Salad Dressings

I have a feeling most of you never think twice about salad dressing. You buy the kind your mum already bought and or your room mate in college. I’d also guess that part of why you are not particularly keen on eating salad, if that is indeed the case, is because the said dressing is boring. I find most store bought dressings are too salty, too plain, and (this might surprise you) have a ton of calories. Considering how incredibly easy and fast it is to make your own, I really don’t understand why people buy dressing. This is going to sound weird, but you wouldn’t believe how many people ask me for salad dressing recipes I’ve made. And my answer is embarrassingly simple: good olive oil, high quality vinegar (I love apple cider vinegar or balsamic, especially Balsamico di Modena), sea salt and freshly ground pepper. No joke. Obviously I often elaborate or substitute, but that’s a good start for a guaranteed tasty dressing.

In general:

Image Courtesy Luigi Diamanti

Image Courtesy Luigi Diamanti

  • oil (good quality olive, like cold pressed extra virgin, or try peanut, sesame…I avoid canola because a lot of it is GMO, unfortunately. Infused oils are great too and make any dressing something special).
  • vinegar (Balsamico di Modena, white wine, apple cider, rice vinegar..). You can also use a different acid like lemon or lime juice.
  • If you like a creamy dressing, add mayo, sour cream, or even real cream. I personally dislike mayo, always have, so I substitute with sour cream or plain (Greek) yogurt. Works great and is better for you so take that, mayo.
  • Add something special like horseradish, mustard or Worcestershire sauce. I have about 5 different kind of mustards in my fridge: regular, Dijon, grainy German style, white wine, raspberry (that’s a thing) and nut. Oh that’s six kinds!
  • seasoning: sea salt, freshly ground pepper. Or add herbs. Wait, I already listed those as salad ingredients. Oh well.

Here a few of my favourite creations:

  • Clearly Saturday Night: (the name is a long story) 3 tbsp olive oil, 6 tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1 tbsp grainy mustard, 1 tbsp sour cream or plain yogurt, 1 clove of garlic (I usually steal a clove from when I bake a garlic because the taste of raw garlic can be overpowering), salt and pepper
  • Lemony: juice of half a lemon, 3 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp sour cream, 1 tbsp mustard, salt and pepper. Goes really well with a salty salad, say one with cheese.
  • Honey: 3 tbsp olive oil, 6 tbsp vinegar, 1 tbsp honey, salt and pepper.
  • “Asian”: 3 tbsp sesame oil, 6 tbsp rice vinegar, 1 tsp sugar, 1 tsp soy sauce, grated ginger (piece the size of your thumb), sesame seeds. So good with a warm green bean salad, asparagus or a salad with sliced beef.
  • Vinaigrette: small onion (chopped), small pickle (chopped), 1 tbsp grainy mustard, 6 tbsp apple cider vinegar, 3 tbsp olive oil, 4 tbsp hot broth, parsley and chives (chopped), salt and pepper
  • Curry: juice of half a lemon, 3 tbsp oil, 2 tsp mild curry powder, 2 tbsp plain yogurt, sugar, tumeric (curcuma), salt and pepper to taste. Really good with a simple apple and fennel salad.

Another tip: find out what kind of ratio of acid-oil you like. I’m a 2 part acid (vinegar) – 1 part oil person. Some people do the exact opposite. Whatever floats your boat!

Are you ever going back to buying dressing?

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2 thoughts on “Salad Dressings

  1. I haven’t bought dressing since I left my parents’ house and got married. Come to think of it, I never bought dressing while I was there either (as I did a fair bit of cooking and bought my own groceries). My dad used to make dressing by combining mayo and yogourt with dried mint and lemon juice, but I prefer to use a vinaigrette-type dressing because I’d rather not eat mayo. Usually I just splash on some oil (olive, hemp, flax, etc.) and vinegar (apple cider, balsamic, red/white wine, etc.) but if I’m feeling fancy or having guests over I’ll actually make dressing. Anyway, thanks for the recipes. 🙂

    • You’re welcome! Glad you liked it and if you don’t normally have time to make dressings, whip up a batch and keep in the fridge. Unless you use dairy, it lasts forever-just shake it before use!

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