Salads: Undressed and Exposed, Part 1

salad dressing

Vinaigrettes: 1 Technique, 10 Possibilities

Recipes Published in
Bonnie Published by
  • 3 Parts Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Part acid (vinegar, citrus juice, etc.)
  • Greens or base veggies
  • Toppings
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

News flash: “italian” dressing isn’t really Italian, “french” dressing isn’t French, and making your own is sickeningly simple. When I was growing up, a salad in our house* was iceberg lettuce, an indescriminate assortment of raw veggies (carrots, tomatoes, bell pepper, cucumber) and a choice of several misnomered Kraft “salad dressings” whose main ingredients are (still) water, corn syrup, dehydrated herbs, and preservatives. Yum, right? Hopefully, after this you’ll to never have to buy salad dressing again.

The How-To

Your basic vinaigrette recipe calls for whisking 1 T. acid (vinegar, citrus juice, etc.) to 3 T. extra virgin olive oil; season with a little kosher salt and freshly ground pepper and toss with 2 cups or so of salad greens. Listed below are the different acids I mix with olive oil according to the above vinaigrette recipe, the greens or base veggies to toss in it, and my own preferences for coordinating toppings. The mustard dressings will vary slightly in proportions, as noted below.

Balsamic Vinegar

1. Tossed with baby spinach + chopped dried apricots + red onion + pecans
2. Tossed with baby spinach, tomato + cucumber + red onion + kalamata olives + feta cheese (Greek salad)

Red Wine Vinegar

3. Tossed with mixed baby greens + bleu cheese + apples/pears + candied pecans/walnuts
4. Tossed with mixed baby greens, sundried tomatoes (in oil) + artichoke hearts + Parmesan Shavings

Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice

5. Tossed with baby arugula + grape tomatoes + goat cheese (chevre)
6. Drizzled over grilled veggies: eggplant, bell pepper, zucchini, squash, onions, asparagus, etc.
7. Tossed with mixed baby greens + dried cranberries + fresh goat cheese + chopped roasted unsalted almonds

Mustard Vinaigrette

Whisk 1 T. red wine vinegar, 1 T. Dijon or whole grain mustard, 3 T. extra virgin olive oil and
8. Toss with fresh trimmed and blanched asparagus or green beans + thinly sliced shallots
9. Toss with boiled golden yukon potatoes, chopped fresh terragon, and bacon for a great potato salad

Honey Dijon

Whisk 1 t. red wine vinegar or cider vinegar, 1 t. dijon mustard, 2 T. extra virgin, and 1 T. honey
10. Toss with mixed baby greens, grilled chicken, grilled asparagus, & crumbled hard-boiled egg

What about Ranch? Creamy Blue Cheese? We’ve go those covered, too, but as they are not technically vinaigrettes, I’m saving those for another post. Stay tuned.

A Note

*Actually, I do remember a taco salad made with “french” dressing?!? It reminds me of the scene in Savage Steve Holland’s Better Off Dead where Mrs. Meyer beamingly welcomes the new French exchange student with a meal of “Fronch dressing, Fronch bread, and Fronch fries.” Best John Cusack movie ever. Save those $2 you would have spent on bottled dressing and just pay the paper boy.

One Response to “Salads: Undressed and Exposed, Part 1”

  • Becca:

    I made the Red Wine Vinegar dressing in a little bottle and took it to school and all the ladies in the faculty lounge were SO impressed that I had homemade dressing. They pushed their plastic bottles aside and used mine! It really was so easy…no more store bought dressings for me!