This post is all about dressings. Notice, the word salad doesn’t come before dressings. Why? Because salads aren’t the only foods that can be dressed. Veggies, pastas, fruit, sandwiches, and fish/meat. All dress-able! Read on for tips on ways to play with color and flavor and dress up those dishes.
Most of us crave salads, fruits, cooling foods in the summer time. Most of us tend to get bored with the same ol’ salad and dressing. What we don’t realize is making our own dressings cuts out a lot of the fat and adds a lot more flavor. Plus you can customize to your liking. Plus you are eliminating unnecessary toxins entering your body through preservatives in the pre-packaged, processed dressings on shelves. Don’t get me wrong, for the sake of time, our house has purchased dressing from the store at least once this year. However, we much rather make it at home. Here are a few of our staples:
1. Citrus – squeezing citrus is one of the quickest way to add fresh flavor to any dish or drink. When I was younger, and much too concentrated on eating a low-fat diet, I use to squeeze lemon on salads. Still do on days my body screams “feed me whole, simple foods please!” On days I need a little more, I’ll whip up a citrus inspired oil:
Citrus oil dressing
In a bowl, whisk fresh lemon juice (lime or orange works too), olive oil, minced garlic, honey or agave, sea salt, and pepper. VOILA!
2. Vinaigrette – LOVE vinaigrettes! Lately, my favorite is dijon. Versatile and ready for grilled veggies or salad.
Makes 1 1/4 cups. Will last up to 1 week in fridge. Whisk all ingredients or put into jar with sealable lid and shake!
1/4 cup dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons agave (light or dark, depending on your preference)
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (sherry vinegar also works well)
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Speedy Dijon Vinaigrette
Find an infused vinegar (fig or raspberry) and mix with a few tablespoons of Dijon mustard.
3. Herb inspired – basil, parsley, cilantro, mint… all great herbs to utilize in homemade dressings. Chimichurri (usually a green sauce made up of parsley, oregano, lemon zest, and oil, used for grilled meat) is one of my all time favorites to use as inspiration.
Makes about 3/4 cup. **May turn to brown color if using avocado.
1 cup loosely packed cilantro, rinsed & stems removed
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt OR 1 avocado
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1-2 garlic cloves
Splash of vinegar (white wine vinegar goes well)
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt to taste
So the bottom line here is to have fun and get innovative with what you have around to add pizzazz! One last tip to share…a dear friend of mine years ago made a dressing that blew my taste buds away! She used olive oil, high quality mustard, jelly, and spices. I have yet to recreate one that was as good as hers but I have not given up.
What tips can you share?