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Homemade Salad Dressings
Why buy bottled salad dressing when it is so easy to make your own?
A wonderful dressing can easily be whipped up in a few minutes.  Most dressing ingredients are staples that you probably have in your pantry right now.  Homemade dressings are less expensive than bottled versions and there are no preservatives, stabilizers, and artificial flavors.  There is no waste with homemade dressings since you only make the amount you need.  Or you can make enough dressing for a few days and store it in a container with a lid in your refrigerator; just shake it well before using.
RECIPES
Basic Vinaigrette
Basic Balsamic Vinaigrette
Dijon Vinaigrette
Champagne Vinaigrette
Fig Vinaigrette
Citrus Dressing
Lemony Ginger Vinaigrette
Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette
Asian Sesame Dressing
Pesto Vinaigrette
Spicy Tomato Vinaigrette
Greek Salad Dressing
There are basically 2 types of salad dressings, vinaigrettes and creamy dressings.  The usual proportions for a basic vinaigrette dressing are three parts oil to one part vinegar or lemon juice.  Use extra-virgin olive oil when olive oil is the required ingredient, a good-quality vinegar, Kosher or sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper.  Only use freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice in your salad dressings.  The bottled versions do not have the same bright, citrus flavor.  Some recipes that use canola or vegetable oil as an ingredient, do so because it has little flavor and will not compete with the other ingredients in the dressing.  Try some different combinations like walnut oil, lemon-infused olive oil, or fruit flavored oil with white wine vinegar.  There are also some wonderfully flavored vinegars that can be blended with olive oil for a quick and delicious dressing.

Vinaigrettes:  To emulsify a vinaigrette means to combine two liquids, oil and vinegar, that normally do not mix smoothly.  This is done by slowly adding one ingredient to another while whisking rapidly.  Emulsifying disperses and suspends one liquid throughout another.  If your vinaigrette separates, just whisk it back together.  Vinaigrettes will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.  Since the oil and vinegar will separate, just whisk it to re-emulsify.  If you store it in a container with a lid, all you need to do is shake it vigorously.  If the oil has solidified, let the vinaigrette come back to room temperature before re-emulsifying.

Creamy Dressings:  A creamy salad dressing may also contain oil and vinegar but it will also have some type of thickening ingredient.  Whole eggs, egg yolks, mayonnaise, sour cream, buttermilk, pureed fruits and vegetables are just some of the items that will the dressing a creamy texture.
Basic Vinaigrette

(Makes about 1 cup)

A basic vinaigrette pairs well with greens, chopped salads, bean salads, and
grain salads.  It can also be used on grilled vegetables.


Ingredients:

3 to 4 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

Optional Ingredients:
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh herbs
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Directions:

When making a vinaigrette, always start with the vinegar and salt first.  If you are using mustard, add that next.  Then slowly whisk in the oil.  Finally add the garlic and/or herbs.  Taste and season with salt and pepper.  Test by dipping a leaf into the dressing to check the acid and salt balance.
 
Basic Balsamic Vinaigrette

(Makes about 1 cup)

Ingredients:

3 to 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

Directions:

Whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl.
Dijon Vinaigrette

(Makes about 1/2 cup)

A basic vinaigrette that can be used to dress most types of lettuce or greens.

Ingredients:

3 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoon minced red onion
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper

Directions:

Whisk together the red wine vinegar, minced red onion, Dijon mustard, and garlic clove.  Slowly whisk in the oil and season with salt and pepper.
Champagne Vinaigrette

(Makes about 1/4 cup)

This vinaigrette pairs well with a tender leaf lettuce such as Bibb.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
1 shallot, minced
6 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper

Directions:

Whisk together the vinegar and shallot.  Slowly add the oil until the mixture is well blended.
Fig Vinaigrette


Serve with arugula, fresh figs, goat cheese, and crisp pancetta.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons black fig vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
6 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper

Directions:

Whisk together the vinegar and mustard.  Slowly whisk in the olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.
Citrus Dressing

(Makes about 1/3 cup)

This is a light-flavored dressing for tender leaf lettuce varieties. Add wedges of orange or artichoke hearts to the salad. The dressing is also nice over roasted beets or fennel.

