Salad Dressing 101
Commercial salad dressings contain some pretty scary ingredients including partially hydrogenated oils, GMO oils, preservatives, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), colours and artificial sweeteners. You also don’t know how long they have travelled from manufacturer to store and sat on the store shelf so very likely contain rancid oil.
Making your own salad dressing is quick, easy, you know exactly what is in it and you can tailor them to your own specific tastes. You also make a small amount to use when you need it so your fridge door isn’t full of half used condiments.
Oil is often the main ingredient. Use a good quality oil, preferably organic. Most often olive oil is used but you can use other oils or blends of oils. Safflower, grapeseed and canola will give you a lighter flavour, nut and sesame oils will have a more noticeable flavour in your dressing.
Acids like vinegars and citrus are also often used in basic dressings and vinaigrettes.
The basic ratio for a simple vinaigrette is 1 part acid to 3 parts oil – but you can change this ratio to suit your own tastes.
Add some salt and pepper, shake it up in a jar and there you have your basic vinaigrette.
Jazzing it Up
You can add a variety of herbs, spices, shallots and other ingredients to vary your basic vinaigrette. Honey or maple syrup add some sweetness.
Always try to complement your dressing to your greens so you don’t overpower their flavour. Lighter greens like butter lettuce need a simpler, lighter dressing, but more bitter greens can take a sharper, bolder dressing.
Dressing your Salad
The number one rule is to always add your dressing or vinaigrette to your salad just before serving. Leaving the salad sitting in dressing for too long can make your salad soggy. Nobody likes soggy salad.