I clearly remember the first time that I made my own salad dressing. I think I have bought perhaps only one ‘ready-made’ dressing since!
There are a number of reasons why making your own dressing is so much better than buying a pre-made one and here are my top reasons:
1) Cost – it is much cheaper to make your own dressing and the best thing is – you make only what you need. If it is just for you then you can make a tiny bit with no wastage.
2) Variation – Buying one type of dressing means that you are stuck with that dressing on your salad, regardless of whether that is the best dressing for your salad. Making your own and making only what you need means you can make a different dressing every day without needing to dedicate an entire shelf in your fridge to salad dressing bottles.
3) Taste – Freshly made dressings, tailored to your salad will (in my opinion), pretty much always taste better than pre-made equivalents. You can make it saltier, sweeter, more creamy, more lemony, less peppery , spicier….and so on until you get it just right. Having the ability to adapt your dressing to suit the dish makes absolute sense.
4) Nutrition – yes the dietitian in me is bound to come out at some point!! But you can use dressings to up the nutrient score of your salad. Using healthy fats in dressings such as pumpkin seed oil (don’t be alarmed by the colour!), chia seed oil (tasteless but packed with omega 3 fats), tahini (one of my favourite dressings of all time) and even good old extra virgin olive oil can all enhance your meal nutritionally speaking.
Here are my 3 top salad dressing recipes
French mustard dressing
6 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
½ clove garlic crushed
1 pinch sea salt
pinch freshly ground black pepper
Mix all the ingredients up and give it a good shake and use on salads – goes really well with simple green salads
100mls natural yoghurt (full fat works best here)
2tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
pinch of salt and pepper
Shake it all up together and use over EVERYTHING. This is the most useful and delicious dressing – try it!
Juice of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 lemon
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp tahini
1 garlic clove, crushed
Mix the above ingredients together well, stirring to ensure it is all well combined. It will be a rather thick paste to which you now add water, 1 tbsp at a time, stirring well after each addition, until you get the desired consistency (I like it the thickness of single cream). It is fantastic on salads but also especially good with roasted vegetables , falafels and/or cous cous dishes.
So have a go, all you need to get started (apart from the ingredients) is an old jam jar with a screw top lid (that works!). Remember that should you make more than you need then just keep it in the lidded jar in the fridge and it should be fine for about 5 days.
Good luck and have some fun experimenting!