Whole Lemon Dressing

Typically, I don’t have the television on while I’m cooking. In fact, I typically listen to my favorite music playlists. That is, unless my husband is in the kitchen first. He will invariably, mindlessly, turn on the tv. Which is what happened one morning a few years ago.

The Rachael Ray show was on, and I’m not a fan, but I was too busy to change channels. She had Carla Hall on for a cooking segment, which only caught my attention because I’d seen her compete in Top Chef.

So I was only watching with one eye, so to speak, but I saw Carla do something interesting.

We’ve all combined citrus juices with olive oil and made dressings. But here is the thing. Carla put the WHOLE lemon into a blender for her dressing.

Here’s what I did to replicate her recipe, which I just knew I’d love!

Lemon Dressing

1 clean, organic lemon
Olive oil
Salt, to taste
Salad of your choice

To make the dressing, trim the lemon ends and quarter it.


Place the pieces in a blender or food processor. Blend away until you can’t.


Add about 1/2 cup of olive oil and a generous pinch of salt, and re-blend the mixture.


Strain the dressing through a fine strainer into a medium bowl. What you’re left with is a thickened emulsified lemon dressing.

I chose a salad of greens with avocado and raspberries so the dressing could really shine. Plus a little chunk of Parmesan.

I’m not even that much of a lemon freak, but this dressing is superb. It’s powerfully lemon, but not tart or bitter like you’d think.

I’m definitely making this dressing again. Next time I’ll add some toasted walnuts and crumbled goat cheese to the salad!

I also really love lemon dressing on salads that are grain-based, so that might be my next move!

By Published On: September 1st, 201778 Comments on Whole Lemon Dressing

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!


  1. Travel Gourmet September 1, 2017 at 7:05 AM - Reply

    I always play music while cooking too :) What a great idea to put in the whole lemons; it has so much flavour and oils. I’ll give it a go!

    • chef mimi September 1, 2017 at 7:07 AM - Reply

      I’m not even that much of a lemon lover, but this was spectacular.

  2. Linda Duffin September 1, 2017 at 7:06 AM - Reply

    You had me at lemon! I am so going to make this … and you’re right, it would be fantastic on a grain salad like bulgur wheat or freekeh. In fact I’m going to make it right now. Thanks! Lxxx

  3. Gerlinde September 1, 2017 at 7:17 AM - Reply

    I love anything lemony , so this dressing talks to me big time. I make a cake using whole lemons but I boil them before chopping them in the food processor.

  4. Lisa @ cheergerm September 1, 2017 at 7:27 AM - Reply

    Love it. I saw Carla competing on Top Chef a few years back and was always a fan. Yes, I either have music or just my own (scary) thoughts whilst cooking.

    • chef mimi September 1, 2017 at 7:32 AM - Reply

      Hahahaha! That’s why my music is loud!

  5. Linda Duffin September 1, 2017 at 7:56 AM - Reply

    … ok, so freekeh, raw zucchini, scallions, mint, your dressing and a hit of fresh chilli … delicious, thank you! :)

    • chef mimi September 1, 2017 at 8:39 AM - Reply

      Oh yeah. I love raw zucchini in salads. Also love the mint and chili. Fantastic! Toasted pine nuts?

      • Linda Duffin September 1, 2017 at 11:31 AM

        Ooh, toasted pine nuts … good idea! Will add them in just before we eat. Thanks again!

  6. Viki Resler White September 1, 2017 at 8:12 AM - Reply

    Love this idea Mimi! So glad you are doing this blog. Thank you!

  7. Our Growing Paynes September 1, 2017 at 8:32 AM - Reply

    Well now I’m intrigued. The white part of the rind on citrus has always been extremely bitter to me but you said that didn’t come through. I may have to give this a go.

    • chef mimi September 1, 2017 at 8:37 AM - Reply

      No, it didn’t. I never watched what Carla did for the actual recipe, but I know she put it in the blender. I don’t know if she strained it like I did, and if so, maybe that’s because of the pith. But the flavor was all lemon, no bitterness.

      • Our Growing Paynes September 1, 2017 at 9:11 AM

        Perfect! I know the pith is excellent for helping the Vit. C be absorbed but it can be off putting.

      • chef mimi September 1, 2017 at 9:20 AM

        I think that’s bioflavonoid? I used to take it just for that reason.

      • Our Growing Paynes September 1, 2017 at 9:59 AM

        Yes, I think you are right.

