3 Essential Salad Dressings

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3 Essential Salad Dressings

3 Essential Salad Dressings and Tips for Making Good Salads- FALL IN LOVE WITH SALAD!

My philosophy on dieting and eating is to get married instead of getting divorced.

When we focus on breaking up with foods we are passionately in love with, we are setting ourselves up for relapse and heart break. When we allow ourselves to fall deeply, madly in love with foods that we don’t ever have to break up with, we set ourselves up for a long, happy marriage.

Okay, enough with my analogy. I don’t even know what I’m talking about anymore.

My point is, instead of focusing on what we have to eliminate from our diets, let’s be motivated by all the wonderful things we can learn to ADD to our daily food intake.

Really good salads can be a wonderful dietary staple to fall in love with.

3 Essential Salad Dressings and Tips for Making Good Salads- FALL IN LOVE WITH SALAD!

Let’s talk about SALAD…

Salad can be incredibly boring or it can be a fully satisfying culinary experience. Stale lettuce with a dull dressing can be a disappointing waste of calories that actually intensifies your craving for a substantial, sugar-or-bread-filled binge. Or, the perfect balance of tastes- sweet, salty, bitter and sour- can be extremely satisfying!

Salad can also be incredibly TOXIC. You heard me. Toxic.

If you aren’t willing to buy quality, organic produce and make your own dressing from scratch, then SKIP THE SALAD! Seriously.

A salad made up of non-organic delicate vegetables and fruits will be loaded with carcinogenic (meaning cancer-causing) pesticides. I could go on and on about why you need to avoid pre-made salad dressings- including the flavor packets that you add your own oil, vinegar or sour cream to. But long story short is that no matter what, that stuff always has processed vegetable oils and some form of MSG (monosodium glutamate, or free glutamic acid). Refer to this post on 10 Dumbest Foods To Eat to learn more about those dietary dangers. 

3 Essential Salad Dressings and Tips for Making Good Salads- FALL IN LOVE WITH SALAD!

Homemade Dressing: The Key to Falling In Love

If hormones are the “secret sauce” to a passionate love affair, then an amazing dressing is the “secret sauce” for a love affair with your salad.

(Wow, I just can’t let go, can I?)

It is SO EASY to make your own dressing- and these homemade versions will kick the pants off of any junk you buy pre-made. So let me introduce you to my favorite weekly salad dressings and hopefully you will fall in love.

I like to make these dressings at the beginning of the week and keep them in mason jars. I also try to pre-chop and prepare different salad ingredients. Depending on the mood (or availability), you pick the dressing you want with your salad. It can be a super fast meal or snack if everything is ready to assemble. Of course you can also use these dressings as dip for veggies and fruit, or even meat and cheese! (Yes, I dip cheese slices in dressing. It is quite good.)

These recipes are so versatile, too! The flavor options for my Creamy Herb Dressing are as vast as there are herbs and spices! When you know how to make my Basic Vinaigrette you’ll be able to customize it with any herb, spice or fruit you can imagine would taste good.

You can use these recipes to make almost any favorite restaurant or store-bought dressing!

 

Creamy Herb Dressing

3 Essential Salad Dressings and Tips for Making Good Salads- FALL IN LOVE WITH SALAD!

3 Essential Salad Dressings and Tips for Making Good Salads- FALL IN LOVE WITH SALAD!

1 bunch of fresh herb leaves, such as basil, flat-leaf parsley or cilantro
2-4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground pepper
dash of ground spices of choice (optional)
zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup sour cream
2-4 tablespoons heavy cream, as needed

Place herbs, garlic, salt, pepper, optional spices, lemon zest and juice, vinegar and oil into a food processor and puree until smooth. Evenly mix herb puree with sour cream and as much cream as is needed to achieve the desired consistency. Season, as needed, with salt and pepper then serve or store for up to one week refrigerated in an airtight container.

Zesty Blue Cheese Dressing

3 Essential Salad Dressings and Tips for Making Good Salads- FALL IN LOVE WITH SALAD!

1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese
1 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup sour cream
2-4 tablespoons heavy cream, as needed

Place blue cheese, honey, vinegar, lemon zest and juice, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl an whisk until blended with only small chunks of cheese left. Whisk in olive oil until smooth. Evenly mix in sour cream and enough heavy cream as is needed to achieve the desired consistency. Season, as needed, with salt and pepper, then serve or store for up to one week refrigerated in an airtight container.

Basic Vinaigrette (For ANY Flavor Customization!)

3 Essential Salad Dressings and Tips for Making Good Salads- FALL IN LOVE WITH SALAD!

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/4 cup red wine vinegar, white balsamic vinegar, lemon juice or any other vinegar you desire
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
Optional: 1/2 cup puree of herbs, puree of berries, or other fruit, spice or flavor addition you think up!

Place mustard, honey, salt, pepper and vinegar/lemon juice in a mixing bowl and whisk until evenly blended. While whisking, drop olive oil into the mixture in a very small steady stream until the mixture emulsifies, or thickens. Once the dressing is emulsified (as seen glazed on the back of the spoon in the photo), add oil in a heavier stream, while whisking, until all the oil is added. Stir in optional desired additional flavor puree. Season, as needed, with salt and pepper, then serve immediately or store refrigerated for up to two weeks in an airtight container.

 

A Few Ideas For Building A Good Salad

This isn’t a salad recipe post, but I typically like to build salads with these basic building blocks. Not all steps are necessary for a salad, either! Skip the lettuces and use grilled or roasted vegetables!

  1. Lettuces, either one kind or a blend for different tastes, textures and colors.
  2. A punch of flavor using thinly sliced green onions, shallots, chives or whole herb leaves.
  3. Fruit or sweet vegetables. I love to add pomegranate seeds, berries, thinly sliced apples or pears, fresh cherry tomato slices, or grilled corn freshly sliced off the cob.
  4. Cheese, such as crumbled feta, farmer’s cheese, freshly shaved parmesan or sheep’s milk cheese.
  5. Crunch, such as nuts, thinly sliced root vegetables or cucumbers, raw mushroom slices or even freshly cooked and cooled whole grains like quinoa. Homemade croutons are easy and delicious- saute little cubes of bread in butter and garlic. Boom!
  6. A protein to make the salad a complete meal, such as hard-boiled eggs, roasted meat, fresh or marinated sushi-grade raw fish pieces.
  7. Dressing!

 Here are a few salad recipes I’ve posted:

Pomegranate Salad with Toasted Pumpkin Seed Vinaigrette
Roasted Corn, Tomato, Sweet Onion and Salmon Salad with Creamy Herb Dressing
Fresh and Light Spring Salad
Vegetable Quinoa Salad with Chicken Option

 

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