7 Tips for the Perfect Salad Dressing
Salads are the essence of healthy eating and are typically prepared with wholesome ingredients, such as fresh vegetables and leafy greens, topped with a sprinkle of seeds or nuts. Salad dressings and sauces can be bought at grocery stores, but you can make your own with vinaigrette ingredients and freshly picked vegetables.
The key to a perfect salad dressing is balance, whether blending a creamy topper for your greens or just whisking together a basic vinaigrette. Here are some tips on how to make a perfect salad dressing.
1. Choose your oil and vinegar
Use a tasty oil to make your vinaigrette. This can be an extra-virgin olive oil you pick up at your local grocery store or a mild-flavored one. You can also use coconut oil, avocado oil, CBD oil, walnut oil, or any other oil in your kitchen cabinet. Anything goes for the vinegar, but be sure to pick something tasty. Red wine vinegar, cider vinegar, or white wine vinegar are all good choices, as are freshly-squeezed lime, lemon, and other citrus juices.
2. Add seasonings
While an acid (vinegar or lemon) and a fatty product (oil, yogurt, or cream) are the obvious additions to most salad dressings, including yuzu dressing, adding seasonings to your vinaigrette can make all the difference. Adding a pinch of salt and pepper, a blend of Italian herbs, and a teaspoon of ginger can improve a boring dressing flavor without skimping on the nutritional value. Some seasonings, such as red or black pepper, can boost the nutritional value of your salad by helping break down fatty cells and enhancing triglycerides and healthy cholesterol levels.
3. Blend well
Once you have picked the seasonings going into your salad, it’s time to mix everything together. Of course, oil and vinegar will naturally part into two layers, but you want them to bind together when making a vinaigrette to ensure they coat your salad evenly and give you a uniform flavor when you are eating. Mixing oil and vinegar is known as emulsion, and it can be done in three different ways:
- Whisking the vinaigrette together in a bowl
- Blending it in a blender
- Shaking it together in a jar
Blending your salad in a blender is best for making a salad dressing with solid ingredients, such as fruit or garlic. The blender mixes them in completely and makes your vinaigrette extremely smooth. Mix your vinaigrette ingredients in a blender or use an immersion blender. Blend until your vinaigrette is smooth and evenly combined. A blended vinaigrette will slowly separate back into layers, so be sure to use it immediately.
4. Taste your salad dressing
Be sure to give your salad dressing a good taste before you cover it. Your dressing should taste pretty strong since it will be mixed with unseasoned ingredients. The perfect way to taste your dressing is to savor it with a lettuce leaf or any other ingredient you plan to add to your salad. That way, you will know exactly how your salad will taste with, for instance, peppery arugula, and you can make adjustments as necessary.
5. Sweeten up your salad naturally
Rather than adding sugar to your salad dressing, go for sugary or tart fruits such as pears, pomegranates, or raspberries. Ensure they are blended, juiced, or mixed thoroughly before adding them to your dressing. This will help prevent big chunks that could make for an overpowering bite from forming.
6. Don’t forget the fat
Vitamins A, D, E, and K are all essential fat-soluble vitamins commonly found in salads made with fresh vegetables like carrots and spinach. Research shows that adding a fatty dressing on a salad instead of on fat-free dressing helps the body absorb these essential nutrients. However, stick with healthy fats such as olive oil or avocado for the most benefits.
7. Be careful with the ratios
The basic formula for a vinaigrette is one part vinegar to three parts olive oil. While some dressings are better with more acid, going overboard on either of these ingredients can cause chaos for your salad. Too much vinegar can make your salad sour, while too much oil makes your dressing too heavy. Therefore, try to remain close to the recommended 1:3 ratio. If you want a lighter dressing, use a ratio of one part of vinegar to two parts of olive oil.
Making a homemade salad dressing is extremely easy, and you can make one in the time it takes to open a fresh bottle of store-bought dressing. Once you master the balance, you can prepare a perfect salad dressing with whatever is in your kitchen. The typical procedure of dressing a salad will vary from each person, but these tips can be useful if you are unsure.