Why Did The Tomato Blush?
(It saw the salad dressing! lol) That out of the way, let’s talk about salad dressing. This is one bottled ingredient that I never buy because I don’t ever think it tastes good. It’s so easy to make dozens of varieties and some of them last for months, so it’s not like you need to keep making it weekly.
I’m not a big salad lover actually so for me it is all about having a variety of texture in the ingredients and, more importantly, an incredible dressing. I usually make dressings in the blender because I love when they remain emulsified. I have a bullet style blender for this, but a stick blender or traditional blenders work well too. Or use a jar and shake it up. I store them in jars in the fridge.
Good dressings or vinaigrettes are also speedy sauces for roasted veggies, sheet pan dinners, roast chicken or fish, and grain salad.
I’ve put together a choose your own adventure dressing list. The basic idea is to have 1 part acid to 2-3 parts fat (classically, vinegar and oil respectively. If you want to use less oil, you can cut that with water). Then choose between 2-5 other ingredients from the rest of the list. My favorites are at the bottom to get you started.
Let me know what you make! Post to facebook or instagram and tag me @endsandstems
Acid (1 part: example ¼ cup) – dressings must be tangy! The acid gives that mouth watering feeling
Lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit, any type of vinegar you like, tomato juice
Salty (only a dash!: example ½-1 teaspoon) – salt makes everything balanced and taste more like itself.
Salt, soy sauce, bacon crumbles, miso paste, braggs aminos, olives, capers, anchovy
Emulsifiers (A bigger dash: example 1-2 teaspoons) – help bind the dressing into a smooth, homogeneous mixture, though some will always separate, just shake and serve.
Dijon mustard, yellow mustard, whole grain mustard, tomato paste, tahini, mayo, honey (omit from sweetness then!)
Sweetness (only a dash!: example ½-1 teaspoon)- makes the acid more rounded and enjoyable
Honey, brown sugar, white sugar, maple syrup, agave, whole fruit – like pear or strawberry, raspberry in the blender, spoon of jam if going fruit based, an avocado
Fat (2-3 parts: example ½-¾ cup) – a must have in dressings, gives “mouthfeel” and pulls it all together.
Good quality olive oil, neural oil – canola or vegetable, avocado oil, coconut oil
Creamy (1-2 parts: example ¼-½ cup)- optional, but is a good way to find variety
Cream, buttermilk, mayo, half/half, yogurt, peanut butter, tahini, coconut milk, avocado, egg (aka caesar), hard boiled egg (aka sauce gribiche)
Seasoning (variable, to taste, but start small) – optional but adding these in will give you even more variety
Herbs (anything. Dill, basil, thyme, rosemary), spices (paprika, cumin, coriander, 5 spice, garlic powder, onion powder).
Whole garlic, chopped onion or shallot, Capers, olives, Toasted or raw nuts, fruit, tomatoes, this list could go on and on!
Here are some of my favorites:
Greek Lemon Garlic – red wine vinegar, raw garlic, salt, dried oregano, olive oil
Herb Buttermilk “Ranch” – cider vinegar, mayo, dijon, buttermilk, white sugar, garlic, fresh herbs like chives, dill, and/or basil, vegetable oil
Make it Green – blend a bunch of parsley and or an avocado to that and an anchovy
Tahini – lemon and cider vinegar, tahini, maple syrup, garlic, shallot, turmeric, water, olive oil
“Asian” Peanut – rice vinegar, honey, soy sauce, little peanut butter, brown sugar, garlic, fresh ginger, canola oil, finish with sesame seeds, sriracha, scallions
Basic Balsamic – balsamic, honey, mustard, shallot, water, olive oil, salt
Health Nut – almonds, basil, rice vinegar, teensy bit honey, water, salt, olive oil