It’s easy to get into a salad rut when summer is doing its thing in the garden and salad-making is so easy. Greens, veggies, vinaigrette, boom, salad. But a salad can be so much more, and just a few moments of effort invested in a good dressing can go a long way toward spicing things up.
I am not the maker-of-vinaigrette in our family (thank you, J!), so on the rare occasions when the salad dressing is my job I tend to branch out, if only a little, from the standard oil-vinegar-mustard combination. (J’s vinaigrette formula, for the record, is excellent: 1/3 red wine vinegar, 2/3 olive oil, a spoonful of dijon, salt and pepper; shake in a covered jar until emulsified.)
In celebration of salad season, here are a few of my favorite salad dressings from this year, along with a simple honey-mustard combination I’ve been enjoying lately.
Cumin Vinaigrette from this Orange-Roasted Carrot and Avocado Salad, also great on any crunchy salad with Mexican food.
Creamy (and, incidentally, oil-free) Cilantro and Sweet Corn Dressing from this Quinoa Salad with Radishes, Peas, Arugula.
Lemon Vinaigrette, showcased here with romaine and homemade garlic croutons.
And of course you can never go wrong just adding some chopped anchovy to your standard vinaigrette for any number of variations on Salade Nicoise.
And, finally, my new darling, Honey Mustard Salad Dressing: Combine equal parts honey, dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, and olive oil. Whisk until smooth.
What is your favorite homemade salad dressing this summer?
Olive oil, balsamic/lemon juice/wine vinegar and salt, glugged directly onto the leaves, eyeballing the quantities, and then mixed with my hands :-)
A favorite that I haven’t made in a while but is really good on salads with an Asian theme: 2 Tbsp rice vinegar, 3 Tbsp Japanese soy sauce, 1 Tbsp sesame oil, 1 Tbsp canola or sunflower oil, 1/2 red chile pepper (with or without seeds, depending on how hot you’d like it to be), in the blender to really mix in the chile.
I agree that mixing with your hands it the only way to go! And if I have delicate, flavorful lettuces, sometimes I even just do a drop of olive oil and salt (always salt!). The other dressing sounds great, I meant to try it on a bok coy slaw this weekend but I ate the bok choy all up. Maybe next week. :)
Of course always salt — it isn’t called salad for nothing :-)
(Salad comes from insalata, Italian for “in salt” or “salted”.)
No KIDDING. No wonder it feels so right. :)
I remember arriving late in our hotel in Sicily. They made us a snack: fresh lettuce with a drop of olive oil and a bit of salt, with some crackers. Tasted amazing :-)
Another well-known word that has been derived from salt is “salary”. In Roman times, salt was expensive and “salarium” meant a soldier’s allowance to purchase salt. It was already known that food was quite bland without it!
That sounds like a great snack! And I’m glad that salt is a cheap enough indulgence now that it doesn’t consume a measurable amount of our family’s salary. :)
These all sound delicious, a good dress makes all the difference. Thanks Emmy, I will re-blog this on the BHK. Hope you don’t mind. Happy days, lee
Of course–share the salad love!
Reblogged this on the beach house kitchen and commented:
Emmy gives us all some dressing inspiration here.
I love balsamic vinegar. I splurged on some better quality balsamic (not the bank-breaking stuff, but better than the grocery store). I like just a drizzle of that and a drizzle of olive oil.
This summer, when I have branched out beyond oil and vinegar only, I have used olive oil, lemon juice and zest, salt and pepper and a tiny bit of sugar. I was going for something that really let the citrus shine.
Definitely time to experiment a little more. Thanks for the recipes and ideas!
Yum! We got some really syrupy fig balsamic vinegar as a gift this year and it makes an amazing dressing. I don’t usually add sugar but I saw a recipe for a sweet onion dressing that I’m going to try this week!
Got to have a good arsenal of dressings during the summer. I tend to get into the vinaigrette rut. The cilantro/corn dressing sounds fantastic!
The corn/cilantro dressing is so good! I planned to make it all the time but we’re not getting corn from our CSAs yet (!!) and with two CSA boxes a week I can’t bring myself to buy other veggies. Soon, I hope! :)
I made the “milk mayonaise” with green olives discussed (gushed about) on The Splendid Table. Our kids like it, as they prefer creamy type dressings. It’s pretty light.
Ok, I just learned all about “milk mayonnaise.” Interesting! Is this the recipe you’re talking about? http://www.publicradio.org/columns/splendid-table/recipes/portuguese_green_olive_dip.html Do you thin it with milk to make a salad dressing? I don’t see how you could go wrong with the olive oil, anchovies, and green olives.
It is easy to get in a rut when making salads…we all have our favorite dressing. My husband would really like your honey mustard dressing.
Although I usually like dressing salads before serving them, I am always perfectly happy to do it in individual bowls so everyone can choose their own dressing. :)
Isn’t that funny? Honey mustard completely slipped off my radar of possibilities. I’ve been steeped in balsamic for a couple of years now, and honey mustard would be a lovely shake-up. Might get a few more veggies in the little people as well. Thanks!
It was my old go to! Agave mustard dressing just doesn’t have the same ring to it :(
Your one looks fab Emmy!
I’m sure it’s just as good with sugar instead of honey, in which case you’d just have to call it “sweet mustard dressing.” :)
Nope. Honey is better. Shhh ;)
It’s great to have a few simple vinaigrettes in your repertoire to liven up salads. I have a standard oil/vinegar/mustard one (a higher proportion of vinegar than you usually see, because I like it on the tart side). I always use extra virgin olive oil but vary the vinegar (sometimes lemon juice) and spices and herbs for extra flavour. So easy to make and so much better than something from a bottle! Love your idea of adding honey; I’m going to try that!
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This couldn’t have come at a better time. I was saying to a friend I’m so lazy when it comes to dressing salads. My hubby likes his salad naked. So most if the time I end up reaching for the white balsamic and splashing that over the top of our salad. Mmm honey mustard. Yum!
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