I am on a mission to get people to stop using bottled salad dressings with their inferior ingredients and sugars and all. You can make your own homemade dressings and store them in the fridge for days or weeks. It’s a great way to get creative in the kitchen.
Why, you may ask, have I taken on such a mission? Well, here’s the reason – homemade salad dressing is easy to make and it is 100 times better than anything that comes in a bottle.
Get Creative with Ingredients
The creative part of making your own is that you can experiment with using different oils and vinegars to get different flavor enhancements for your salads. For example, when I make a spinach salad, I like a little bit sweeter, fruity dressing. So I use a raspberry, cherry or pomegranate vinegar and add some extra mustard to the dressing for a little zip to balance the sweet.
When I make tuna or salmon salad, I like to use fresh lemon juice instead of vinegar, and add lots of fresh garlic. Sometimes I use a citrus infused olive oil as well.
For a steak salad, which I love, I add some crumbled blue cheese to the dressing. Follow the basic recipe and then add herbs, fruit, nuts, cheese or whatever sounds good for your salad.
The Basic Recipe
2-5 garlic cloves (according to taste)
¼ tsp both salt and pepper
1 tsp dry mustard or Dijon mustard
1/3 to 1/2 cup vinegar (use one kind or a variety of vinegars or juices)
1 cup olive oil
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh herbs of your choice (parsley, thyme, basil, etc)
In a glass jar, press garlic cloves so they are mashed in the bottom of the jar. Use a garlic press for best results.
Sprinkle in salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Now put whatever vinegar (or citrus juices) you want to use.
Add herbs, if you’re using any.
Put the lid on the jar and shake to mix all the ingredients.
Add in the olive oil, put the lid back on and shake vigorously.
There you have it; the basic homemade salad dressing.
Variety in Flavor
The fun part is interchanging different oils, vinegars, herbs and flavors. Sometimes I use walnut oil or peanut oil when I want a slightly different flavor. I have even used avocado oil for a dressing for salmon salad. It was fabulous.
Using Kitchen Gadgets
I have discovered a little tip that I’ll share with you. At a kitchen store you can buy a little battery-operated device for about $12 that is used for frothing milk for coffee drinks. The one I have is called “Bonjour Caffe Froth Turbo” (model 7025). I have used it for years and it is the best thing for mixing salad dressing in a jar.
Once you’ve mixed the liquid ingredients and herbs, slowly pour in the olive oil while running the frothing device. It emulsifies the ingredients, so you won’t have the separation of oil and vinegar. It’s the best!
How to Store
I make the dressing in a glass jar, then store it in the fridge and it keeps well for up to two weeks. Just shake it again when you’re ready to use it.
When making your own salad dressing you get to be creative. Let’s hear what combinations you’re trying.
Do you buy your salad dressing from the store, or do you make one yourself? Do you have specific combinations you prefer for different salads? What are your best tips for homemade salad dressing? Let’s exchange recipes!