Dressing a Salad

These extremely hot summer days have meant a lot of crisp green salads filled with fresh veggies from the market.  I love to dress up a salad with not only garden fresh vegetables, but also seasonal fresh fruit. Something about that sweet crunch makes me feel a wee bit naughty as if I’m eating something I shouldn’t, but it’s so good for me!

Salad with homemade vinaigrette

Now a salad isn’t complete without being dressed.  But, it’s how you dress that salad that can make or break what could be a very healthy meal.

When I changed my lifestyle giving up salad dressing was one of the very first changes I made.  Salad dressings are generally loaded with either fat (in the form of unhealthy oils), sugar and sodium, or a lot of sodium to make up for lack of flavor in low-fat dressings.  None of that appeals to me, so I took to creating my own dressings.  No more creamy sauces smothering the fresh flavors I have grown to love, but vinaigrettes that complement both vegetables and fruit and truly dress my salad.

If it’s as hot where you are as it is here in South Carolina, you would probably enjoy a cold salad yourself, so I thought it would be fun to share my no-fail vinaigrette for a healthy option for topping your own salads.

I use a basic combination for my vinaigrette base; I use 2/3 cup of quality Olive Oil (Walnut oil for a nutty flavor, or  truffle oil you have diluted with a little olive oil for a rich flavor)  to 1 cup of vinegar.  That is a different ratio than most vinaigrettes, but we are looking to lower the fat.  And dressing is to finish off and compliment a salad, not drown a salad.

{Add a little sea salt and black pepper to a clear vinegar for a simple light vinaigrette that accompanies most anything.}

After you have your basic vinaigrette mixed, you can add additional flavors.

Basic Vinaigrette Dressing

Here is one of my favorites that I use as a base for nearly every vinaigrette that I make:

1 cup white wine vinegar

2/3 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (I prefer Maille)

 1 shallot, finely chopped

sea salt & black pepper, to taste

1/2 teaspoon Stevia (I use organic Skinny Girl Stevia), optional

Basic Vinaigrette Ingredients

Other flavoring for my basic vinaigrette are limitless.

*Add artichoke (about 4 ounces canned) and add to your dressing, replacing the vinegar with lemon juice & pureeing in your blender until smooth.  This is also really delicious with a couple of tablespoons of parmesan cheese added.

Artichoke Vinaigrette

*Add 1 teaspoon of organic honey (instead of stevia).

*1 clove of garlic, minced

*Fresh basil, tarragon, mint or rosemary.

*sun-dried tomatoes.

*Freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

*Add a little citrus zest and juice for a citrus flavor (orange and lemon work perfectly for this).

*Or even swap your vinegar out for a different flavor from strawberry infused vinegar to a rich aged balsamic vinegar.

Vinaigrette Ingredients

Each time you reach for your homemade vinaigrette, you have a different exciting flavor to dress your salad!

basic vinaigrette

Besides a crisp green salad, this vinaigrette recipe does so much more as it becomes a marinade for chicken, a pasta salad topper, a glaze for salmon, or a light drizzle for seafood.

My favorite combo?

IMG_9099

A salad of fresh greens topped with 4 ounces grilled chicken breast, fresh strawberries, chick peas, a little blue cheese and a balsamic-dijon vinaigrette.

Mmmmm.

I know what’s for supper tonight!

Have a fabulous Wednesday y’all!

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2 thoughts on “Dressing a Salad

  1. Happy Anniversary! Lots of great tips.

    Is there a reason why I am unable to pin from your blog? I so wanted to add this post to my salad folder and Pinterest says that “no pinnable photos can be found.” I’m in the mood for a healthful salad!

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