When I wrote my post on salad the other day, I pointed out all the bad, sneaky things that can happen when we don’t pay attention to what gets into our salads. Mainly, I picked on dressings. Dressings can, in one dollop, take a salad from being a beautiful pile of healthiness and turn it into an instant junk food. Or they can make it even better, with a little thought.
So, let’s get into healthy dressings. Olive oil is a great base for dressing. Some people love the strong taste of extra-virgin olive oil, others don’t; I personally like the light olive oil better. You may need to take olive oil out of the refrigerator a while before you plan to eat it, if you decide to refrigerate the dressing. It tends to solidify in the cold.
Vinegars are fun, and there is tons of variety. Red wine, white wine, balsamic, apple cider… all are delicious and will add interest to your dressings. Don’t use white distilled vinegar; it’s best saved for cleaning.
Herbs are great additions. Any culinary herb will work, and you can play with variations. Try a basil vinaigrette, and add some dried tomato. Or a rosemary and thyme dressing. Or get crazy and add mint and lemon juice. (Maybe to you that’s not crazy. It sounds super adventurous to me.)
If you want creamy-ness, try this recipe for homemade mayonnaise, and add spices to taste. An Italian herb blend will give you creamy Italian. An avocado and some salsa could make a delicious, creamy, cool dressing for a taco salad, or, made with more avocado and less mayo, could even be a pretty tasty guacamole.
No matter what kind of dressing you make, you’ll need a container. A cruet is great for oil and vinegar recipes; some even have little measuring lines on them to show you how much oil and how much vinegar to put in. Here’s one that’s pretty utilitarian. For thicker dressings, you could even wash out an old mayonnaise jar (glass is better) or use those ever popular Mason jars. Just be sure to get plastic lids, as from what I’ve heard vinegar and metal don’t get along well. You apparently get some sort of weird reaction that creates a disgusting slime.
Now that I’ve thrown a lot of ideas, all healthy, at you, I’m going to start experimenting. That’s why this is part one. Over the next week or two, I’ll be posting some recipes and results; please post your own! If they turn out well I’d love to share them here. (Rules: no cheese or milk, no sugar. Thanks!)
Let the healthy salad adventure begin!