Salads get a bad rap, and that just isn't right. How many times have you heard a salad be referred to as rabbit food? Hardly! All that bland bowl of lettuce needs is a little liquid love, and that's exactly where salad dressings come in. Check out these tips for tons of easy dressings.
Vinaigrettes are a standard emulsion of oil and vinegar that seem to perfectly complement a salad. Creating your own vinaigrette is extremely easy once you learn the golden ratio of 3:1. For every one part of vinegar, add three parts oil. After that, everything is personal taste.
- Want an Italian dressing? Add a package of Italian seasoning to your basic vinaigrette.
- Want something sweeter? Use balsamic or raspberry vinegar instead.
- Using rice wine vinegar gives Asian salads an authentic kick.
- Adding a citrus juice, such as lemon or lime to a vinaigrette can help provide a tart, fruity aspect that works well with salads that have proteins like chicken in them.
- Adding ketchup to a basic vinaigrette can create a great house French dressing recipe that is sure to please your people.
Love creamy dressings? Grab your favorite brand of buttermilk, and just add spices. For example, adding a packet of ranch spices to buttermilk makes a fantastic homemade ranch dressing.
But don't think you have to stop there. Adding a package of Italian seasoning creates a smooth, Italian dressing. Crumbling a little bacon, chives, and adding a splash of sesame oil will give you a smoky dressing that is to die for!
Just make sure that you chill these dressings before serving, they really are best cold.
Lower Fat Alternatives
What's the point of eating a salad if it's just going to be loaded with fat or oil from a favorite salad dressing? Here are some fantastic tips for keeping salad dressings delicious while keeping them much healthier than a dressing riddled with oil.
Replace oil with something more nutritious. Because oil has been stripped from everything but fat, it's not bringing much to the party nutrition wise. Substituting out the oil for blended nuts, seeds, avocado or olives will bring flavor, as well as essential vitamins to the table. After all, you want to feel good about what you're eating, right?
Like it thick?
A trip to your local specialty food store or your favorite search engine should help you locate thickeners. Xanthan and guar gum are possibilities that many people have turned to. These might prove a little tricky to use at first, so you might want to try chia or flax seeds instead. Both provide a thickening effect when blended into liquids, and both contain Omega-3 fatty acids.
Want a dressing that bites back?
Adding Dijon mustard will give a salad dressing a nice kick. Just remember to start out slow and build up to the level of intensity that you like.
Love sweet summer salads?
Pick a favorite salad dressing and replace the oil with your favorite fruit juice, such as orange or pomegranate juice.
Vegan? Vegetarian? Just looking to cut the fat out of dressings?
Use silken tofu or vegan yogurt in place of mayonnaise or buttermilk.
And here you thought you had no options for boring old salads! Now, take your new-found knowledge and make yourself a salad fit for Caesar. Got any of your own tips and tricks for the tasty stuff? Feel free to add your favorite salad dressing tips in the comments, and don't forget to rate the recipes you try.
Salad Dressing Recipes to Get You Started
Pear Salad with Creamy Vinaigrette
Garden Salad with Honey French Dressing
Crunchy Asian Pasta Salad with Soy Sauce Dressing