Mastering a Homemade Salad Dressing
Mastering anything takes practice, but we’ll give you the knowledge and know-how to start practicing with confidence. Making a dressing from fresh ingredients can be really simple and means you’ll have flavorful food without preservatives, artificial colors and flavors, or excess sugar.
At it’s simplest, a vinaigrette is 1 part acid—either vinegar or citrus juice—to 3 parts oil. After you get that ratio down, the possibilities for personalizing are infinite.
First consider how many acid and oil combinations you could try. For example, sherry vinegar + olive oil for a light Mediterranean base or rice vinegar + orange juice + sesame oil for an Asian-inspired flare. Now factor in all the possible flavors from fresh herbs, spices, and sweeteners, and the sky is the limit.
When you’re ready to start mixing and matching, keep in mind that oil and vinegar naturally separate. An immersion blender or food processor can help make your vinaigrette more stable, but whisking by hand just before serving is fine too.
Golden Beet, Ginger, Turmeric Vinaigrette
Makes about 2-1/2 cups | Serving size: 2 tablespoons
|12 ounces fresh golden beets (about 3-4 small beets, may substitute red beets)|
|1/4 cup + 1-1/2 teaspoons canola oil, divided|
|1/2 cup apple cider vinegar|
|1/4 cup orange juice|
|2 tablespoons freshly minced ginger|
|1-1/2 tablespoons honey|
|1/2 teaspoon turmeric|
|3/4 teaspoon salt|
|1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper|
- Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Remove stems from beets and scrub clean. Toss with 1-1/2 teaspoons canola oil then wrap each beet individually with olive oil. Place on a baking sheet and cook until very tender, about 1 hour. Cool and peel beets.
- Transfer peeled beets to a food processor and add vinegar, orange juice, ginger, honey, turmeric, salt, and cayenne. Blend until smooth. While blending, stream in remaining 1/4 cup canola oil.
- Refrigerate up to 1 week.
Nutrition info per serving: 40 calories, 3 g fat, <0.5 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 80 mg sodium, 3.5 g carbohydrates, <0.5 g fiber, 3 g sugar, <0.5 g protein
Blueberry, Honey, Lime Vinaigrette
Makes about 2 cups | Serving size: 2 tablespoons
|1/4 cup fresh blueberries|
|1/3 cup honey|
|1 teaspoon salt|
|1 teaspoon minced garlic|
|1 teaspoon chopped basil|
|2/3 cup canola oil|
|1/3 cup fresh pressed lime juice|
- Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until fully incorporated with a smooth consistency.
- Refrigerate up to 1 week.
Nutrition info per serving: 105 calories, 9 g fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 115 mg sodium, 6.5 g carbohydrates, 0 g fiber, 6 g sugar, 0 g protein
Making Creamy Dressing
Creamy dressings are vinaigrettes thickened with a fat-containing ingredient, typically eggs, mayo, or dairy. The fat helps to emulsify the oil and vinegar, giving it that creamy and consistent texture.
To get the rich, satisfying taste of a creamy salad dressing with the benefit of healthy fats, try using nut and seed butters, Greek yogurt, or avocado to emulsify your oil and vinegar blend.
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