Salad Dressing Done Right

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It's the middle of winter here in Toronto right now. And while that typically has me craving ALLLLL the root veggies, this year I'm finding salads are super duper welcome. Sometimes you just need a great big punch of greens to lighten your day (since the sun sets before 5pm everyday. THE.WORST.)

I absolutely love how many ways you can prepare a salad to suit your guests or the other food at the table. One of the most beautiful things about salads is that they’re already filled with LOADS of nutrients because of the veggies and the versatility of those veggie combinations. However, one of the biggest roadblocks about a salad is finding a suitable dressing that isn’t filled with awful-for-you ingredients. Not to worry!! These two awesome dressing recipes below will guide you in the right direction for all of your salad making days ahead; whether you’re looking for fresh, vinaigrette based dressing or a sultry, creamy salad!

Salad Dressing Done Right

Vinaigrette Dressing

This dressing can be used on any salad where you would be looking for an oil-based dressing. Think something like arugula, carrots and orange segments type salad! Feel free to sub out different flavours to suit the vegetables you choose to include. See below for further suggestions:

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil (or light tasting olive oil or avocado oil)
  • Juice from one orange or a similar citrus fruit (or a splash of OJ!)
  • 2 tbsp of sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp of Dijon mustard; aim for a like-flavour if you’re using a flavoured Dijon (ie: lime & honey)

Directions

  • Put all ingredients in a jar and shake vigorously until the ingredients have blended!
  • Pour over your salad and toss the salad to coat the ingredients before serving.
  • Pair with your favourite grilled meat, or top with a plant-based protein like chickpeas or sprouted beans.

Play around with the recipe depending on what your salad contains. Are you including some root veggies and cabbage? Perhaps try a fig-dijon mustard or smoky maple mustard and replace the citrus & sesame oil with balsamic vinegar! Have fun with it! Maybe give it a go with this Sesame Citrus & Arugula Salad from my recipes archive!

Creamy Dressing

Store-bought creamy dressings are the pits, am I right? Filled with icky milk products and fillers that leave us feeling pretty gross and worn down after consuming. But this doesn’t mean we need to avoid creamy-texture salads all together! For the past three years, my immersion blender has been saving my life when it comes to creamy dressings. If you don’t have an immersion blender and you’re craving a healthy-for-you creamy salad, I would highly recommend picking one of these bad-boys up. They’re not terribly expensive and they’re such a great kitchen tool to have (helloooooo blended winter soups!).

I learned about this method of making your own homemade mayo from Juli Bauer (blogger at Paleomg.com) and I haven’t looked back. This homemade mayo provides a great base for creamy dressings! Her method points to making the mayo, but that is clearly too thick of a texture to drizzle on your salads, so I change up the spices depending on what I’m making and thinned the texture by adding a milk alternative (I tend to favour almond milk, but choose whichever you prefer! Hemp is also great if you have a milk or nut allergy).

Ingredients

(I included my favourite herbs/spices so be sure to change up to suit your salad)

  • ⅔ cup avocado oil (or light tasting olive oil) ** DO NOT use extra virgin olive oil as the flavour is too strong **
  • 1 egg (raw)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice (or apple cider vinegar)
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 4 tablespoons of unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon of dried dill (2+ tablespoons if you’re using fresh dill)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Directions

Put the oil, egg, lemon juice, mustard all in a tall container (usually immersion blenders come with one; if not, you can use a tall measuring cup). Allow the ingredients to sit for a minute for optimal blending. Put the immersion blender right to the bottom of the cup and blend on high, moving the blender to the top and back down again to allow the ingredients to emulsify.

You shouldn’t need to do this longer than 30 seconds. Allow this to sit for a minute. From there, add in the dill, garlic, salt and 1 tablespoon of milk. Stir gently. Continue to add 1 tablespoon of milk and stir until the dressing has reached your desired consistency! Note: the dressing tastes best after sitting in the fridge for two hours.

Choose your most favourite herbs and spices to make this dressing your own! And the fun doesn’t need to end with salads. Taco Tuesday? Perfect – blend this up with some cilantro, chili powder, cumin, onion powder & cayenne to make a kick-ass topping for your tacos!

Now it’s your turn! Head over to the kitchen and show me how you’re welcoming in spring with all your salads and homemade dressings. Hashtag your photos #dressingdoneright so I can see your creations!