Do you like what I did there?
I have always been intimidated by making dressing for my salad. I see so many people do it on cooking shows and most salad recipes (seriously, who needs a salad recipe?) also include a recipe for the dressing (oh, I guess that’s why we need salad recipes). I don’t know if anyone else has felt this way, but if you have, and you’re reading this, I want you to know that it is so easy! Don’t be intimidated anymore, just try it, and surprise yourself.
There are a lot of reasons that you might want to make your own dressings. Look at the ingredients of the dressings in your fridge. Unless you’ve found a really good quality dressing company, I bet you won’t be able to tell me what some of the ingredients listed are. You might not know how to say them or why they would be in dressing. Dressing shouldn’t be complicated. Making it at home is also ALOT cheaper than buying from the store. The bottle of homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette in my fridge cost me less than $1.50 to make. I know the savings will vary depending on your store, but the cheapest of the good salad dressings (not the runny, tasteless salad dressings) is at least $3. Half Price? I’ll take it. Not having to run to the store if I realize I don’t have enough? I’ll take that too.
And you can come up with a basic recipe and tweak it depending on what you feel like or what you have around. My basic Balsamic Vinaigrette recipe is good all by itself, but I really like it with some thyme added, and it’s also good with basil or parsley if you have some lying around waiting for a purpose. If you want a creamy version, just take about 1/4 cup and add it to a cup or so of yogurt or buttermilk.
I promise there is an end to this post, it’s just not here yet. 🙂
If you can make a dressing, you can make a marinade. If you haven’t made a dressing yet, changes are you HAVE made a marinade. Well, just pretend you’re making a marinade if you’re still intimidated by making your own dressing. Anyways, isn’t dressing just a kind of short term marinade for lettuce?
Any dressing can be used as a marinade, so if you don’t feel like making two separate things, just use one for both, just know that sometimes a marinade is better than dressing because it can be lighter. Take lamb steak – you could use the Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing as a marinade, but you would be much better just using a bit of olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and rosemary because it will not overpower the lamb.
Some people will tell you not to use the marinade to make a sauce, I’m not telling you that you must… but you can, just be sure to boil the marinade first. If you’re not comfortable with that, just make extra marinade and make it into a sauce later.
- 1/2 cup Balsamic Vinegar
- 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1 tbsp Dijon Mustard
- salt and pepper
- any herbs you like, I use thyme
Whisk the Balsamic Vinegar with the garlic, a bit of salt and pepper, and the mustard. Add 1/2 olive oil and whisk until it is combined. Taste it and if it’s too strong, add more olive oil and whisk again. Some (many) recipes call for sugar or honey, I don’t really think it’s necessary, but try it if you think it is. By the way, I don’t really whisk with a whisk… I’m really bad at it. I mix things with a fork, I just call it whisking.
It’s kinda fun when people say, oh you made that?! Just pick your favorite and try making it. Don’t get discouraged if you’re first, fifth, sixth attempts aren’t quite right. That’s where I am with Catalina dressing, I just can’t quite get it right – Any ideas?
Plus you get to have these awesome little bottles and jars to keep everything in. Just try to remember to label everything so you don’t end up with a weird science experiment in the back of your fridge that you have NO idea what it began life as. Trust me on that one.
Dressings, Marinades and Sauces