Three recipes for homemade salad dressings, including my favorite salad dressing, a classic vinaigrette, the one I make nearly every day.
Ah, summer salads. What’s not to love about a plate piled high with fresh greens, zucchini, bell peppers, tomatoes, broccoli and cauliflower? Throw chicken breasts on the grill and the meal is complete.
BUTTERMILK BALSAMIC DRESSING is a stock item to keep ready in the fridge nearly year-round. It’s terrific on salads but also works as a pick-me-up for steamed vegetables and grilled meats. You’ll want to use fresh buttermilk and a good balsamic vinegar. And look at the calories – it’s practically a “free” food!
TRADITIONAL BALSAMIC DRESSING is luscious too. But while its ingredients are similar to those of the first dressing, it’s a much different proposition for calorie counters.
MY FAVORITE DRESSING has no recipe, per se, but is a simple concept. For photos and detailed instructions how to make My Favorite Salad Dressing, see how to make salad dressing at A Veggie Venture, my food blog.
For starters, use a garlic press or a fork to mash a garlic clove in a salad bowl. If you prefer a hint of garlic, rub the clove along the bowl’s sides and then discard it; you can also substitute a dollop of a garlic-ginger mixture that’s often found in produce sections near the fresh garlic. Add some salt, then a dollop of a favorite mustard. Pour in a splash of vinegar, any kind. Emulsify these with the fork or a whisk. For a simple dressing, add a double splash of good olive oil and emulsify again. The traditional proportion is one part vinegar to three parts oil but I’ve come to prefer considerably less oil. If you feel exotic, add chopped fresh herbs and/or grated parmesan and then season to taste with fresh pepper. Do experiment: it’s fun and always worth eating.
BUTTERMILK BALSAMIC DRESSING
Hands-on time: 6 minutes
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon honey (warmed to pour more easily)
- 1 tablespoon light mayonnaise
- 1/2 teaspoon basil (crushed)
- 1/2 teaspoon tarragon (crushed)
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
Blend together until smooth and transfer to a sealable glass bottle. Refrigerate overnight to blend flavors.
TRADITIONAL BALSAMIC DRESSING
Hands-on time: 6 minutes
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1-1/2 tablespoons honey (warmed)
- 1-1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1-1/2 - 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 3/4 cup olive oil
Blend all ingredients. If you happen to have a Good Season’s decanter available in grocery stores, add balsamic vinegar to the ‘V’ line; add honey, mustard and garlic powder; then add olive oil to the ‘O’ line. That's all there is to it!
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