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Super-quick salad dressing ideas
October 22, 2018, 1:31 pm
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Salads are a simple dish which anyone can do. Throw some fresh greens in a bowl, toss in whatever fruits or vegetables are on hand, maybe add some cheese and something crunchy, and you will be happy. People also love to keep things simple and easy, typically with store-bought dressing. However, it will be far more satisfying to try homemade dressing. 

The real beauty of making your own is the customization. You can tailor-make your dressing for your salad, using the juice of other things you might already be throwing in (like tomatoes, peaches, or in the winter, citrus) or trying out different combinations of herbs, acids, and oils. You can also customize your salad according to your mood, going as complex or uncomplicated as you want. Good olive oil and vinegar or lemon with some flaky salt all thrown right into the salad bowl is a winning, and super-simple combination you are probably familiar with.

Here are some ideas to make a fantastic dressing for your salads.

Herbaceous and Bright

Part pesto, part vinaigrette, this dressing is reinforced with white beans—which makes it thick enough to schmear over the crusty brown bread you pair with your salad.

Steps: To make dressing, stick 1 cup torn basil leaves, 1/4 cup olive oil, juice of a small lemon, 1/2 cup cooked white beans, 2 large cloves garlic, and salt to taste in a food processor or blender and blend until it is smooth and dressing-y. For a thinner situation—or if you are using a milder green in the salad—add a small spoonful of water to the mix.

Citrusy

Subtly bright, this dressing has just enough lime to add a sour bite to fruit-forward salads or mild lettuces.

Steps: To prepare dressing, combine 2 limes, peeled and piths removed, 1 clove garlic, 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, and 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar in the pitcher of a blender. Pulse to break down limes, scrape the sides, then turn blender to low. Slowly drizzle in 1/3 cup olive oil, stopping to scrape down sides as needed. Add a pinch or two of sea salt, as needed.

Asian-Influenced

Intensely fish sauce-y, this dressing is extremely salty and tangy. ‘Subtle’ is not a word in its vocabulary.

Steps: To make the dressing, in a small bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup lime juice, 2 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce, 1/3 cup full-fat coconut milk, and 1 tablespoon palm sugar in a small bowl until the sugar is dissolved. Add the zest of 1 lime, 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh lemongrass, 1/2 a seeded and minced serrano pepper, 1 garlic clove, 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, and 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint. Stir to combine.

Nutty

The peanut butter brings a creamy, nutty, and almost sweet component to this dressing, while the umami from the miso balances everything out.

Steps: In a medium mixing bowl, place 1/2 cup peanut butter, 1 heaping tablespoon white miso, 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 1 to 2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce, 2 teaspoons chopped ginger, 1 minced garlic clove, 2 tablespoons honey, and 3 to 5 dashes sesame oil. Add water in 1/8-cup increments and stir until you reach a smooth, sauce-like consistency. It should be loose, but not watery, so add the water slowly. Taste for seasoning.

Vinegary

A dressing that makes use of day-old bread (yes, stale bread is worth more than just a batch of croutons) and has enough sweetness to cut through bitter greens—but enough vinegar to keep things interesting.

Steps: Pulse 1 small clove garlic, 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1/2 cup sour dough bread, torn into small pieces, and 2 tablespoons of water in a blender to combine; let sit 5 minutes to soften the bread. With the motor running, gradually add 1/3 cup olive oil; blend until smooth (the bread will blend into the dressing, thickening and flavoring it, while retaining some texture), about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

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