My local grocery store has about twelve linear feet, shelf upon shelf, dedicated to nothing but salad dressings. If you’ve stepped foot inside a supermarket recently, you’ve probably walked past a similar display without giving it a thought. Thousand Island, Italian, French, Ranch – you name it, they’ve got it, ready to use and probably laced with an unpronounceable ingredient or two. A few brands come in glass, but most are sold in plastic bottles. Plastic bottles that we buy fully intending to add them to the waste stream. (Doesn’t that just make you wonder how we came to this??) Sure, maybe you’ll recycle, but that still requires fossil fuels for transportation and the reclamation process.
Just imagine how many bottles of dressing one store must sell in a day. It’s kind of mind-boggling, really. Especially when making salad dressing is such easy thing to do. I think Breaking the habit of buying salad dressing is probably harder than actually making it. So, first step: next time you find yourself ogling the vast array of options, step back and think about the waste and the fact that you are fully capable of making a lovely salad dressing at home for much less than you’d pay for one of those bottles.
Next, start trying recipes to see what you like. By far the easiest way to dress a salad is with vinegar and oil. Bring a pretty container of each to the table and let each diner pour on the amount they’d like. Easy, peasy – but not always what salad eaters are after. Personally, I like a bit more oomph.
When I make salad dressing, I tend to use a “little of this, little of that” method, but I made one recently that my family loved so much that I jotted down the ingredients. Here it is:
- 3/4 olive oil
- 1/4 cup vinegar (I’ve used red or white wine vinegar)
- 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 Tablespoons sour cream
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- salt and pepper to taste
Put all ingredients in a glass jar. Tighten the lid and shake vigorously until ingredients are well blended. Ta-da! You’re ready to dress your salad.
I’ve yet to have success with a homemade ranch style dressing, but that’s the only sticking point for me. (I’m open to suggestions, if anyone’s got a great recipe!) Other recipes you might like to try:
- Mustard seed vinaigrette from My Kids Eat Squid
- Mustard (no seeds!) vinaigrette from Good. Food. Stories.
- Pomegranate salad dressing from Words to Eat By
- Thousand Island dressing from Alton Brown
- Blue cheese salad dressing from Hazeltree Farm
Do you have a favorite homemade salad dressing recipe? If it’s online, please share a link below – I’d love to expand my collection of go-to recipes.