A good dressing absolutely makes a salad. If you love the dressing, salad consumption is a magical thing–every single leaf becomes a pleasurable bite. If the dressing is boring, cloying, or too vinegary, eating salads start to feel like a chore.
Like (almost) everything else in the world, it’s healthier to make salad dressings yourself. Even dressings that promise to be low-fat, low-sodium, vegan. organic, and so on are usually crowded with additives and flavorings that you don’t wanna mess with. Plus, is anyone else freaked out by pre-made creamy dressings that aren’t refrigerated? Weird.
If you have a blender, a food processor, or a Magic Bullet, you can whip up one or two different dressings at the beginning of the week, and store in the fridge for the week’s salads. You can also use a whisk or a fork for dressings that don’t have large components (like nuts) that need to be broken down. There’s almost no prep time necessary for these recipes; it’s more a matter of throwing delicious things into something that blends, and pouring the smooth, creamy result into a jar.
3 parts oil to one part acid, + add-ins.
flax seed oil
hemp seed oil
walnut, pecan, peanut, hazelnut, and other nut oils
orange or grapefruit juice
apple cider vinegar
rice wine vinegar
white wine vinegar
fancier vinegars: champagne, herb-infused, etc.
For creamy dressings
cashews, soaked in water for 20ish minutes beforehand
red, green, or yellow pepper
mustard (any kind)
jalapeno or other spicy element
peanut butter (for Asian-inspired dressings)
flax, chia, or hemp seeds
salt and pepper
Some Recipes (for Guidance)
Basic Italian Vinaigrette
Whisk or blend together the following ingredients:
3 parts extra virgin olive oil
1 part balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
fresh or dried oregano to taste
fresh or dried basil to taste
Creamy Vegan Caesar Dressing
This recipe from Positively Vegan utilizes cashews, garlic, nutritional yeast to get the creamy, cheesy flavor of a classic Caesar dressing, without the anchovies.
Soy-Garlic Asian Dressing
3/4 c. olive oil
1/4 c. rice vinegar
3 cloves garlic
2 tbsp. fresh ginger
1/2 c. soy sauce
honey to taste (depending on how sweet you like it)
water (if it’s too thick)
Need some help eating your greens? Check out How to Love a Salad.
photo attribute: Dan S.