Grandma Lena’s Magic Salad Dressing

By • March 27, 2011 • 9 Comments

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Author Notes: My husband’s grandmother, Lena, lived to be almost 100. When I met her she lived alone, having outlived two husbands. She was proud of her cooking although she did not cook much. She did make a salad each night, and told me the secret of her delicious salad dressing. She combined 1 Tbsp each: catsup, mayonnaise, lemon juice, horseradish, and sugar. Everyone who tasted it asked for the recipe, she told me proudly. They were always surprised to hear the simple list of ingredients. I loved it too, and made my own batch many times.

This is an updated version of her recipe, with a few of my favorite ingredients added: crème fraiche and green pepper jelly. I also substituted agave nectar for the white sugar she used. Her salads were quite simple: green lettuce, chopped tomato, and maybe some chopped green onion. I think my version is delicious on a crunchy salad of mixed fresh greens such as romaine, baby spinach, and shredded cabbage. I like adding a little chopped apple and some toasted walnuts. And some thinly sliced sweet red onion. Delicious!

Serves 4

  • 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
  • 2 tablespoons your favorite catsup
  • 1 tablespoon your favorite mayonaise
  • 1 tablespoon creme fraiche
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon a good green pepper or red pepper jelly
  1. Combnie all ingredients with a whisk or using an immersion blender. Season with salt and pepper.
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over 2 years ago Crispini

This is a snappy dressing! I stumbled across this on the site and thought it would be perfect for a green salad with hard boiled eggs and baby shrimp. I ended up making your Grandma Lena's classic version due to the ingredients I had on hand. I went back and doubled the mayo though, because the horseradish was a bit too intense for us. Really great combo, and it definitely perked up the salad. Thanks!


over 3 years ago gingerroot

I'm definitely enjoying experimenting with the peppery heat of horseradish and this dressing sounds delicious. Saving and looking forward to trying this. Thanks for sharing such a lovely story and recipe.


over 3 years ago JoanG

THanks gignerrot. I hope you like it!


over 3 years ago AppleAnnie

Do you think Grandma Lena's longevity owes something to her daily salad? Sounds like a complex and delicious salad dressing.


over 3 years ago JoanG

Maybe its the magic of a daily dose of horseradish!


over 3 years ago dymnyno

It sounds like a great zesty(like her) dressing!


over 3 years ago JoanG

Yes, it is! Thanks Dymyno.


over 3 years ago Sagegreen

I love the story! I bet the dressing is wonderful, too.


over 3 years ago JoanG

THanks Sagegreen! It was fun to recall this recipe when i read about the horseradish challenge!