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons lemon or lime juice
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons canola oil
Salt and pepper

Directions:

Whisk together all of the ingredients in a small bowl.
Lemony Ginger Vinaigrette

(Makes about 1/2 cup)

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/2 tablespoon sugar
6 tablespoons canola oil
Salt and pepper

Directions:

Whisk together all of the ingredients in a small bowl.
Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette

(Makes about 3/4 cup)

This dressing adds a bold taste to greens or a pasta salad

Ingredients:

1/4 cup drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
4 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper

Directions:

Place the tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, and garlic in a blender or food processor. Puree until smooth. Slowly add the oil until well blended.  Season with salt and pepper.
Asian Sesame Dressing

(Makes about 1/3 cup)

Serve with baby spinach leaves, orange sections, and slices of avocado.
For a main course salad, add grilled chicken, shrimp, or salmon.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 teaspoons dark or toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
Salt and pepper

Directions:

Whisk together all the ingredients in a small bowl.
Pesto Vinaigrette

(Makes about 2/3 cup)

This dressing is best made in a food processor.  Serve with spinach leaves, cooked peas, and pine nuts, with a potato salad, or a pasta salad.

Ingredients:

1 large garlic clove
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
10-12 fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
Pepper to taste
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Directions:

With food processor running, drop garlic clove through the feed tube.  Add cheese, basil, parsley, salt, sugar, and pepper.  Process about 10 seconds until all the ingredients are finely chopped.  Combine the oil and vinegar.  With the machine running, slowly pour through the feed tube.  The mixture will combine very quickly.  It should be slightly thick and coarse.
Spicy Tomato Vinaigrette

(Makes about 1 cup)

Ingredients:

3/4 cup peeled and chopped fresh tomatoes
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1-1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon hot sauce
Salt and pepper

Directions:

Combine all the ingredients in a blender or food processor.
Adjust the hot sauce to your taste.
Greek Salad Dressing

(Makes about 1/4 cup)

For a traditional Greek Salad, serve with shredded iceberg or romaine lettuce, sliced or diced cucumbers, tomato wedges, black olives, and crumbled feta cheese.

Ingredients:


1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 small garlic clove minced or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper

Directions:

Whisk together all of the ingredients in a small bowl.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Salad Dressing Recipes
Use lemon zest when baking sweets, making salad dressings or marinades, or for sprinkling on roasted vegetables.
The outermost layer of a lemon rind is full of aromatic essential oil that can liven up dishes, desserts,and drinks.

To grate a lemon:
Rub a lemon against a rasp or grater with very small holes, rotating the fruit as soon as the white pith appears.  One lemon should yield 2 to 3 teaspoons of fluffy zest.
Roasting garlic mellows its sharp flavor and
lends it  a sweet, caramelized taste,  Stir it into
salad dressings, spread it on sandwiches, or
add it to dips or pizza.
ROASTED GARLIC
1.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Trim off the top quarter of a head of garlic to expose the cloves.

3. Place the garlic head on a square of aluminum foil.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Wrap the foil to enclose the garlic.

4. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes.

5.  To extract the roasted cloves, grab the bottom of the head and gently squeeze until the cloves pop out. They should be soft and golden brown.

6. Roasted garlic cloves may be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.
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SALAD RECIPES  >  HOMEMADE SALAD DRESSINGS
RECOMMENDED COOKBOOK
Traditional and contemporary Italian
recipes for vegetarian and nearly
vegetarian dishes from the author of The
Italian Slow Cooker.  In this book, Italian
cooking authority Michele Scicolone
shares recipes that she gathered during
years of traveling in Italy.
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