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Homemade Thousand Island Dressing

Thousand Island dressing

Do you miss Thousand Island dressing too?

turkey reuben No matter how I’ve looked, since we began eating Real Food a few years ago, I just can’t find Thousand Island dressing without soybean or other nasty oils. I especially love Thousand Island dressing on Reuben sandwiches and taco salad, and it’s also good on burgers, or for dipping your fried shrimp and French fries into. Thankfully, now a reader, Cathryn, has saved the day!

Here’s her recipe, which calls for a lot of different ingredients, but still looks easy enough to make. Just add a little of this and a little of that and stir it up, simple!

She calls it, “CAT’S CONCOCTION:)

Homemade Thousand Island Dressing

This recipe makes 1 Quart/4 cups. You can easily halve it for 1 pint/2 cups.

Note: These are all approximate amounts and I use as many organic ingredients as possible.


  • 3 cup mayo (try Kelly’s enzyme rich homemade mayo, only you’ll want to double that batch)
  • 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • About 3 Tablespoons or up to 1/4 cup organic tomato paste
  • 3Tablespoons organic sweet pickle relish (drain the juice off)
  • 1-2 teaspoons mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
  • 1/8-1/4 teaspoon black pepper or to taste
  • About 1/4-1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon ground celery leaf
  • Sweeten with either non-bitter Stevia & Xylitol (Global Sweet brand only) OR – Kelly’s choice: use Palm Sugar and/or raw Honey, to taste. Find out more about natural sugars and where to buy here.
  • About 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon all-purpose seasoning (Frontier brand, etc. If you don’t have this, you can use a little Oregano and/or Basil, etc.)
  • Dash Worcestershire sauce (such as Annie’s organic)
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, or to taste


  • Crumbled pieces of bacon
  • Dash of natural liquid smoke
  • Additional 1/4 -1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce


Mix all ingredients well, you can put it in a blender to get it extra smooth, but don’t overdo it. If it seems too thick, just add about 1 Tablespoon of water. It keeps very well in the refrigerator. (Note that the length of time it will last in the fridge will be shorter if you add bacon, or if you make the homemade mayo, due to the eggs, so you may want to make a smaller batch.)

More tips from Cathryn:

Other tips you and others may already know and use, but just in case, for ingredients I use ongoing but only use part of each in a recipe:

For organic tomato paste and sauce, organic buttermilk, organic unsweetened coconut milk, lemon and lime juice, creamed soups, etc., I have ice cube trays just for these, and freeze them over night [I slide trays into zip lock bags or any plastic bags that fit tray size] and then when frozen solid, empty trays and bag the various cubes and keep in freezer to pull out as needed. I use my Food Saver to Vacuum seal mine, but not necessary.


What else do you like to eat Thousand Island dressing with?


  1. What a coincidence! I was going to make a Big Mac salad today and while the original recipe calls for thousand island dressing but I usually concoct something with mayo and other ingredients. I will try to make this and see how it goes :)

  2. I can’t wait to try this recipe out! And big mac salad sounds like the best thing ever…reveal your secret!
    I just used that ice cube tray trick for the pesto we made with the last of the basil…its also great for stock storage.

  3. Decided to have for supper instead so hubby could enjoy it too, but basically, it’s greens/lettuce, slices of onions and pickles topped with sauce (I usually use mayo with some pickle juice, but this dressing would be way better), cheddar cheese and topped with hamburger, either in patties or crumbled, hot enough to melt the cheese a little. I sometimes would sprinkle it with sesame seeds for that extra touch ;). I’m going to blog about it in a few days so I’m hoping it is as good as I remember! It really used to satisfy my craving for fast food burgers (and now I use better quality ingredients so I’m sure it will be great). I’ll be sure to link to this dressing recipe to go with it :)

  4. Thanks for the recipe! I’ve always loved good Thousand Island dressing, the best I’ve had being at a restaurant in Hawaii where it was homemade and amazing, but I’ve never bought it either, as it just never tasted as good to me (and although I really only started my real food conversion over the last year, it has literally been YEARS since buying ANY kind of store-bought dressing…I just never saw the point of having a fridge full of bottles which usually end up expired before finishing them, when it is so easy to make it!).

