Building a better salad is easy, and makes for delicious lunches and dinners. Salad won’t be so boring any more!
Start with leafy greens, and add your fixings from there, then dress it up with a simple homemade dressing. Vinaigrette’s are simple to make, and all you need to do is follow a basic ratio, and dinner or lunch is ready.
Start with a variety of vinegar; red wine, white wine, balsamic, apple cider, sherry, champagne – the possibilities are endless. Head to the vinegar section of your grocery store, and choose a few different ones. Then, choose your oil. Extra virgin olive oil is standard, but you can mix it up with nutty varieties like walnut oil, or an unflavored oil like grape-seed.
A vinaigrette is an emulsion, or combination of oil and acid (usually vinegar, wine or citrus juice) that is being forced together by whisking or with a food processor. Vinaigrette’s are very versatile, and can be used for more than just salad… toss them on roasted veggies or use as a marinade. The key points to making a perfect vinaigrette are:
- following the classic ratio of 3 parts oil to 1 part acid. If you like it a little ‘sharper’, change the ratio to 2 parts oil to 1 part acid.
- while whisking, or in a food processor, pour acid and add any additional flavors (like fresh strawberries, roasted beets, shallots, or mustards) and slowly drizzle in oil and incorporate slowly.
- as the oil and vinegar mixture starts to thicken, you can add the oil a little more quickly. Once it is all mixed together, think about seasoning with salt and pepper, and even adding fresh chopped herbs like parsley, cilantro or chives and even poppy seeds or chia seeds
Mustard helps oil and vinegar come together into a smooth dressing. If you like your dressing a little thicker, add a little more mustard.
Basic Vinaigrette Recipe:
1/4 cup vinegar
2 tbsp dijon mustard (optional, but helps pull it all together)
1 tbsp minced shallot (optional again, but adds lots of flavor)
3/4 cup oil
salt and pepper
– whisk all ingredients together, while slowly drizzling in oil, or process in a mini food processor while slowly drizzling in oil.
Try these salad and dressing varieties:
Chicken Ceasar Salad
Mixed Green Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette
Strawberry & Spinach Salad
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What do you like in your salad?