Salads are an excellent way to eat your veggies but sometimes what we add to our salads isn’t as good for us. Many salad dressings have a lot of added sugar, sodium, preservatives, and artificial colors. For a healthier salad dressing option, consider making your own vinaigrette. When you make your own, you’re able to include healthy fats and choose the flavors that you enjoy the most while eliminating all of those unwanted “extras”.
The basic formula for a vinaigrette is 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar. Add some salt and pepper and other seasonings to taste. The easiest way to make it is to combine the ingredients in a glass jar, cover, and shake. Here are a few more tips to make your own vinaigrette:
1) Choose an oil. Extra virgin olive oil is a great choice! Other possibilities include light flavored grapeseed or canola oils.
2) Choose a vinegar. You can choose red or white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, fruit flavored vinegars (berry, pear, etc.)…the list goes on and on! You can also add some citrus juice as part of the vinegar. Lemon, lime, or orange juice are wonderful flavors to add.
3) Choose flavor enhancers. The possibilities here are endless! Consider different herbs and spices; minced garlic, shallots, and onions; sweeten with sugar, honey, or maple syrup; add Dijon mustard for flavor and help emulsifying the dressing.
4) Mix. This can be done a few different ways. As mentioned above, combining the ingredients in a glass jar is the easiest (and makes less dishes!) You can also combine the vinegar and flavor enhancers in a blender or glass bowl and blend or whisk while adding a stream of olive oil. This helps emulsify the oil particles.
5) Eat. Vinaigrettes are excellent on salads but don’t stop there! Use them as marinades for meat, poultry, and fish; brush vegetables with dressing before roasting and toss them in it before serving; add to a cold salad of wild rice, quinoa or other whole grain, legumes, and vegetables.