowly add oil while blender is on low to mix.
  11. Pour into a jar with cover, shake and refrigerate. When ready to serve salad, shake jar and pour into a cruet for guests to pour their own.
  13. Put salad on buffet or dinner table and after everyone oohs and aahs, toss well and serve with secret dressing in a cruet for them to pour on desired amount.

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