It’s definitely salad season – at least for those of us who are getting loads of lettuce in our CSA box each week. We’ve been resourceful and made things like spinach garbanzo bean dip and vegetable soup, but the best use of all of that farm-fresh lettuce is simply a fresh salad. Salads for breakfast have even become normal at our house in the past few weeks!
I usually keep it simple – fresh lettuce, possibly a chopped heirloom tomato or shaved carrot, and some homemade salad dressing. Today, I just want to gently remind you how easy and delicious homemade salad dressing can be. I know that buying salad dressing at the grocery store seems much more convenient, but salad dressings made at home have fewer ingredients, including fewer preservatives and artificial flavors. Plus, you get to use your own fresh ingredients and don’t have to worry about rancid oils or altered fats.
The recipe for a homemade salad dressing is fairly simple. Just remember: fat, acid, flavor. Olive oil is most often used as the fat, but any good oil will work. As an acid, I like balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or freshly-squeezed lemon juice. The “flavor” category is sort of a catch-all – sea salt & pepper; dried or fresh herbs; raw honey; crushed blueberries; dijon mustard; an egg yolk; crushed garlic; mashed avocado; and more! The great thing about homemade dressing is that you can experiment with whatever ingredients you have at home, and come up with something that is delicious. I’m not going to spend any more time on the recipe, because there is no right or wrong way to do it. As long as you are using fresh, whole foods, the dressing will work.
Now comes the easy part – pour everything into a jar, tightly close the jar, and shake. As I’ve mentioned here before, I’m the opposite of a pack rat. Throwing things away is very therapeutic for me, and I cannot stand it when things accumulate in my house. However, I rarely throw away jars! I find them extremely useful in the kitchen, whether it be for storing grains, dried beans, nuts or seeds, packing a lunch (they make great “tupperware”), or making a salad dressing. You can have the fanciest food processor around, and I’d still recommend using a simple jar for salad dressing. That way you can make the dressing, use what you need, and store it in the jar in the fridge for the next salad.
So, treat yourself to some really good olive oil (we bought some meyer lemon olive oil last weekend in Steamboat that I’m very excited about) and start saving your jars. Homemade salad dressing is one of the easiest ways to be healthy!