Make Your Own Salad Dressing
Making your own salad dressing is so easy to do. And it’s much healthier and cheaper than buying an artificial flavor-laden version in the grocery store.
I keep old jars — from mustards, mangoes, salsas, olives — anything of a decent size with a sturdy lid. I put all of the dressing ingredients in a jar and shake them up–no need to whisk or use a blender, which reduces time and dish-washing.
For a simple vinaigrette, start with some chopped shallots and a bit of mustard (depending on the type of salad, Dijon or honey mustard). Add white, red, balsamic or sherry vinegar to the jar, again matching it up with the salad you are making. The vinegar offers the best opportunity to experiment and provide some variety. Next add olive oil (I prefer extra-virgin), a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper. The traditional ratio of oil to vinegar is 3 to 1. I find that it can be 2 to 1 and still get properly emulsified, so find a mix that is right for you and your palate. Shake vigorously and you’ve got a tasty salad dressing. To give it even more flavor, consider adding minced herbs, preferably fresh. In the summer, I take advantage of the basil, mint and oregano in our garden. Cilantro and thyme are good year-round choices.
Finally, think about adding a little cheese to the equation. Crumbling bleu cheese into the jar and shaking it up will make a terrific cobb salad dressing.
Once you get started, you’ll discover that the options are endless and that it’s easy to say good-bye to the “SODIUM LACTATE, MONOSODIUM GLUTAMATE, PHOSPHORIC ACID, XANTHAN GUM, ARTIFICIAL COLOR, POLYSORBATE 60, SPICES, DRIED PARSLEY, LEMON JUICE CONCENTRATE, NATURAL FLAVOR, VITAMIN E, LACTIC ACID, NATAMYCIN ” in the store-bought stuff.