Tomato-Basil Dressing & Marinade

Mom's Tangy Tomato-Basil Dressing and Marinade

My mother would make this deliciously tangy dressing frequently. I thought the recipe was lost forever, but a few years ago I was overjoyed to find it in one of her treasured old metal recipe boxes which she left to me.
I'm not certain where she first found this one as she was an avid recipe collector, trading recipes with friends and family, I suspect it may just as well been clipped from a magazine years ago.
If you don't mind a sweet dressing, I think you'll like this one, it's vaguely reminescent of a Catalina-style dressing. Delicious on lettuce or spinach salads, and makes a top-notch marinade for grilled chicken, fish or shrimp. I also like to serve it as a dip with raw vegetables.

Mom's Tomato Basil Dressing and Marinade


1 cup vegetable oil (I use canola)
1/2 cup chili sauce (the mild kind, from the bottle) You can also use the bottled tomato based seafood cocktail sauce from the bottle, in a pinch.
1/2 cup tomato ketchup
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup vinegar; either apple cider vinegar or white vinegar.
1 teaspoon salt
Several grinds of freshly ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 large fresh tomato, skin removed
2 teaspoons dried basil
If you like a thin dressing add up to 1 cup of cold water. I prefer a thick dressing, so I add very little water; sometimes only 2 Tablespoons or so, depending upon how juicy the tomato happens to be.

Place all ingredients in the blender container and process until perfectly smooth and well combined. You can use it right away, but the flavors will bloom if you refrigerate overnight. Store tightly covered in the refrigerator, it will keep about 2 weeks.

*You could substitute fresh basil leaves (increasing the amount) if you are using the dressing/marinade right away, otherwise dried basil works best in this recipe.


  1. I feel like you have shared a treasure.
    I love your presentation too and will make this the very first chance I get.
    When I was very young.. I loved Catalina:)
    My mom made basic oil and vinegar and the others were bought.It was my favorite.

    Thanks Mary..Love the bottle and tag. Would have loved to see the tin box too:)

  2. This does sound delicious, Mary! Thank you. So many of your recipes come with such interesting background stories :)

  3. love the little food journeys you share with us...

  4. Thank you so much for your comments!

    If you try it I hope it's one you like. :)


Thank you for your comments, friends ~ they make my day!

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