Salad dressing is one of those food items that is probably not any more difficult to make than it is to buy, but the homemade version is so much better for you and less expensive!
Bottled salad dressing have preservatives and other undesirable chemicals in them. By making them at home you are eliminating those chemicals and you have ultimate control over the flavor. Dressings are easy to store and make as long as you have a mason jar or two on hand.
Also, did you know that you need to eat some fat along with your veggies to help you absorb many of the nutrients in them? That is why low-fat salad dressings are never a good idea!
My favorite salad dressing is a balsamic vinaigrette and takes less than 3 minutes to make when you make it the "hard way." The secret ingredient to any salad dressing is an emulsifier, which is simply something that helps two things that don't normally mix very well (oil and vinegar) mix. In almost any vinaigrette, mustard serves this purpose well.
The "hard way" is whisking everything together by hand, the easy way is to put it all in a jar and shake it.
Here's my basic balsamic vinaigrette recipe:
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- ¾ cup olive oil
- salt and pepper
- In a small bowl mix the mustard and the balsamic vinegar well.
- Add salt and pepper to taste
- Slowly add the olive oil to the vinegar and mustard while whisking with a fork or small whisk.
Don't worry if you are unsure of attempting your own salad dressing, when I make this dressing I almost never measure (#confessionsofanonmeasurer ) and it comes out great 100% of the time.
If you don't like balsamic vinegar, you can replace it with any type of vinegar or acid you like: lemon juice, lime juice, red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, etc. The ideal ratio of acid/vinegar to oil is 1 part vinegar to 3 parts oil.
Here are some other very simple salad dressing recipes:
Honey Mustard Dressing: 2 teaspoons honey, 2 teaspoons dijon mustard, 1/4 cup lime juice, 3/4 cup olive oil
Creamy Italian Dressing: 1/4 cup mayo, 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons sour cream, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, 1 garlic clove, salt and pepper. Blend in blender until mixed well.
Caesar Dressing: 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 2 tablespoons may, 1/2 cup olive oil, 5 garlic cloves, 1 tablespoon dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Blend lemon juice, garlic, and mustard in a blender. Add mayo and blend again. Then, slowly add the olive oil while the blender is running. Season with salt and pepper.
Asian Vinaigrette: 3 tablespoons rice vinegar, 1 large piece of peeled fresh ginger, 2/3 cup olive oil, 1 tablespoons sesame oil, salt and pepper. Grate or finely chop the ginger. Whisk rice vinegar and ginger together. Continue whisking and add olive oil and sesame oil. Season with salt and pepper.