Prep 5 mins Eat 5 mins
Never buy another bottle of salad dressing! Farmers markets are brimming full of the best salad ingredients of the season right now like these heirloom tomatoes. Once you learn how easy it is to make a fresh vinaigrette with lots of variations, you will be on your way to a limitless supply of salad dressings for all your summer salads. Here’s a lesson to get you started.
In our Main Dish Salads class we explored how to make your own vinaigrette without a recipe. I call it the Vinaigrette Lesson – Fresh Food in a Flash style. I rarely or never buy salad dressings in a bottle, when I can make a fresh one so easily. There is no comparison in quality. I know this may sound arrogant, but really, it takes no more than five minutes to make a fresh vinaigrette, so give it a try and it will change your salad making life. All you need are a few ingredients that are probably already in your pantry.
I created a simple grid to help students with creating their own vinaigrette. There are basically three to four components to every vinaigrette. The fat (generally an oil), the acid (like vinegar or lemon juice) the flavorings (like garlic, honey or mustard), the seasonings (like salt & pepper or herbs).
For example, you could create a raspberry vinaigrette by combining olive oil, a champagne or red vinegar, strained raspberry juice, and an herb like basil. Fresh herbs really make a big difference. If you have fennel growing in your garden, harvest the seeds when they are green. This is an amazing herb that is soft for only a day or two, before it hardens and lands in your spice jar.
The next consideration is the ratio of oil to acid. Old school vinaigrettes contain three parts oil to one part vinegar, but most people today prefer a ratio of two to one, unless you have a really biting acid like an inexpensive balsamic vinegar. If you are on a diet, you may be trying to eliminate fat, so you could replace some of the fat with flavor ingredients like a vegetable or chicken stock or a fresh juice like apple or orange juice. The Dijon mustard, mayonnaise or an egg in your vinaigrette acts as an emulsifier, meaning when you shake or whisk your dressing, it will hold together instead of separate.
Experiment and find out what you like or what will go well with the ingredients in your salad. You will be surprised at what you have on hand already. Bragg Products founded by Patricia Bragg’s father in 1912, sent me a few of our salad ingredients after I got to know about their health story at Camp Blogaway. The raw & unfiltered apple cider vinegar is one of their most popular products and the Liquid Aminos is a natural soy sauce and tamari alternative that is promoted as a healthy all purpose seasoning.
Try making your own vinaigrette tonight. You could drizzle a simple olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper vinaigrette on a Caprese Salad of heirloom tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and fresh basil. Any salad will love a basic vinaigrette with olive oil, red wine vinegar and Dijon mustard or do something more elaborate. Here’s some links to some of my popular salad recipes.
Red and Green Salad
Bibb and Arugula Salad with Pecorino Romano
Caesar Brussels Sprouts
Southwestern Quinoa Salad
Crab and Avocado Salad
Cucumber Ribbon Salad
Italian Farro Salad
Green Papaya Salad
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 pinch salt & pepper to taste
1. Mix all ingredients together in a salad dressing shaker or in a bowl.
Servings: 8 61 calories per serving