Quick and easy salad dressings and vinaigrettes

Our circa 1960s household didn’t think much about salad until we recognized it was simply

Our circa 1960s household didn’t think much about salad until we recognized it was simply a leafy vehicle for salad dressing.

I blame that provocative class cruet that Good Seasons sold alongside seasonings packets to create a zesty Italian vinaigrette (every “Brady Bunch”-era home had one). Once my mom started shaking that bottle, she had no trouble getting her four kids to eat salad. Soon we were demanding other flavors for our iceberg and tomato toss-ups: nubby Thousand Island; fireball-orange Catalina French; creamy Ranch; and my favorite, Green Goddess. All were bottled dressings that came from our local supermarket.

Homemade vinaigrettes and dressings weren’t in my mother’s repertoire, and that’s understandable for a mother of four putting three meals a day on the table. It’s also regretful. Not until I was an adult did I know just how easy it is to make an oil-and-vinegar vinaigrette slurry or a quick whisk of mustardy, peppery dressing for salad, and how infinitely better they are to commercial sauces.

As we head into the hottest days of summer, we’re obviously eating more lunch and dinner salads — a perfect opportunity to muddle up homemade dressings and zippy vinaigrettes. Not just for salads but to gloss up garden tomatoes and crunchy vegetable compositions.

All of these dressings take only minutes and require no special tools save for a whisk or blender. And, flavor-wise, they beat bottled supermarket dressings. Time to shake up your salad game.

Foolproof Vinaigrette uses a bit of mayonnaise to help marry wine vinegar and Dijon mustard.

Greg Morago / Greg Morago

Foolproof Vinaigrette

1 tablespoon wine vinegar

1 ½ teaspoons finely minced shallot

½ teaspoon regular or light mayonnaise

½ teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/8 teaspoon table salt

Ground black pepper

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions: Combine vinegar, shallot, mayonnaise, mustard, salt and pepper to taste in small, nonreactive bowl. Whisk until mixture is milky in appearance and no lumps of mayonnaise remain.

Place oil in a small measuring cup so that it is easy to pour. Whisking constantly, very slowly drizzle oil into vinegar mixture. If pools of oil are gathering on surface as you whisk, stop adding addition of oil and whisk mixture well to combine, then resume whisking in oil in slow stream. Vinaigrette should be glossy and lightly thickened, with no pools of oil on its surface. Makes enough to dress 8 to 10 cups of lightly packed greens.

Makes about ¼ cup

From America’s Test Kitchen

Honey-Balsamic Vinaigrette needs just a bit of Dijon mustard to bring together tart vinegar and sweet honey.

Greg Morago / Greg Morago

Honey-Balsamic Vinaigrette

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Coarse salt and ground black pepper

Instructions: In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, honey, mustard, and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Makes ¼ cup

From marthastewart.com

Classic Ranch Dressing uses a mix of dried herbs and onion and garlic powder in this traditional buttermilk salad topper.

Greg Morago / Greg Morago

Classic Ranch Dressing


For seasoning mix

1 ½ teaspoons dried chives

1 teaspoon dried parsley

1 teaspoon dried dill

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

¼ teaspoon mustard powder

For each cup dressing

½ cup chilled sour cream or mayonnaise

½ cup chilled buttermilk

Salt to taste

Instructions: For the seasoning mix, place all seasoning ingredients in a bowl and whisk together. Transfer to an airtight container and store in refrigerator until ready to use (keeps indefinitely). Makes enough seasoning mix for 4 cups dressing.

To make 1 cup dressing: In a medium bowl, place 1 tablespoon seasoning mix. Add sour cream and buttermilk and whisk together until smooth. Taste and add salt if needed. Serve immediately or refrigerate, covered, for up to 2 days (or up to 2 weeks if made with mayonnaise).

Makes 1 cup

From cooking.newytimes.com

Asian Sesame Dressing is a simple marriage of soy sauce, sesame oil and rice vinegar.

Greg Morago / Greg Morago

Asian Sesame Dressing

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

¼ cup seasoned rice vinegar

1 ½ tablespoons honey

3 tablespoons sesame oil

1 ½ teaspoons soy sauce

Pinch salt

1 or 2 garlic cloves, minced

Sesame seeds, if desired

Instructions: Shake together all ingredients. Keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Makes 8 servings

From sweetpeasandsaffron.com

Creamy Italian Dressing uses mayonnaise and sour cream to add body to merger of red wine vinegar and olive oil.

Greg Morago / Greg Morago

Creamy Italian Dressing

¼ cup mayonnaise

3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar

2 tablespoons sour cream

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1 garlic clove, chopped

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Instructions: Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until creamy and smooth.

Makes about ½ cup

From Food Network

Honey Mustard Dressing uses lemon zest and lemon juice for brightness.

Greg Morago / Greg Morago

Honey Mustard Dressing

½ cup honey

½ cup Dijon mustard

¼ cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon lemon zest

Juice of 1 lemon

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions: In a medium bowl, stir together all ingredients until smooth.

Makes 1 cup

From delish.com

Basil Vinaigrette shines with the flavor of fresh basil leaves.

Greg Morago / Greg Morago

Basil Vinaigrette

1 small garlic clove

1 cup packed basil leaves, coarsely chopped

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 ½ tablespoons Champagne vinegar

Pinch of crushed red pepper

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions: In a food processor, pulse the garlic until chopped. Add the basil and pulse until finely chopped. Add the oil, vinegar and crushed red pepper and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

Makes 1/3 cup

From Food & Wine

Creamy French Dressing is flavored with onion, apple cider vinegar, and ketchup.

Greg Morago / Greg Morago

Creamy French Dressing

½ cup mayonnaise

½ cup ketchup

¼ cup apple-cider vinegar

¼ cup sugar

1 small sweet onion, cut into wedges

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

1 cup olive oil

Instructions: In a blender, place the mayonnaise, ketchup, vinegar, sugar, onion, salt and pepper. Cover and process until smooth. While processing, gradually add oil in a steady stream. Let chill for an hour before serving to allow onion flavor to mellow.

Makes 2 ½ cups

From food.com

Fresh (or frozen) raspberries and raspberry vinaigrette amp up the fruity flavor of Raspberry Vinaigrette.

Greg Morago / Greg Morago

Raspberry Vinaigrette

¼ cup fresh or frozen raspberries

¼ cup white-wine vinegar (or raspberry vinegar)

1 small shallot, chopped very fine (about 2 tablespoons)

½ cup olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions: Combine ingredients in a blender until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Makes ¾ cup

From thekitchn.com


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