  8. Francesca September 1, 2017 at 8:45 AM - Reply

    Inspiring Mimi, I’ll try it when I get back.

    • chef mimi September 1, 2017 at 9:20 AM - Reply

      Enjoy your wonderful vacation!

      • Francesca September 1, 2017 at 10:53 AM

        Thanks Mimi.

  9. k'skitchenchronicles September 1, 2017 at 8:47 AM - Reply

    Whole lemon…quite intriguing indeed..will have to try this one out👌👌👌 great post

  10. circusgardener September 1, 2017 at 9:23 AM - Reply

    Thanks for the recipe. I have to give this a go!

  11. Tasty Eats Ronit Penso September 1, 2017 at 9:47 AM - Reply

    This looks so very delicious! I am a lemon fanatic and use the whole lemon many times, in salads as well. It is indeed such a tasty thing to do. By the way, the white layer is supposed to be quite healthy, with a high amount of pectin in it. A shame it’s usually thrown away.

    If interested, check out this calamari salad, that includes diced lemon in it:

    • chef mimi September 2, 2017 at 6:40 PM - Reply

      I used to take bioflavinoids, which is extracted from the pith of citrus fruit, so I know you’re right about how healthy it is. And with a dressing this good, whole lemons should be used more often! Will look into that salad. LOVE calamari!

  12. francefougere September 1, 2017 at 10:30 AM - Reply

    Lemon is the best ! Très appétissante présentation – amitiés :)

  13. mistimaan September 1, 2017 at 11:44 AM - Reply

    Loved your awesome recipe :)

  14. Liz @ spades, spatulas, and spoons September 1, 2017 at 12:36 PM - Reply

    I recently saw this same dressing used as a marinade on another blog. They must have been watching the same program. I added about 1/4 of a jalapeño and used it to marinate some chicken, it was good. I like your use for a salad.

    • chef mimi September 1, 2017 at 8:18 PM - Reply

      It was probably Bewitching Kitchen! I love the jalapeño addition! This is definitely more of a dressing, or at least that’s how I made it. Really good, especially if you love lemon!

  15. Elaine @ foodbod September 1, 2017 at 2:02 PM - Reply

    Very nice! Sally posted a marinade recently using whole lemons – I definitely need to get in on this action!!!

    • chef mimi September 1, 2017 at 8:16 PM - Reply

      Yes, and she’d actually commented on my original post on this dressing. She couldn’t really place it, although I can’t claim it, since this is a dressing way more than a marinade, but it’s definitely unique and wonderful!

  16. chefkreso September 1, 2017 at 3:32 PM - Reply

    Such a simple and actually essential dressing you can use 100 different ways, love it!

  17. Mary September 1, 2017 at 3:39 PM - Reply

    I was on holiday the first time I ever ate Avocado and the cook made a wonderful lemon dressing to accompany it. It had touch of garlic in it but was absolutely lovely and I have never been able to replicate it. Maybe this is what he did so I will try this – with a touch of garlic!! Thank goodness for your husband and the telly or you would never have been able to pass this on. Thanks!! 😀

    • chef mimi September 1, 2017 at 8:15 PM - Reply

      Hahahaha! That’s so true, although I wish I’d paid attention to the actual recipe. Probably pretty close to what I did, though… It is definitely good!

  18. ladyredspecs September 1, 2017 at 6:33 PM - Reply

    I’m love lemony anything. Thanks for sharing this, sounds fab!

    • chef mimi September 2, 2017 at 6:41 PM - Reply

      Then you will definitely love this dressing!

  19. Laura @ Feast Wisely September 1, 2017 at 6:56 PM - Reply

    What a fantastic idea Chef Mimi – now I just need to find some unwaxed organic lemons! 🍋

    • chef mimi September 1, 2017 at 8:14 PM - Reply

      You’ll love it!

      • Laura @ Feast Wisely September 4, 2017 at 5:14 PM

        I’ve already tried it chef Mimi in a spinach pesto – recipe to follow! Thank you

    • Pat Ives November 19, 2021 at 9:49 AM - Reply

      Spray your lemons with vinegar and it takes the wax right off!

