Leon salad dressing (also known as La Scala dressing) is a unique combination of olive oil, wine vinegar, mustard powder, and parmesan cheese.
It makes for a delicious vinaigrette that is perfect for pouring over crisp lettuce, or adding to your favorite pasta salad.
I was first introduced to Leon dressing by the viral recipe for the famous La Scala Chop Salad.
While doing some research, I was perusing the La Scala menu and saw that the famous salad recipe used something known as "Leon Dressing." Immediately I had to know more about this dressing I had never heard of.
What is Leon Dressing?
Leon dressing was created by Chef Jean Leon from the famous La Scala Beverly Hills restaurant. It dates back to the 1950s, and was developed to be served on their famous salads.
It's similar to many vinaigrette recipes in that it involves oil and acid (wine vinegar), but it uses mustard powder in place of what is typically dijon mustard.
- Olive oil: This is where any good vinaigrette starts! Use extra virgin for the best flavor.
- White wine vinegar: This has a subtle flavor and acidity.
- Mustard powder: Also known as dry mustard or ground mustard, this can be found with the spices and seasonings in the grocery store. You can substitute it for dijon mustard in a pinch.
- Parmesan cheese: Some finely grated parmigiano reggiano is added to the dressing, which gives it a delicious savory and nutty flavor.
- Salt and pepper: I like using a fine ground salt, rather than kosher.
Check the recipe card for a full list of ingredients and the quantities needed.
Step one: Add the olive oil, mustard powder, wine vinegar, salt, black pepper, and parmesan cheese to a small bowl (or mason jar with a lid).
Step two: Whisk well to combine.
(OR shake if using a mason jar or cruet).
Step three: Once the dressing is combined, you're ready to serve on a simple green salad, or one of your choosing.
Step four: Transfer the dressing into a pourable container for easy use.
Ways to Use It
- La Scala Chopped Salad (featuring garbanzo beans, mozzarella cheese, and sliced salami)
- Arugula salad
- Quinoa salad
- As a marinade for chicken
- Pasta salad
Keep leftover dressing in an airtight container or jar with a lid for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
The olive oil will solidify when chilled, so allow the dressing to rest at room temperature for 10-30 minutes before shaking and serving. Alternatively, you can run hot water on the outside of the jar to help the oil to "melt."
- Dijon mustard. If you don't have mustard powder on hand, you can swap it out for dijon mustard instead.
- Red wine vinegar. This works as a decent substitute for white wine vinegar, but it does have a bit stronger of a flavor.
- Fresh lemon juice. If you don't have wine vinegar, you can use fresh lemons instead. It will make it more of a classic lemon vinaigrette, but it will still be delicious! Add in some lemon zest for an extra boost of flavor.
- Avocado oil. I have swapped out the olive oil for avocado oil before, but the olive oil flavor is much better. Still, it can be done in a pinch!
- Parmesan cheese. Both pecorino romano and grand padano make good substitutes for parmesan cheese. Just be sure they are finely grated before measuring.
If you want to add a touch of sweetness to this homemade salad dressing, try adding 2-3 teaspoons of maple syrup or honey.
If you loved this recipe for Leon dressing, let me know by leaving a 5-star review in the recipe card or comment below! You can also tag me on Instagram @dashfordinner.
Leon Salad Dressing (Famous La Scala Recipe)
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar or red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard powder *or dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ cup finely grated parmesan cheese parmigiano reggiano
- Add all of the ingredients to a small bowl or a glass jar with a lid.
- Whisk or shake the ingredients to combine.
- Transfer to a salad cruet or a pourable container (if you used a bowl rather than a mason jar).
- Serve immediately, or set aside and shake before serving.
- Store in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks, and allow to rest at room temperature before serving (to soften the olive oil). Shake well, then serve with the salad of your choice.
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