The best way to compliment your beautiful spring lettuces and vegetables is by devising a master list of killer salad dressings. Think of these vinaigrettes, creamy concoctions and acidulated flavour bombs as your kitchen arsenal; a couple tablespoons added to even the most simple of ingredients will transform the dish. It also happens to be a lot cheaper, and healthier, to make dressings at home.
The Formula To Any Dressing
There are a few basic rules to follow when making any salad dressing, and the formula it's all based on is:
One part acid, two parts oil.
Traditionally, vinaigrette calls for a 3:1 ratio for oil to vinegar, but personally I prefer my dressings to pack a bit of punch. (Just be sure to taste and adjust for balance). Nevertheless, you can always throw caution to the wind and go off on a whim- that’s the fun in cooking!
Once you’ve got your base oil and vinegar (or acid), you can begin to enhance the flavour with the addition of emulsifiers like mustard, or sweeteners like honey or maple syrup. Spices and alliums such as shallots or garlic can also help build layers of flavour and depth into your dressings. The most important part of building a good salad is to have a great dressing.
Tip: be sure to taste the dressing on a piece of lettuce or a vegetable as you’re making it, to get the full effect and discover the correct balance of tartness and sweetness.
Tools You'll Need
Most of these dressings can be whisked together in a bowl, but the Green Goddess and Creamy Cashew are best made with a small food processor to get a smooth, silky texture.
Now dressings can be interpreted in many different ways and it’s great to have some of the basics under your belt, but it’s also a great time to get creative in the kitchen and utilize some of those less common ingredients. Here are some of my all time favourites, plus a couple more inventive versions.
Salad Dressing Recipes
Classic Shallot Vinaigrette
1 shallot, minced + 2 tbsp lemon juice + 1 tbsp white wine vinegar + 1/3 cup olive oil + salt and pepper
*delicious with simple greens!
Maple Dijon Dressing
1tbsp lemon juice + 2 tbsp olive oil + 1 tbsp Dijon mustard + 2 tsp maple syrup + salt and pepper
*my go-to for a massaged kale salad!
1 tbsp tahini paste + 2 tbsp warm water + 2 tbsp lemon juice + 2 tbsp olive oil + 1 tsp honey + salt and pepper
*great tossed through grains!
1 tbsp miso paste + 2 tbsp warm water + 1 tbsp olive oil + ½ tbsp. honey + 2 tbsp soy sauce + 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar + 1 tbsp sesame oil + 1 tsp sriracha + 1 lime, juiced
*fabulous on a mixed vegetable slaw!
2/3 cup soaked cashews + ½ cup water + 3 tbsp lemon juice + 1.5 tsp Dijon mustard + 1 tsp sriracha + 1tsp honey + salt and pepper
*a great substitute for mayo- filled dressings!
½ garlic clove minced + 2 tsp champagne vinegar + 2 tbsp olive oil + 1 tbsp fresh chopped herbs (chives, parsley, coriander etc.)
*use any favourite fresh herb here!
Storage & Best Befores
- The great thing about dressings is you can make them in small or large quantities as they'll often last for 3 to 4 days
- Store your salad dressings in an airtight container or mason jar, and in the fridge
- Taste before using stored dressings and double check those with citrus fruits as they'll often lose their luster after a couple days