Lemon Poppyseed Dressing + Winter Romaine Salad

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Homemade Lemon Poppyseed Dressing goes great on any salad, but you’ll especially love it on this winter romaine salad. The dressing has the perfect balance of sweet and tangy.

I know some people think salads are a spring and summer thing, but honestly, I enjoy them year round. And this homemade poppyseed dressing is one of my favorite ways to top a salad. 

close of of a winter salad with pear topped with a lemon poppyseed dressing

Today I’m going to introduce you to my winter salad. And of course, it doesn’t have to be winter to make it. I’ve eaten tons of salads over the years and this version remains a favorite.  

A chef friend from Cambodian Heritage Camp shared the recipe with me. It’s the same place I found the BEST Blueberry Boy Bait recipe. Both are absolutely delicious and your family will love them. Be prepared to put both recipes on repeat! 

If you are looking for more easy homemade dressings, give my Creamy House Dressing a try – it’s amazing.

Ingredients for Lemon Poppyseed Dressing

Sugar – you can use granulated sugar or coconut sugar

Lemon Juice – Fresh lemon juice tastes best here. If I’m out of lemons, I use Italian Garden lemon juice – it’s in the produce section. Just (please!) don’t use lemon juice in the green bottle.

Oil – I’ve only tested the dressing recipe with sunflower and canola oils, but I’m sure you could use vegetable oil if that’s what you have on hand.

Sweet Onions – look for Vidalias


Poppy Seeds 

Dijon Mustard 

ingredients for winter salad and poppyseed dressing

Building the Winter Salad 

As I mentioned before, the winter salad is good year-round. Feel free to add more veggies if you like. 

Romaine lettuce – you could also swap for a spring mix or baby spinach.

Sunflower Seeds – Use plain or lightly salted, your preference. You could swap these out for chow mein noodles.

Pear – use your favorite red, green or Asian. Firmer fruit works best. Apples are an easy substitute.

Dried Cranberries 

Romano cheese – grab a wedge from the deli and shred it at home. Freshly shredded cheese is worth the effort – it’s so flavorful and doesn’t contain the additives you’ll find in pre-shredded cheeses. If you don’t like Romano, swap for Swiss or white cheddar. 

Making Homemade Lemon Poppyseed Dressing 

While you can hand mix all of the dressing ingredients, I suggest throwing them into the blender or using an immersion blender. Blend longer if you prefer a smoother dressing.

You can toss the salad in the dressing right before serving, but do so gradually because you may not need all of the dressing. You can also serve poppyseed dressing on the side or in ramekins so your guests can dress their own salads.

close up of homemade poppyseed vinaigrette in a glass jar next to a lemon

Making Winter Salad Ahead of Time 

If you want to prepare the salad ahead of time, by all means, do so. Store the ingredients separately and combine just before serving. To avoid soggy greens, hold off adding the dressing until it’s time to serve.

Storing Lemon Poppyseed Dressing

If you have leftovers or want to make a bigger batch to save for later, it lasts about 1 week in the refrigerator.

How To Make the Dressing Creamier 

Want to make the poppyseed dressing creamier? Just add a little bit of mayo or milk before blending.

As a lighter option, you can try adding Greek yogurt. Add the yogurt in small increments and taste along the way until you have it perfect to your liking. 

More Salad Recipes You’ll Love:

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dinner salad tossed in a lemon poppyseed dressing that is homemade

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close of of a winter salad with pear topped with a lemon poppyseed dressing

Lemon Poppyseed Dressing + Winter Romaine Salad

Homemade Lemon Poppyseed Dressing goes great on any salad, but I LOVE it on this winter romaine salad with fruit. The dressing has the perfect balance of sweet and tangy!
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Course: Appetizer, Salad, salad dressing
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 433kcal
Author: Lori


Ingredients – Salad:

  • 1 large head of romaine lettuce, rinsed, drained & chopped
  • 1 pear, sliced
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup Romano cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries

Ingredients – Dressing:

  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoon sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 2/3 cups canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon poppy seeds


  • Add salad ingredients to a large bowl and toss to combine.
  • Combine dressing ingredients EXCEPT for poppy seeds. Blend until combined. Add poppy seeds to dressing after blending and stir.
  • Toss dressing with salad ingredients just before serving. You may not need all the dressing.


  • Substitutions:
    • Swiss or White cheddar cheese for Romano
    • Chow mein noodles for sunflower seeds
    • Apples for pears
    • Mixed greens or baby spinach for romaine
    • Use Garden Italian lemon juice from the produce section if you don’t have lemons
  • Refrigerate leftovers.
Tried this recipe?Mention @AReinventedMom or tag #areinventedmom!


Calories: 433kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 36g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 17mg | Sodium: 406mg | Potassium: 155mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 490IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 200mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional information is provided as a reference, using an online calculator. We recommend verifying the information independently for accuracy.

Keyword: homemade salad dressing, homemade vinaigrette dressing, romaine salad with fruits

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