I have completely lost my appetite for store-bought salad dressings. They all have something in them that doesn't sit right with me, and it's either in the flavoring or in the texturing -- or (quite likely) both. So long as the salad is hearty enough -- seeds and nuts, grated carrots, crumbled feta cheese, frozen corn, etc. -- all a salad really needs for dressing is a little extra-virgin olive oil and some salt and pepper.
Caesar Salads (my daughters' favorite) offer a particular challenge, because the traditional dressing (see Joy) calls for raw egg yolks. I tempt fate with it every once in a while, but you needn't. A perfectly viable alternative exists, thanks to chef Frank Randazzo and epicurious. I have basically halved the recipe, and it works for a dinner salad for four:
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
4 anchovy fillets
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 garlic cloves
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup olive oil
Use a "magic wand" food processor for this, and blend all the ingredients except the olive oil, which you slowly drizzle into the processor's container as the processor runs. When it's all whipped up, toss it into the Romaine lettuce leaves, along with another 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese, croutons and bacon bits (if you must).
You're done. Your wife and kids will be the only ones who love you, but it's worth it.