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Poppy Seed Dressing

Poppy Seed Dressing

Two Way Poppy Seed Dressing – A Poppy Seed Dressing Copycat of Cincinnati’s First Watch Restaurant.

To continue our fun theme of sharing my “copycat” of top secret restaurant recipes, today we’re going to make one of Cincinnati restaurant The First Watch’s most requested dressing recipes – Poppy Seed Dressing. This is a favorite of customers who routinely ask for the salad dressing recipe used on both the fruit salad and the marinated vegetable salad. Now First Watch was kind enough to share their restaurant quantity recipe which made a gallon or so!

Using their recipe as a guide, I’ve developed a great one for the home cook, tweaking it here and there to make it my own “signature” dressing, lower in fat but still retaining all the flavor.

The best part of this recipe is that it’s really two recipes in one and is really great for this hot weather. Pair either salad I’m sharing with a grilled burger, steak, or poultry and you have a wonderful meal with no fuss.

Copycat of First Watch Poppy Seed Dressing – Rita’s Lightened Version

Sometimes I’ll add celery seed instead of the poppy seeds, and reduce the amount to 2 teaspoons.

Basic poppy seed dressing for marinated vegetables

Go to taste on ingredients here. You can always add more.

Blend together:

¼ cup lemon juice
1/3 cup vinegar (either cider or clear)
1 ½ teaspoons dry mustard
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 cup sugar or substitute (I like Splenda)
¼ cup diced onion or more to taste
1 ¼ to 1 ½ cups Canola oil (or use 1 cup Canola and ¼ to ½ cup water)

Optional ingredient to make dressing for Fruit Salad

After you whisk in Canola oil, whisk in ½ cup sour cream. This makes a creamy dressing for fruit. I like to use low fat sour cream. Even fat free sour cream works well here because the flavors of the basic dressing are strong enough. Can you use yogurt? Yes, but the dressing won’t be quite as creamy. Use a plain yogurt, fat free.

First Watch Poppy Seed Dressing

First Watch Poppy Seed Dressing


Mix together 2 cups each diced celery and zucchini. Stir in 3-4 cups diced tomatoes. (I like to add a few diced carrots in here, as well). Mix with small amount of dressing and serve on bed of greens. You can also marinate the vegetables several hours ahead of time, except for the tomatoes. Stir those in last.

TO ASSEMBLE FRUIT SALAD: Using fruits in season, lay your favorite bite-size pieces on a bed of greens. Drizzle dressing over. Garnish with mint leaves.


When trying to low fat salad dressing recipes, add a bit of water to the vinaigrette. And remember, just dress the salad – don’t soak it in dressing. A little goes a long way!

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