Nosh

Salad Dressings and a Pop of Spring

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Nothing screams “Spring” like a fresh crisp salad does!  I try and incorporate some type of salad into at least one meal everyday and making my own dressings ensures that I am in control of the salt and sugar that my family consumes.  Since salad dressings can be the hidden culprits to a lot of excess calories and unhealthy food choices it gives you a little more control if you make your own.  Making your own dressing is extremely easy too!  And with the help of Tupperware, storing and pouring said dressings couldn’t be more efficient!  I combine all the ingredients right in the containers, shake well and store in the fridge for 2-4 weeks depending the type of dressing.  (Take note that I use mainly canola oil in my dressings as olive oil will solidify in the fridge.)

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Our top four favourite dressings in my family are; honey mustard vinaigrette, ranch or blue cheese, balsamic, and a basic herb vinaigrette.  The ratio that I use for dressings is 1 part vinegar or acid and 2-3 parts oil.  Then I just add herbs, spices and sweeteners to my heart’s content.

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I use the basic herb vinaigrette on my bean medley salad and I heat the vinegar with the herbs and onions before adding the oil and pouring over the beans and corn.  I find the flavours penetrate the vegetables better this way.

Basic Herb Vinaigrette:

  • 3/4 c white vinegar
  • 4-5 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp epicure greek seasoning
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1 3/4 c canola oil

**You can also substitute the vinegar in this recipe with any combination of citrus juice, (orange, grapefruit, lemon, or lime). Check the honey amount if you do though, as citrus is often sweeter than vinegar you likely won’t have to add as much!  In a basic citrus dressing I would simply add dried parsley (not the onion and greek seasoning)!**

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Balsamic dressing is so versatile, it’s great in a greek quinoa bowl (like the above picture), yummy on a spinach salad with strawberries, chèvre and toasted pumpkin seeds or it’s super tossed with vegetables and roasted as a side dish or as a chicken marinade!

Balsamic Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey or maple syrup
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 cup canola oil

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The honey-mustard vinaigrette is lovely on any salad with citrus, it’s also yummy tossed with tinned tuna on a wrap, as a marinade for chicken or as a dip for spicy ranch fries!

Honey-Mustard Vinaigrette:

  • 2 tbsp dijon
  • 2 tbsp grainy mustard
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 cup canola oil

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Ranch dressing is thick and creamy and delicious on a traditional cob salad or in a wrap. It’s versatile in the types of herbs you can use and dried can be substituted (although I like to use fresh best) and it is great with blue cheese crumbled in as another alternative.  I like to use plain greek yogurt to amp up the nutrition but you can use sour cream too.

Ranch:

  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 3 tbsp mayo
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder (optional)
  • 2 tbsp chopped chives
  • 2 tbsp chopped dill
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

**If I add crumbed blue cheese I’ll sometimes eliminate the dill and parsley and I always add a dash or two of Worcestershire sauce when bringing blue cheese to the party!**

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