“Good Seasons” Italian Dressing


I really love a big salad.

And I’m not saying that in a “Oh! I’m on a diet. I’ll just have a salad” way. I’m saying it in a sincere way that acknowledges that salads are crisp, cool, crunchy, filling, healthy and—when you have just the right dressing—loaded with flavor.

In my latest cookbook Well Fed Weeknights: Complete Paleo Meals in 45 Minutes or Less, I included 44 salads (!) and 22 dressings, and there’s not a boring, deprivation-diet bite in the bunch.

Whenever I release a new cookbook, I’m almost always asked to name my favorite recipe. And it’s always a difficult question to answer because there are the recipes I enjoy eating (all of them!) and then there are the special ones that become every-week staples. When Well Fed 2 was published, the recipe that became my go-to favorite was Zingy Ginger Dressing. And in Well Fed Weeknights, the big winner is definitely this ‘Good Seasons’ Italian Dressing.

When I was a kid, it was always my job to set the table, cook the rice, and mix the batch of Good Seasons Italian Dressing—because we ate a tossed salad with dinner almost every night. The Good Seasons mix came in little foil packets, and we had one of the special cruets—free with purchase!—that was marked with lines on the side for the perfect amount of oil, vinegar, and water.

My tastebuds have conditioned my brain to immediately associate the word ‘salad’ with the distinctive flavor of Good Seasons Italian dressing. (Honestly, I think it’s the celery seed that does it.) One bite is like a time machine back to my childhood kitchen: dark wood cabinets, super-seventies (and cool at the time) carpet that was printed to look like hardwood floors, and my whole family in the kitchen, eating and being loud, as usual.

The original mix from the grocery store isn’t a total nutritional nightmare, but it does contain some unnecessary sugar, along with maltodextrin (also sugar), xantham gum, and the always mysterious “natural flavor.” This homemade version can be made in under 5 minutes and the flavors are much brighter and fresher than that store-bought stuff.

‘Good Seasons’ Italian Dressing

Prep 5 minutes | Makes about 1 cup | Whole30 compliant

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse (granulated) garlic powder

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse (granulated) onion powder

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves

  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves

  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

  • 1/8 teaspoon celery seeds

  • 2 tablespoons water

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar

  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil


In a pint-size Mason jar, combine the dry spices, water, and vinegar. Whirl with a stick blender until combined—the liquid will turn opaque and a little frothy. Then, with the blender running inside the jar, slowly add the oil and blend until emulsified.

You Know How You Could Do That?

I love this on a basic green salad: lettuce, red cabbage, cucumbers, scallions, maybe some slivered bell peppers. But it’s very versatile! Try it on…

— sliced summer tomatoes and avocado
— cold cauliflower rice mixed with diced olives and tomato
— quick cucumber salad: sliced cucumbers, slivered red onion, sliced black olives
— Italian slaw: slivered green cabbage, scallions, slivered red bell pepper, fresh parsley
— diced, cold, cooked chicken with diced red bell pepper, fresh basil, and cold zucchini noodles

For more than 40 more irresistible salad ideas, treat yourself to a copy of Well Fed Weeknights.

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  • Sue says:

    How did you know I was planning a dinner salad tonight that was in need of a dressing??

  • Kathy says:

    Thanks, Mel, I’ve been trying without much success to duplicate this recipe, too. When I was a kid, my mom would marinate cut up chicken in this then we would grill it. Thanks for restoring a healthier version of childhood for me !

  • Katherine says:

    I never had Good Seasons growing up because my family always made our own dressings right on top of the salad we had most nights at dinner, so that’s how I learned to make a vinaigrette. But my husband comes from a GS family and he and his sibs might appreciate this! I will say most people seem stumped at the idea of making their own dressings and I cringe whenever I am at someone’s house or a party and out comes some bottled concoctions to ruin my salad. I have always felt all the store bought stuff is gross!

  • Tara says:

    I never heard of Good Seasons but liked the sound of this Italian dressing. I made this to have with our salad for dinner tonight and it was soooo good!!!! I’ll definitely be making this again.

  • Jane Hall says:

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

  • jen says:

    I had some trouble with my first attempt at commenting – apologies if you end up with both. Thank you so much for this recipe. It made my day yesterday as a marinade for grilled chicken and again this morning on sauteed spaghetti squash. You’ve made my family’s food better 🙂

  • Denise says:

    Hi Mel, Thank you for this! We use the good seasons packet and use balsamic, my husbands favorite, but I don’t like all of those extra, unnecessary ingredients.
    Question: Do you have a version that would make a greater quantity of the dry mix, and then scoop out a specific amount when you need it, then mix with the wet ingredients??
    Thank you. I’m a Real Plans user because of you!

    • Hmmmm… I don’t have a large quantity recipe, but you could easily do it! Triple the recipe, then when you’re ready to make the dressing, measure about 3 tablespoons of the dry spices, and mix with the 2 tablespoons water, 1/4 cup vinegar, and 2/3 cup oil. Or if you want to really make a lot, multiple by 6. (You still use 3 tablespoons of mix with the liquids.)

      YAY! Glad Real Plans is working for you!

  • julie says:

    Really delicious dressing. I doubled the recipe and added a fresh lemon. It was so delicious.

  • Catarina says:

    How long can we keep it? In the fridge?

  • Jody Johnson says:

    I am on my second day of whole 30, I almost cried when I read the label and discovered that I couldn’t have the good seasons dressing……….you may have just saved a life -God Bless You

  • Chrissy J says:

    OMG OMG OMG. This was my favorite growing up too. IN FACT, I still have the glass cruet. How about them apples?! I’m filing this for my January Whole 30. I’ll have to hit Penzys for some ingredients but I never mind a Penzeys run. 🙂 I love this on a good crunchy salad but my favorite is to marinate fresh sliced cucumbers in it in the fridge for a 30 minutes (or longer) and eat just that. SO GOOD.

  • Meg Pollock says:

    This has been my go to dressing for years! Now on Day 19 of Whole 30 and planning to keep everything as sugar free as possible forever after day 30. Just yesterday, I considered tossing the few packets and cruet but I couldn’t do it. Thanks to you, now I can!!

  • Mindy D says:

    We make Italian Beef with the GS Spicy italian. Has anyone tried this recipe for Italian beef.?

    The last time I tried to make my own recipe for spices my hubby said no way. Hoping to find something without all the chemicals and extra things I just can’t pronounce.

  • Kat says:

    I too remember this dressing from when I was young! I wanted to tell you how much my husband and I love this dressing. It has become our house dressing. With summer here, we find ourselves wanting salad for dinner and this dressing always makes an appearance. Thank you!

  • Jeanne Mraz says:

    Mel, re: your suggestion for having this dressing on “cold cauliflower rice”, do you mean cold cooked cauliflower rice? We keep frozen cauliflower rice on hand , and this would be a nice side dish if we don’t have fresh greens for a salad. Thanks! Jeanne

  • Elisia says:

    Thanks SOOOO much for your inventive salad combinations listed in your recipe book! They are amazing and our family is really enjoying working our way through them:) . So glad I found you! Now at the end of a long day, when I am not necessarily feeling creative, I have that fabulous list to help me with that and keep our salads amazing and appealing! Keep up the great work!

    • I’m so glad you’re having fun with them—thanks for letting me know! We eat salads almost every day for lunch. Thank goodness there are so many ways to make ’em interesting 🙂