We spend so much time talking about our favorite comfort foods, like Ina Garten’s toasted peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, Martha Stewart’s 20-minute mac and cheese, and Sunny Anderson’s garlic mashed potatoes, that sometimes we forget just how great a cold, crisp, veggie-filled salad can be. Yes, really! But it wasn’t until we started making salad dressing at home that we realized that salad can be packed with flavor. No longer overwhelmed by greasy, overly-salted storebought dressings, the veggies in our salads shine. If the thought of making your own dressings sounds complicated, never fear – television host and cookbook author Giada De Laurentiis just shared her go-to recipe for one salad dressing, four ways, and it’s easier than you might imagine.
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Every dressing should have a nice balance of acid, salt, and fat, with maybe a little sweetness added depending on what vegetables you’ll be dressing. That balance of flavors is the key to enhancing your greens and veggies without masking their fresh taste entirely.
De Laurentiis starts off, then, with a very basic vinaigrette. It uses olive oil and apple cider vinegar in a 2:1 ratio, then adds salt and pepper for seasoning. If you’re not sure where to start, this is it! It’s also a fun method to experiment with – as long as your ratio is two parts of oil to one part of vinegar, you can feel free to shake things up, using different flavored vinegars and olive oils to change the taste of your dressing.
Once you’re ready to move on, De Laurentiis offers three additional spins on the classic vinaigrette.
You can make it tangy, by adding Dijon mustard. You can make it herby, by adding chopped fresh herbs, like dill, chives, or tarragon. Or, you can make it creamy, by whisking in some Greek yogurt.
That’s one dressing, four ways. But really, it’s one dressing, a million ways, because there’s so much room to experiment with your favorite flavors. Change up the herbs, switch Dijon mustard for whole grain, grate some garlic into your creamy yogurt dressing, or even add all three upgrades – herbs, mustard, and yogurt – for a robust addition to salads and even grilled meats. You’ll never think salad is boring again once you master De Laurentiis’ dressing method.
In search of more summer recipes? Giada De Laurentiis has plenty:
Watch: We Tried Ina Garten’s Overnight Mac & Cheese & We Totally Get Why It Broke the Internet