homemade salad dressing : it doesn’t get better, or easier

13 Jan

I’ve been craving leafy greens and salads of all types lately. By no means a New Year’s resolution to eat healthier, salad is my go-to food these days. The other night, we had leftovers of chicken tikka masala and I just couldn’t do it. Granted, it was delicious the night prior, but I wanted something with a bit more color to it- specifically, green. In a state of complete laziness (I resolved to become more lazy. So far, pretty successful.) and unwillingness to run to the grocery store for salad ingredients, Sean hopped in the car and ran to Panera to get one of my all-time favorite salads: the Fuji apple chicken salad. God, that salad is good. Even, I admit, the salad dressing.

If I order a salad, I’m usually ok with the dressing that accompanies the salad, though I ask for it on the side. There’s something about others’ dressings that puts me in a state of judgment until I take a little teeny lick of a sample first. Salad dressing has me wary all the time, much like mayonnaise. At least with this Panera salad, I know the dressing will be good, but I still need to taste it before I pour on my salad. I just know this craziness is why Sean loves me.

On that note, I absolutely abhor buying salad dressing. It’s expensive, tastes of wretched chemicals and often goes to waste months and months after its one-time use, taking up precious real estate in my fridge condiment-door.

Armed with Olivia’s organic spring mix with herbs (my all-time favorite salad mix), pears, pine nuts, craisins, feta cheese and celery, I made my own damn salad last night. With my own damn salad dressing. You of course could put anything you wanted on your salad, but as long as there’s a touch of fruit, some nuts and a crunch from a veggie, you’re good. This time of year especially, citrus is your best go-to. Try grapefruit, blood orange or navel oranges thinly sliced atop your salad.

It’s so simple and takes nothing more than 3 minutes to make your own dressing. You know exactly what’s going in it, you know it’s going to taste fresh and you know you can tell your dinner guests confidently, “I made it.”

Be it a resolution to eat healthy, explore your talents in the kitchen, cut costs by making your own foods or just to eat higher quality ingredients, I encourage you all to start making your own dressings for your salads.

I’ve previously blogged a salad dressing recipe here, but the one I made last night is even simpler and equally delicious.

From Cucina’s Festive Mixed Greens recipe, the dressing (page 39, Savor the Memories)

4 tablespoons pear, raspberry or other fruit-flavored vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil (olive oil is often to heavy for this dressing)

For dressing, combine the vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Whisk in the oil, until incorporated. Pour evenly over salad and serve at once. Serves 6 to 8.

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5 Responses to “homemade salad dressing : it doesn’t get better, or easier”

  1. Megan Luisa Longo January 19, 2012 at 10:57 am #

    Sarah taught me how to make this dressing several years ago, and it’s still the only thing I put on my salads at home. Served with baby spinach and sliced pear or strawberries, a nut variety and any kind of soft cheese, it’s a winner.

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