No, I’m not talking about putting little shirts and pants on your lettuce leaves. I’m not that weird. Ok, yes I am but that is beside the point. Salads are a great way to get in a ton of vegetables and there are endless varieties of salads. Even with so many different combinations, people still find salads boring. Their solution to fix boring salads is to top them off with dressings. Don’t get me wrong, I love dressing and probably have consumed a mind boggling amount of ranch dressing. Store bought dressings though are LOADED with chemicals and preservatives and a ton of other not good for you ingredients. Go ahead and get that bottle of dressing out of the fridge and read the ingredient list. I’m going to bet there are some things in there that you can’t pronounce. That’s no good. Fear not! You do not have to give your dressings, you just need to go about them in a different way. Homemade dressing is super simple to make and so much better for you than store bought. In fact, you probably have all the ingredients on hand to make your own simple dressing. I’m going to show you how to make a simple dressing and give you a few variations so that you can make your own delicious salad dressing!
The basic components of a salad dressing are simple. Oil and some kind of vinegar. Your ratio of oil to vinegar can be made to your preference, but I tend to like a little bit more vinegar than oil in my dressing. Now there are a variety of different oils that you can use to make your dressing beyond the obvious olive oil. I also like avocado oil, flaxseed oil, and I have even tried walnut oil which was pretty tasty. You want to stick with lighter tasting oils since you won’t be cooking the oil. Oils like peanut, coconut, or palm oil will have a little bit stronger taste and could overpower the other flavors of the dressing. Once you pick the type of oil you want to use you can pick a vinegar to go with it. The three that I use the most are apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, and white wine vinegar. I’ve also made some dressings with rice vinegar. There are many types of vinegars out there, so pick ones that you like the most. Once you’ve chosen an oil and a vinegar, it’s time to add some seasonings. The sky is the limit here so use your favorites or whatever you have on hand.
Ok, that is the bare bones of a homemade salad dressing. Tasty for sure, but a little boring. Good thing it is easy to come up with a variety of different dressings to top your salad. The easiest way to make most of these dressings is to place all the ingredients in a jar and shake them up. That way they are easy to store and you can add to them whenever you need to. Some of the dressings I’m going to share need a blender or food processor, but I’ll make a note if they do. Here are a few dressings that I have made myself:
- 1/4 cup olive oil – 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar – 1 tsp oregano – 1 tsp basil – pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup avocado oil – 1/3 cup rice vinegar – 2 tbsp lime juice – 1 tsp cilantro – 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 cup flaxseed oil – 1/3 cup white wine vinegar – 2 tsp italian seasonings – pepper to taste
These are quick and easy to make and will keep in your fridge for a few weeks. Now, perhaps you are more a fan of creamy dressings (ranch lovers unite!) and these oil and vinegar combos are not doing it for you. Not to worry, there are plenty of options when it comes to homemade creamy dressings. These dressings will need to be made in a blender or food processor to get the right consistency.
- 1/2 avocado, diced – 1/4 cup tahini – 3-4 tbsp lime juice – 1 tsp cilantro – 1 tsp chili powder – salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup smooth almond butter – 1/4 cup soy sauce or liquid aminos – 2 cloves garlic, minced – 1 tsp chinese five spice
- 1/2 cup cashew cream – 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter – 2 cloves garlic – 1-2 tsp smoked paprika – salt and pepper to taste
You can also do a very simple herb and oil dressing. Using 1/4 to 1/2 cup oil of your choice, blend in a few handfuls of your favorite herbs, and a few tbsp of mustard (I like spicy brown) until you have a pourable consistency.
There are so many options when it comes to homemade salad dressings. Get creative and try making some of your own concoctions. Use pureed beans to get a creamy, hummus like dressing or go super simple with just a little oil and vinegar. Find flavors that you enjoy and will have you devouring salads by the plateful! Remember, healthy doesn’t have to be hard or complicated. More often than not, it’s better to just keep it simple!