Homemade salad dressing offers several advantages over the store bought kind. You control the ingredients, which means you can make it as sweet, tart, spicy, sour, or anything else as you like, and you know what (and how much!) you are getting. You can also control the batch size, and enjoy fresh dressing in about 3 minutes instead of wondering …”just what month WAS it when I bought that bottle rolling around the back of the fridge”? A fresh vinaigrette is a simple matter of combining your choice of vinegar with… anything you want, in equal parts of not depending what you are going for. Two of my favorites are the traditional balsamic vinaigrette, and a lime-honey-jalapeno concoction.
Easy Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette
This is my day in day out dressing when I’m having salad. I like to go 2x finger to 1x oil because I like my dressing with a lot of bite; 1 to 1 is much more mild and probably closer to the taste of a pre-made dressing if that’s what you prefer. For one person:
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar*
1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard (honey mustard also works!)
1 to 1/2 Tsp honey (or a dash of sugar if you prefer – any sweetener will do, and the amount varies depending on my mood and what’s in my salad and *what balsamic I am using because some are sweeter than others)
Sprinkle of salt & cracked black pepper
Whisk it all together – you don’t even need to use an actual whisk, I just do it with my fork. And that’s it, seriously. Basically no effort, and so much more flavorful than the kind from the store!
This is a little more involved in that the jalapeño brings in the stick blender. Again, I like to go 2:1 acid to oil, but it’s up to you.
1/2 Tbsp Lime Juice
1/2 Tbsp White Vinegar
chopped jalapeno (I use only about 2-3 rounds, not much – go gradually and check the taste)
1 Tsp honey
This one I combine everything in my mixing bowl, with a few leaves of fresh cilantro if I have it and a sprinkle of dry if I don’t, and let it sit for a while – generally however long it takes me to cook everything else – so the jalapeño flavor can mingle. Then I take my stick blender to it so the jalapeño and cilantro get pulverized, for lack of a better word. I love this in the summer on a salad that includes grilled or fresh red onion and grilled corn, with some fresh sliced peach.
Speaking of which… grill some beets and throw them on your next salad with some mandarin orange slices, it’s awesome. I can’t wait to get my grill set up and in business after my move!