Even when you’re rushed to get dinner on the table, making your own salad dressing only takes a few extra minutes and can be tailored to your family’s tastes. You can make a big batch that you can easily use all week long.
Creamy dressings like ranch are delicious, but are usually mayonnaise-based and high in calories. Lighten things up with nonfat Greek yogurt to create a satisfying but healthy dressing. Replace the mayonnaise with nonfat Greek yogurt and mix with buttermilk and herbs for a “skinny” ranch dressing (pictured above with chipotle for added flavor).
Ingredients can be added for flavor as well as texture. Add-ins like mustard, grated Parmesan cheese and even avocado can boost the taste of a dressing while also making it creamier in texture.
One of the secrets to a great salad dressing is to shake well, which helps all the ingredients blend together, or emulsify. A simple vinaigrette can be shaken by hand in a cruet, while thicker dressings should be blended in a food processor until smooth.
Another great way to make your DIY salad dressing stand out is to get international inspiration. Instead of the usual ingredients, try using tahini for a Middle Eastern feel or miso for Asian flare. Other great ingredients to try out in your dressings are sesame oil, lime juice, teriyaki sauce and chipotle peppers.
A simple vinaigrette consists solely of oil (usually olive oil) and an acid (such as vinegar or lemon juice). Use this as a base and build on it by adding your favorite herbs or spices to create an exciting new salad dressing. Dried herbs and spices like cumin, paprika and oregano can instantly give new character to a dressing. In the winter, fresh sage would be a lovely addition, while nothing says summer like fresh basil.
Makes 1 cup
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