Friday, August 24, 2012

Homemade Salad Dressing

Do you make your own salad dressing? In accordance with #5 on this list, I have to tell you that it's so easy. Really!

This morning on the train, while looking through the latest issue of Bon Appetit, I noticed this article for Creamy Dijon Vinaigrette.

While I don't have Dijon mustard at home, I always have some type of mustard and I plan to make my own version of this recipe eventually. I love Trader Joe's Aioli Garlic Mustard.

I used to buy salad dressing, but for the last several years, I only make my own. Before I stopped buying it, I was having a very difficult time finding what I wanted and it seemed to be getting so expensive. The dressings had a lot of sodium too.

Someone told me that it I should just make my own.  After I tried it, I couldn't believe it had taken me so long and realized how much money I wasted over the years.

There are a ton of ways to make salad dressing. For something plain, just mix equal parts oil and vinegar with a bit of salt and pepper and maybe a bit of sugar.

It's up to you the type of oil and vinegars to use. There are so many variations of both. The possibilities are endless. For a creamier dressing, add mustard and use honey instead of sugar. Play with the flavors and textures.

I usually make a creamy dressing and use mayonnaise and sometimes a bit of Greek yogurt as my base. I like a sweet dressing, so recently instead of honey, I started adding jam, jelly, or marmalade to get the sweetness along with a fruity flavor. Add balsamic vinegar, then whisk those together in a medium bowl with a bit of salt, pepper, and any other seasonings that you like. Keep tasting to see how you like it.

Maybe add a bit of ground basil and garlic powder. I've been adding poppy seeds too. If the dressing is too thick, but the flavor is strong enough, I add a bit of water to thin it out. If it's too thin and maybe too tart, because you used too much vinegar, add more mayo and more jam or honey.

For me, the perfect dressing has that perfect balance of tart and sweet, which will enhance the flavors of a salad. It also has to be thick enough to cling to the greens. I can't stand runny dressing!

I store the dressing in a glass bottle that used to hold vinegar and then store it in the refrigerator. Depending upon how many salads we eat, one bottle usually lasts a week or two. My favorite vinegar to use is Trader Joe's Gourmet Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar, but they run out sometimes and I haven't had it in a while. It's way cheaper in the store than the price on the link.

Anyway... . Making salad dressing really lets you get creative in the kitchen. Stock up on different oils, vinegars, mustards, and jams, so you can always whip up something new easily and quickly.

Do you think you'll try it?

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Nance said...

I never buy salad dressing. I make my own vinaigrette, but don't ever use a one to one ratio, vinegar to oil. I always use two to one, oil to vinegar. I like to use extra virgin California Estate from Trader Joe's and also TJ's balsamic. I also make an Asian dressing by switching out balsamic for rice wine and mirin, and subbing regular canola or safflower oil and a bit of toasted sesame for the olive oil. Grate in some fresh ginger and add a splash of soy and your dressing is done!

El said...

I'm glad you posted this. I needed a good dijon recipe. Looks great!

SharleneT said...

When I was raising my family, I made all my own salad dressings because you can make them exactly as you want them to taste. My husband loved bleu cheese and I humbly submit that I made the World's greatest bleu cheese dressing. (Well,that's what he said and he never lied...) Don't use too much dressing, nowadays, just a little lemon juice, salt and pepper. Can't remember the last time I bought a bottle... You'll never go back. Just sayin'... come visit when you can.

Lisa Johnson said...

nance - I hear so much about rice wine, but I've never bought it. I'll have to get some. I like the grated ginger suggestion too. Thanks!

el - Glad you could use it!

sharlene - You're so right about never going back! Now it would feel very bizarre to buy salad dressing.

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