    Also, that’s actually a great tip on the ice cube trays, but I will note that for tomato paste, I LOVE the kind in the tubes and that’s all I buy now, partly because of the BPA in the cans, but also because in the tube, you can use a little and then just keep the tube in the fridge. No waste!

  5. I have to try this with my version of Carla’s Big Mac Salad that I called “Cheezburger in a Bowl”!! I am glad to hear there is an acceptable Worcestershire sauce out there, because I haven’t been able to find one without HFCS around here. That really does sound like a delicious recipe Kelly.

  6. Patty-I think I’ve commented on this before on another post, but for the worcestershire sauce, I’ve had the same dilemma with them containing HFCS. When I’ve looked into organic brands, they are all vegan, but I am skeptical as to how good they are, as one of the main flavoring agents in worcestershire sauce is anchovies (which of course is not present in the vegan sauces!). So, I will be making my own, and found this as a very promising option: I haven’t tried it yet (but plan to soon), so I can’t personally comment on the flavor, but after looking at several recipes, this seemed the most promising. Unless Kelly-you want to try it for us??? 😉

  7. Thanks Robin! I have been toying with the idea of making my own as well, but haven’t found a recipe that motivated me enough, but this may be it! The only thing that is holding me back (besides laziness) is the amount of sugar. I just never imagined there would be so much in Worcestershire sauce. I am tempted to try it with less sugar, but what if it didn’t turn out? I hate to waste food! :-) Maybe i should just do it in the name of science. LOL Thanks again!
    (And I bookmarked the recipe!)

  8. This is what makes Thousand Island Dressing? Wow. How cool. Shrimp salad Louis Salad + thousand island dressing = Bliss. I’ll need to think about this.

  9. I’ve been wanting to find a healthy Worcestershire sauce for a while now!
    I can’t help but wonder if it used to be lacto-fermented. I’m almost convinced that it had to be. I wonder if we could add whey and let it sit out a couple days?

  10. Sounds yummy! Two questions: Can celery seed be subbed for celery leaf? I have a feeling I’m going to have a hard time finding that. And two, is liquid smoke an ‘OK to use’ product? I always want to try it in BBQ sauce, but I’m skeptical…

    • Hey Jenn!

      You could probably chop the celery super fine and it would be ok, but ground celery is in the spice aisle, not hard to find.

      I recently got some liquid smoke for the next time I make BBQ sauce because the ingredient label looked great. So as long as you’re reading the label to be sure there’s nothing scary in there, I’m fairly certain that it’s just fine.


  11. I couldn’t find ground celery leaf (at least not in the organic section) but you’re right, I should just finely chop it. I thought the liquid smoke I bought looked OK; just sometimes don’t trust myself! (PS – I made the switch from Big learning curve but it’s working out great! Thanks for your advice! xoxo)

  12. If anyone’s game to try a different version, this is a smaller version of what we use at our cafe. It’s different than the one above, since you season the tomato paste, then add mayo to it whenever. The seasoned tomato paste makes a killer Sweet N’ Sour dressing too, just by mixing it with olive oil, more honey, more vinegar… (Good to season vegetable soup broth too!) Just mix all the followingingredients together:
    2 8-oz. cans tomato paste
    1 TBS. plus 1 1/2 tsp. salt
    1 TBS. garlic granules
    1 scant TBS. dried oregano
    1/4 c. plus 1/2 TBS. paprika
    2 TBS. minced, canned jalapeños
    Scant 1/3 c. honey
    1 1/2 TBS. red wine vinegar
    I love that it’s sweetened with honey. I’d be curious to try the celery leaf in it, though!

  13. When you say it keeps well in the long do you mean? I’d think about a week max..but mayo kind of grosses me out ha so I’m extra picky about keeping it for too long..thanks!
    -Ashley,the weird girl who worries too much about food going bad :)

    • Ashley, if it’s added to store-bought mayo (complete with all its preservatives), it would keep 2 months or so. For reals. We have a deli, and have to take food courses on such stuff. Plus, we have over 30 years of experience!
      Using homemade mayo, I’d give it a month. Don’t want that oil to go rancid.
      But the mix itself (just spices, vinegar, salt, and the tomato paste) will keep 2 months, easy. The vinegar and salt help preserve the tomato paste.
      IF you mess with the recipe, cutting down on the salt or vinegar, then- it really won’t last as long. Two to four weeks…

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