Homemade Salad Dressings are the BEST!
Picture this. It’s almost time for lunch, and you are anticipating the healthiest-looking salad you can imagine that you ACTUALLY took the time to slice, dice and chop the freshest looking greens that you found in your grocer’s produce section (or even better, your local farmer’s market).
And now you’re going to top it with what you thinking is a healthy bottled dressing. After all, you chose it from the myriad of bottles in the salad dressing aisle of the grocery store that seemed the healthiest. Or at least it said so on the front label.
But what really lurks in that bottle of salad dressing?
Although some are healthier than others, if you didn’t actually take the time to read the ingredients on the bottle (or packet of a dry dressing mix), you may be adding a dressing that is high in calories, loaded with bad fats and unnecessary sugar and sodium. All the things you know aren’t good for you.
Then there are all those chemicals (many that I would need a chemistry degree to pronounce) that make up the artificial flavoring and preservatives. There’s no place for those in your diet. Is there?
Yes, I know that bottled dressings are convenient, and some are relatively healthy (but $$$). But why use them when you can quickly whip up a variety of delicious and healthy homemade versions in a matter of minutes. The needed ingredients are usually right on hand in your fridge and pantry.
And did I mention inexpensive?
I know that the bottled dressing do have a longer shelf life (chemical preservatives, hello?), but even the cheap ones cost $2 for a bottle. The healthier versions cost a whole lot more than that. So there’s price…It’s just one more thing to consider.
What to Avoid
Now that I know homemade is better, here’s what I’ll be skipping:
Oils (corn, canola or peanut oil for example) that may increase your LDL (bad) cholesterol.
Then there’s white sugar or corn syrup, that can throw your blood sugar way off balance not to mention cause some weight gain and fatigue.
And my best friend, sodium (or should I say former as I’m salt sensitive)
And who even knows what those artificial flavors, chemicals and preservatives do to your body? I’m going to pass given the choice.
Homemade is the Way to Go
I’m sure you’ll agree that the dressing on your salad should be as healthy as all the vegetables you carefully tossed into your salad bowl. And I don’t know about you, but when I put that much time and effort into prepping a salad, I want that baby to shine!
What I’m saying here is to skip all of those unhealthy bottled dressings and go for the homemade salad dressing.
I’m going to bet if you check out your fridge and pantry, you’ll find everything you need for a simple salad dressing.
The Magic Formula
All you need is a base (usually a healthy oil such as extra virgin olive or avocado oil), and an acid (such as apple, rice, or balsamic vinegar or citrus as inlemon, lime or even orange), and a few other ingredients of if you choose such as herbs (the fresher the better) with basil, oregano, thyme to name a few).
3 parts good-quality oil
1 part acid
fresh or dried herbs if you’re feeling fancy
fresh or dried herbs (optional)
salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste)
I like to add a little Dijon mustard to a lot of my dressings, and instead of white sugar, I add just a touch of REAL maple syrup. This ingredient is pricey, but a little goes a long way. And besides it’s loaded lots of antioxidants, some being unique to this beloved sweetener. So worth it!
Loaded with Health Benefits
You not only get the benefit of the healthy oils loaded with antioxidants to protect your heart and brain, but vinegar and/or citrus to support your digestive system and also happen to be loaded with heart-healthy antioxidants, minerals and vitamins.
My Favorite Way to Mix it Up (Emulsify)
I’ve been experimenting lately with making lots of different Homemade Salad Dressings. And using my immersion (stick) blender, I can pour the ingredients into a large Mason jar, stick that blender right in, and mix away. After dressing my salad, I then pop a lid on the jar and into the fridge it goes until the next salad. If the oil turns solid in the fridge, just remove the lid and put it in the microwave for about 30 seconds and shake to loosen it up.
Here are a couple of my my favorite recipes that I got at Harvest Market. A simple yet Classic Balsamic Vinaigrette. I’ve been keeping this one hand for my daily green salad or cabbage slaw.
Classic Balsamic Vinaigrette
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 shallot, chopped or ¼ yellow onion, chopped fine
1 large clove garlic, chopped
1 heaping tsp Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon seasoning salt
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Pinch of salt and pepper
COMBINE ingredients in a bowl. WHISK to combine. (Or PLACE ingredients in a large Mason jar or bowl and MIX with an immersion blender.)
Perfect dressing to use with a romaine lettuce salad
From: Harvest Market
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ⅓ cup balsamic vinegar
- ½ shallot, chopped or ¼ sweet onion, chopped fine
- 1 large clove garlic, chopped
- 1 heaping tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon seasoning salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- COMBINE ingredients in a bowl. WHISK to combine. (Or PLACE ingredients in a large Mason jar or bowl and MIX with an immersion blender.)