Four Delicious Homemade Salad Dressings

Homemade Salad Dressing

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Here’s a quick recipe for a perfect salad:

  1. Fill a chilled bowl filled with crisp greens, chopped crunchy veggies, tomatoes when in season, sliced pickled beets and a handful of nuts or canned beans.
  2. Add a small amount of a simple dressing that allows the flavors of the vegetables to be the star.
  3. Toss to combine.

When it comes to salad, lots of savvy people are stuck in a dressing rut. They take fresh greens and douse them with a store-bought dressing that was prepared months ago. Most store-bought dressings come with big doses of sugar and salt, preservatives, and even MSG. Not to mention unnecessary extra calories.

These are all good reasons to make your own. I’ve never been partial to the cloying sweetness and viscous texture of purchased dressings, but reading the ingredients makes me even more a champion of homemade. And some dressings are so simple they don’t need a recipe.

My go-to dressing involves squeezing fresh lemon juice over the greens, adding a few splashes of a favorite olive oil (mine is California Olive Ranch), and sprinkling in a little Fleur de Sel.

Another option: Chop a few cherry tomatoes and toss them in a bowl. Add a big splash of white vinegar, a small splash of olive oil, a few chopped herbs or a shallot, and salt and pepper to taste. Allow to sit while you assemble the salad.

If you prefer recipes, here are a few of my favorites. Store them in a small jar with a lid.

Simple Italian Salad Dressing

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a jar and shake.  Keep refrigerated.

Honey Mustard Salad Dressing

  • ¼ cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey or agave nectar
  • 2 teaspoons grainy mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Place all ingredients in a jar and shake.  Keep refrigerated.

Citrus Basil Salad Dressing

  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Handful chopped basil

Place all ingredients in a jar and shake.  Keep refrigerated.

Lemon-Ginger Light Salad Dressing

  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons gingerroot, peeled and finely grated
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sesame oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a jar and shake.  Keep refrigerated.

About the author: Alice Stern loves to eat. And cook. And share recipes. After working in Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto, she taught cooking classes to both adults and children, is the author or two self-published cookbooks, and wrote the food column for her local newspaper. She lives with her husband and dog in northern California.

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