Adding fresh herbs, roasted garlic, lemon, and feta to a base of thinned-out creme fraiche creates a flavor-bomb salad dressing you won’t want to miss. Switching cultured cream for oil creates a thirst-quenching dressing; I’m not sure how to describe it, but it’s almost like a good ranch or blue cheese without the oily “too much” aftertaste.


pitcher of garlic, herb and lemon creme fraiche dressing.

I created a version of the classic wedge salad, using Roman cauliflower instead of iceberg lettuce and a fresher, less heavy dressing made with creme fraiche (you can check it out here: Romanesco Wedge Salad). It may sound counterintuitive to call a dressing made with creme fraiche (rich cultured cream) “less heavy” or lighter, but something about it tastes lighter and fresher. Because of the fat already in the cream, there is no need to add oil, and rather, it’s about what you can add to the cream for zest and tang (though there is a good amount of tang in the creme fraiche already). Fast forward to this recipe, where I built out the dressing with roasted garlic and lemon for a great-tasting dressing you can use on a green salad, grain salad, potato salad, or as a topping for your salmon burgers (or anything else, it’s that yummy!). The crumbled feta gives it a blue cheese dressing vibe without the strong flavor.

grains and arugula salad tossed in creme fraiche dressing.

creme fraiche dressing ingredients.

Ingredient notes

  • Creme fraiche- this cultured cream has a spreadable consistency and 30% fat. It will easily thin out with water to create the dressing. You can substitute sour cream, full-fat Greek yogurt, or labneh, and the higher-fat version you choose, the smoother and more tasty the dressing will be. A non-fat version using a non-fat Greek yogurt will not yield the same result- it will taste watery. The fat in the creme fraiche substitutes for the role oil usually has in a dressing.
  • Fresh herbs- Parsley, dill, and basil are a nice combo of flavors for this dressing. They have a ranch-style flavor profile. You can sub other fresh herbs if you prefer.
  • Feta cheese- I recreate the texture and some of the flavor of a blue cheese dressing by adding crumbled feta. Don’t skimp!
  • Lemon juice- As vinegar adds tang to dressings, so does lemon, and you can adjust the amount to suit your taste.
  • Roasted garlic- If you are in a pinch for time, feel free to use garlic powder, but roasting a head wrapped in foil ahead of time (even the night before when you cook dinner) is well worth it. The mellow flavor enhances the dressing.

Step-by-step instructions

First, you will want to thin out the creme fraiche with water and stir to loosen it up.

Then add in the rest of the ingredients after chopping the herbs, crumbling the feta, squeezing the lemon and squishing the roasted garlic out of their skins. Stir vigorously to smash up the soft garlic cloves and mix all the ingredients.

It’s that simple! I recommend letting the dressing sit while you put together the rest of the salad or meal you are using the dressing with and consider chilling it for a couple of hours to allow the flavors to infuse.

mixed dressing, ready to be used or chilled.

Tips for making and serving this recipe

  • Most tips for making this dressing are mentioned in the ingredient notes, and if you click the “learn more” in the creme fraiche info box above, you can even learn how to easily make your creme fraiche (ours cost $4.79 at the store, which is more than sour cream usually is). The fat content is important to the success of the dressing.
  • Serving- this dressing works well as a green salad dressing, a grain salad dressing, a mix for potato salad, or a topping for salmon burgers. You name it, it’s delicious! I even love drizzling it over my Light & Crispy Sheet Pan Veggie Pizza (With Filo)!

Other dressings

Do you like to mix up your own dressings? Try these, which both use tahini- Whipped Feta Tahini with Honey and Za’atar, Herby Tahini Sauce with Bright Vietnamese Flavors.

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pitcher of garlic, herb and lemon creme fraiche dressing.

Creme Fraiche Dressing with Roasted Garlic and Herbs (No Oil)

Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time0 minutes
Roast head of garlic (optional): 45 minutes
Servings4
Calories107
Adding fresh herbs, roasted garlic, lemon, and feta to a base of thinned-out creme fraiche creates a flavor-bomb salad dressing you won't want to miss. Switching cultured cream for oil creates a thirst-quenching dressing; I'm not sure how to describe it, but it's almost like a good ranch or blue cheese without the oily "too much" aftertaste.

Ingredients
 

  • 1/2 cup creme fraiche (can sub sour cream or whole fat yogurt)
  • 2 oz feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup mixed fresh herbs (heaping) (parsley, dill, basil)
  • 1 head of roasted garlic (6-8 cloves) (roasted ahead-see notes)
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt (can include celery salt if you have)
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper powder (can sub black pepper cracked or powder)
  • 1/2 large lemon juiced (about 1/4 cup of juice)

Method:  

  • Add 2 tbsp of water into the 1/2 cup of creme fraiche, and whisk to uniform consistency.
  • Crumble feta into dressing.
  • Squeeze the roasted garlic cloves into dressing.
  • Use a fork to smoosh the garlic so it will mix well.
  • Add lemon juice, onion powder, salt and pepper.
  • Chop mixed herbs nice and small, so they are pleasant to eat (don't leave larger leaf pieces, rather, chop enough that herbs are almost finely chopped). Add to dressing.
  • At this point, stir well and taste. Add another 2 Tbsp of water to get consistancy you prefer. If dressing a green salad, you may want a slightly thinner dressing than if you are tossing with grains, topping fish cakes, or mixing with potatoes for a potato salad, for example.

Notes

Optional Roasted Garlic-cut the top off of a head of garlic, drizzle with a tad of oil, wrap in foil and bake in oven at 350 for an hour. The cloves will become soft and sweet, a perfect flavor for the dressing. You can use garlic powder if you don’t have time to roast a head of garlic. It adds a nice flavor, but I’ve made it both ways.

Nutrition (an estimate)

Calories: 107kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 30mg | Sodium: 463mg | Potassium: 88mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 118mg | Iron: 0.3mg | Magnesium: 10mg | Net Carbohydrates: 4g
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