If you do one simple thing to change your diner game, make your own salad dressing. You heard me, right? Just checking… It takes five minutes and uses only four ingredients that you should have stocked in your pantry or fridge. The return on flavor (not to mention the health benefits of ditching bottled salad dressing) are immeasurable. I won’t lecture you about all the gross preservatives, sodium, thickeners and chemicals in store bought salad dressings (see what I did there?). Just trust me when I say you will never regret mastering this vinaigrette. I better mention quickly that I do prefer a lot of tang and zip and acidity in my dressings. But you can play with that and decide if you prefer a little more olive oil in yours. Here’s a quick tutorial to set you up for many happy salad days ahead.
Lesson 1: Use good quality ingredients. Look for cold press, unfiltered, extra virgin olive oil. Definitely do not use mass-produced, clear, flavorless olive oils. I’ve been using Old Country Olive Oil, which is from a family farm in Lebanon and sold locally in Houston and through their website. Each bottle is numbered and labeled by hand, and they give a portion of their proceeds to MS research. It’s delicious.
Lesson 2: Dice your shallots very small, and bonus points for letting them soak in champagne vinegar for a few minutes before you add the other ingredients. The shallots will mellow in flavor and bite after they’ve taken a little bath in the acidity.
Lesson 4: Taste your dressing before you toss your salad. Use a leaf of lettuce to dip into the dressing to get a real taste test. Is it too tart? Add more olive oil. Too flat? Add a generous pinch of sea salt or a little more vinegar. You get the picture.
Lesson 5: Please for the sake of all things delicious, do NOT over dress your salad. Each leaf should be lightly coated in dressing, without any extra pooling in the bottom of your bowl. If you need more dressing after you’ve tossed it well, you can always drizzle on a little more. Better yet, leave the mason jar of your delicious dressing sitting by the salad bowl for heavy hitters.
Super Simple Salad Dressing
This dressing is equally delicious with mild butter lettuce as it is with spicier greens, such as arugula or watercress. You can also drizzle it over a rice or quinoa bowl or grilled vegetables.
- 1/4 cup champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon minced shallot (you can substitute 1 teaspoon minced garlic if you prefer)
- Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- In a mason jar with a tight fitting lid, add together all the ingredients. Seal tightly and shake to emulsify.
- Alternately, in a medium size bowl add the first four ingredients. Slowly whisk in the olive oil to emulsify.
- Keep covered in the refrigerator for up to a week. Let the salad dressing come to room temperature before shaking it will and drizzling on your greens.