Salad is a great way of rounding out a meal and providing some colour to your plate. It can even be a meal unto itself. But, no matter how great your salad is, a flavourful dressing takes it to the next level.
Essentially, a salad dressing is a sauce that imparts flavour to a salad. It is crafted with the salad in mind, and it is used to compliment the ingredients of the salad.
There are three components to a salad dressing:
- 10% is the flavouring. These are ingredients like herbs and spices that add additional flavour to the dressing.
- 60% is the base. This provides the primary structure and texture. It is usually either an oil (like olive oil) or a cream (like yogurt).
- 30% is the acid. This is the ingredient that applies more flavour and also helps protect the salad greens from wilting.
The procedure for making a salad dressing is literally two steps: add ingredients, and stir.
Thus, it can be very quick and easy to make batches on the fly. Personally, I like to use a small blender to make sure I get a good emulsion and just make it fresh when I need it.
Always taste the salad dressing as it is being made. Try to make it a smidge stronger than you would want, but just a small amount. Remember, if your salad dressing is too weak, people can add more to their salad. If it is too strong, it can’t be removed.
Store bought salad dressings contain a lot of preservatives to increase their shelf life. Homemade does not. Not only does it fall prey to the weakest link phenomena, where the whole dish only lasts as long as its weakest ingredient, but the ingredients often separate in the fridge. So, you really aren’t saving yourself much work when you pre-make and store salad dressings.
Added Bonus: There are lots of recipes out there that use store bought salad dressing to impart flavour to many dishes (chicken, pork, rice). This is a fantastic use for homemade dressing as well.
The following graphic shows how to make dressing and provides some flavour inspiration. Use the generator to create many delicious dressings.
While experimenting make notes about things that worked or didn’t work. Once you discover a variation you love, create your own recipe card so you won’t forget what you did. We have free printables to lend a hand.
Salad Generator Steps
Step 1: Select your Base: Olive Oi, Grape Seed Oil, Peanut Oil, Nut Oil, Avocado Oil, Plain Yogurt
Step 2: Add an Acid: Vinegar (Rice, Wine, Balsamic, Apple Cider) or Fresh Citrus Juice (Lemon, Lime, Grapefruit, Orange)
Step 3: Add Flavour: Mustard, Fresh or Dried Herbs, Jam/Jelly, Tahini, Ginger, Siracha, Garlic, Soy Sauce, Mint
- Your dressing should be 10% Flavours, 30% Acid, and 60% Base.
- Don’t limit yourself to just oil-based dressings. Use yogurt for a cream-based version.
- Dressings come together so quickly that there is no need to make big batches. Simply make them when you need them.