  20. Blogtastic Food September 1, 2017 at 7:21 PM - Reply

    Never thought about making dressing like that. Lemon is my fav (:

  21. sippitysup September 2, 2017 at 1:31 PM - Reply

    I can believe this is fabulous because I make a whole lemon lemonade too. (3 whole lemons, 2 cups sugar, and 2 cups lemon juice blended on high then mixed with 5 cups water). It has a thicker,smoothie-like consistency. Next up a dressing in my blender… GREG

    • chef mimi September 2, 2017 at 6:41 PM - Reply

      Brilliant. And why not?!! I’m assuming you don’t strain…

  22. Alida @My Little Italian Kitchen September 2, 2017 at 3:43 PM - Reply

    This simple dressing is simply wonderful. I make it often using cider vinegar but for fish I use lemon juice too. Nice!

    • chef mimi September 2, 2017 at 6:42 PM - Reply

      I do love a good vinaigrette, but also I love dressings with lemon juice. I bet on fish it would be spectacular!

  23. Debra September 2, 2017 at 11:13 PM - Reply

    I do love lemon and can’t wait to try this! It would never occur to me that the whole lemon could be used. This is a “goody,” Mimi!

  24. Cocoa & Lavender September 3, 2017 at 9:28 AM - Reply

    Mimi – I love lemon and just about everything, but I often find lemon dressing is too acidic. However, I am absolutely fascinated by this and can’t wait to make it. I have a feeling that using the whole lemon or reduce the acidity a lovely dressing.

    • chef mimi September 3, 2017 at 2:21 PM - Reply

      I’m actually surprised that I didn’t include a little honey in the recipe, because that would have been my first thought. I probably tasted it and was surprised at how good it was! And I’m not a lemon freak!

  25. dishinwithdidi September 4, 2017 at 7:37 AM - Reply

    I love lemon anything Mimi, this looks and sounds absolutely PERFECT! Thank you so much for the idea of walnuts and goat cheese!

    • chef mimi September 4, 2017 at 9:11 PM - Reply

      Such lovely salad additions! Enjoy the dressing!

  26. marymtf September 4, 2017 at 8:26 PM - Reply

    About to make it. Will let you know.

  27. Culinary Flavors September 6, 2017 at 3:35 AM - Reply

    I love using whole lemon too in my lemonade and whole oranges in my cakes! This looks fantastic!

    • chef mimi September 6, 2017 at 7:12 AM - Reply

      Someone else mentioned the lemonade, the cake orange sounds incredible!

  28. kitchenriffs September 6, 2017 at 10:14 AM - Reply

    The whole lemon? Gotta try that! I’m a lemon freak, so this is really appealing. Great dressing — thanks.

    • chef mimi September 6, 2017 at 3:05 PM - Reply

      I’m not a lemon freak, and it’s fabulous!

  29. Jeff the Chef September 6, 2017 at 10:45 PM - Reply

    That sounds marvelous! I’m very much into using the whole fruit. This might sound strange, but after squeezing a lemon, I will often grind the whole peel to crumbs, and blend them with oatmeal and cream (and sugar). I also make “whole orange” muffins. I can’t wait to try this!

    • chef mimi September 7, 2017 at 7:01 AM - Reply

      Fascinating. Others have told me they make lemonade that way, and also put a whole orange in a cake. I was skeptical, mostly because of the seeds, but it’s wonderful!

  30. margaret21 September 7, 2017 at 1:31 AM - Reply

    This definitely sounds worth a go. I’m salivating already!

  31. Laura @ Feast Wisely September 13, 2017 at 5:14 PM - Reply

    Hi Chef Mimi – thanks again for your inspiration – did you see my shout out in my last post? I’m loving the whole lemon idea….

    • chef mimi September 13, 2017 at 7:31 PM - Reply

      No! I’ll have to make sure I get your posts. I’ll go check.

  32. kmuccigrosso October 6, 2017 at 7:27 AM - Reply

    ❤️ Love it!!

    • chef mimi October 6, 2017 at 7:32 AM - Reply

      It’s so good!!!

      • kmuccigrosso October 6, 2017 at 8:11 AM

        I’m going to try it tonight for my dinner with the family

  33. Kelly, RD October 7, 2017 at 8:07 PM - Reply

    I love fresh lemon! I’m definitely going to make this!

    • chef mimi October 7, 2017 at 8:09 PM - Reply

      You’ll love it then! I’ve since learned that some people do this for lemonade as well!

  34. Valentina January 29, 2022 at 9:03 PM - Reply

    Mimi, I keep meaning to look this up, and finally did. SO COOL that the entire lemon is in this dressing. Definitely trying it ASAP with a freshly picked Meyer from my backyard. :-) ~Valentina

    • Chef Mimi January 30, 2022 at 9:01 AM - Reply

      I’m so glad you’re going to make this. It’s amazing!!!

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