I don’t buy salad dressing any more. In fact, most of the time if I’m eating at home I don’t use it at all. Why?
I usually add some form of protein to my salads (like salmon, chicken, ground beef, quinoa). I usually fry up the protein first because I love the contrast of cold crispy lettuce leaves with something warm in my salad. I make my protein in bulk and store it in the fridge. When I’m ready to reheat my chicken for example, I add a small amount of coconut oil to the pan.
After I’ve added my spices, I simple top my salad with the chicken and the natural juices created by my cooking.
However, when I have to bring a cold salad to work, I do use dressing.
I always make my own dressing. Why?
1. It’s healthier.
I use olive oil as a base for all my dressings. There’s always been controversy over ‘healthy fats,’ but people seem to agree that olive oil (that is, extra virgin olive oil) is healthy. There has actually been a substantial amount of research done on this, and the studies show that antioxidants and fatty acids in olive oil have some wonderful health benefits. (Read Don’t Be Deceived: Things You Should Know About Olive Oil)
In a previous post I mentioned that I try not to buy packaged products with more than 5 ingredients. Making my own salad dressing allows me to avoid many of these ‘mysterious’ ingredients of questionably necessity like Xanthan Gum (Thickener), Phosphoric Acid (Enhances Tartness), and Silicon Dioxide (no idea).
2. It can save you money
Yes, investing in a quality bottle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar can be initially pricy, but because you are only using a few tablespoons of oil at a time, and a few drops of balsamic, this can last you a long time.
3. Variety is the spice of life!
When you make your own salad dressing, the possibilities are endless! You can crush garlic, sprinkle salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes for a little spice! Play with rosemary, oregano, thyme! Even add cilantro, lemon juice, or Greek yogurt for a creamier variety. The only limitations are that of your imagination!
Super Simple Homemade Balsamic Dressing:
I don’t really worry about the amounts, I just eyeball it! Half the fun is tasting, mixing, and experimenting! I’m usually mixing for one serving (to bring in my lunches; remember that the more your dressing ‘sits’ the more potent the flavor will become).
- Olive oil (extra virgin)
- Balsamic vinegar (If you’re making just one serving of dressing, start with just a few drops, then adjust to your taste).
- Garlic (I prefer fresh, finely chopped, but you can use garlic powder as well)
- Sea salt or Herb salt
- Ground pepper
I want to know, what other homemade dressing recipes have you tried? Let me know in the comments below!