I no longer buy salad dressings, except for the occasional bottle of Blue Cheese or Roquefort.
I have a loose “little-bit-of-this-and-that” formula for an easy, delicious, healthy vinaigrette that you can tailor to your taste.
Here’s what I use:
One fresh lemon (please do not use lemon juice concentrate)
A shallot or garlic cloves – one or two depending on your taste
Fresh ground pepper
Dijon mustard – preferably Maille
Red wine vinegar
Herbs de Provence
Honey or agave nectar (or a little Truvia for sugar-free)
Good quality olive oil
Balsamic vinegar (optional)
Stone ground mustard (optional)
Mince your garlic or shallot into very small chunks and put it into a bowl or pitcher. Start with small amounts of the following ingredients as you can always add more later:
Two teaspoons of Dijon mustard and stone ground mustard (if using), a teaspoon of honey, agave or a little Truvia, a pinch of salt, fresh pepper, a little bit of herbs de Provence, and a squeeze of lemon. Mix together. Add about 1/2 cup of red wine vinegar, then 1/2 cup of olive oil. Whisk until emulsified.
Now taste it. Is it too vinegary and harsh? Add more mustard and a little honey or agave. Is it too oily? Add more lemon and vinegar. Sometimes I will add red wine or even water if it’s too strong.
When you’ve got a vinaigrette that suits your palate, put it in a bottle. Hopefully you have a recycled bottle. But if you don’t, buy a cute one at a thrift store, Cost Plus or a restaurant supply for a couple of dollars.
Eventually, the label got oily. Instead of throwing it out, I removed the label and kept the bottle. Years later, it is regularly used to keep my vinaigrette.
Once you’ve got the dressing into the bottle (I use a funnel), shake it well to emulsify again. Store in the refrigerator.
I was motivated to write about making homemade dressings by Tuesday’s eye-opening post by Parisienne Farmgirl. I urge you to read all ten items on her list. Numbers 5, 6,and 7 got me thinking about all the factory-produced, ‘fake’ food we buy that is full of chemicals. We don’t need and don’t want to be putting this crap into our bodies.
If you need proof, go to your pantry or refrigerator and grab your bottles and jars of salad dressing. Then, read the ingredient list.
I, “Mrs. I-make-my-own-dressing,” found two store-bought containers of dressing in my kitchen yesterday: Marie’s Premium Super Blue Cheese and an expired Wish-Bone Salad Spritzers, Ranch vinaigrette dressing.
Marie’s ingredients are all natural and contain, among other things, buttermilk, blue cheese, vinegar, sour cream and whole egg. Not bad for store-bought.
Then there’s Wish-Bone.
Wish-Bone contains, among other things, corn syrup, colors added, MSG, Propylene Glycol Alginate, Calcium Disodium EDTA, Sorbic Acid, Sodium Benzoate and Phosphoric Acid.
Wouldn’t you rather take ten minutes to prepare fresh, healthy salad dressing?
- You control the ingredients
- It’s cost effective – store-bought dressings are expensive!
- It’s green – fewer bottles purchased means fewer bottles in landfills or recycle.
- You determine the flavor
- It’s fresh
- It tastes better!