I'm curious about the world around me. I also like to eat delicious homemade foods.
Why Make Homemade Salad Dressing
My sister-in-law, Resi, lives in Switzerland. She is a fantastic cook. I also discovered something new in her kitchen. Apparently, most Europeans do not buy salad dressing . . . they make their own from scratch. She was positively amused that we buy salad dressing and pay so much for something so simple that can be whipped up in a moment's notice and with very few ingredients.
I am guilty of buying salad dressing because I am North American and we like convenience, but I have to admit the homemade stuff is every bit as delicious, has no chemicals or preservatives, and is easy to prepare . . . so I should make it more often. The Europeans only make what is required for each salad . . . no leftovers in the fridge. You don’t even need a recipe for making salad dressing once you have the basic combination of ingredients . . . it is that easy. You make it to your tastes!
These Simple Ingredients Taste Great
This simple basic dressing is whipped up in a jiffy. You add the flavours you like. Vinaigrettes require oil, vinegar, water and spices—sweetness is added to cut the acidity and make the dressing milder. The amounts are for one salad serving, so quick you can mix each up individually as you need it… but do make it up fresh every time and add fresh herbs if at all possible! This is a mild vinaigrette that goes with any leafy salad, including salads with fruits added.
- 1 tablespoon of grapeseed oil, (substitute olive oil or your favourite)
- 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar (substitute lemon juice, cider vinegar …or any other flavoured vinegar)
- 1 teaspoon of creamy honey (substitute sugar)
- a pinch of salt
- pepper to taste
- Mix all of the ingredients together and whisk until smooth.
- Add only enough water, more or less, to adjust the intensity of the flavours. (If you like strong dressing, use less water!)
- Toss it onto the salad herbs of your choice.
Variations to Create Your Own Signature Dressing
To this you can also any one of the following: mustard, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, a little wine, fruit juice (not all of these at once) plus fresh or dried herbs that are compatible with the flavours and dishes of your main course. Add the “extras” in small quantities for subtle flavour. I like the basic four ingredients the best and add one or two of the others to change the flavour slightly.
The idea is to use the basic four ingredients of oil, vinegar, honey and water ( or the substitutes) and come up with different flavour combinations each time. It is like having a fridge full of different flavours! A dressing with grape seed oil, balsamic and honey will taste different than using olive oil, wine vinegar and sugar with Italian herbs . . . you get the idea.
Because you make up the dressing in serving sizes you save space and don’t have expired salad dressings in the fridge. Best of all, you can come up with your own "Signature" house dressing that will always be on hand!
Summer and Winter Menu Ideas
There are many ways to make a complete meal with your green salad. In the summer, make it a complete meal by adding a combination of protein, starches and fruits and vegetables!
- protein (chunks of ham, chicken, cheese, egg, seafood)
- starches (I cook more than I would use at another meal and use the leftover for salads such as:cooked potato- regular and sweet, pasta and even rice - in moderation),
- fruit (apple, orange segments, pineapple and even ripe papaya or mango chunks)
- vegetables: cooked peas or fresh, grated carrot, raw broccoli, raw cauliflower etc.
- garnishes of dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, flax seed, bacon bits and nuts
In the winter, complement your salad with a great beef stew and fresh bread, spaghetti and all pasta dishes and casseroles!
Beth Webster-Duerr from Henrietta, New York on September 09, 2018:
Yes, as an American, I buy way too many prepared salad dressings. As an empty nester, I'm always looking for easy recipes that can be made quickly. This recipe sounds wonderful. I'm going to try it with and without poppy seeds which is one of my favorite dressings. I'd rate it 5 Stars if you had the module here. :) Thanks for sharing.
Maggie Griess (author) from Ontario, Canada on July 10, 2012:
Thanks for commenting! Much appreciated!
Maggie Griess (author) from Ontario, Canada on July 10, 2012:
Thanks Victoria...I always taste as I go along until I get the flavor I like so the dressing is always a little different...so I never get bored of it. One really great use for this is to add a larger quantity (one half cup) it to warm boiled and sliced potatoes for a warm potato salad. adding very thin slivers of onion just makes it great. Leftovers are just as good, if not better!
Victoria Lynn from Arkansas, USA on July 10, 2012:
This is a great basic recipe that is fun because people can vary it to their own tastes. This is neat. I have a hub on my own homemade vinaigrette dressing; I think I'll link yours to mine. Good job!
Maggie Griess (author) from Ontario, Canada on June 22, 2012:
Hi Angela! The sky is the limit on how you vary this simple recipe..so have fun! Thanks for stopping by!
Angela Brummer from Lincoln, Nebraska on June 22, 2012:
Thank you this will be very useful!
Maggie Griess (author) from Ontario, Canada on May 24, 2011:
Hi senorjohn! Yes, you need to add sweetness to vinegar. I always taste test it to see if it needs diluting with water or a juice as well. My friend discovered pineapple juice (from the can)as an addition and that was pretty great since she added the pineapple chunks to the salad as well!
Thanks for commenting! Cheers!
seanorjohn on May 24, 2011:
Wish I had read this last week. My salad dressing was a disaster. If only I had added honey or sugar things would have turned out differently. I followed an easy internet recipe that must have been concocted by a practical joker.
Maggie Griess (author) from Ontario, Canada on January 11, 2011:
Thank you Sally for linking this Hub to your beef stew Hub!
This vinegarette is a great way to save money...and have a fresh dressing with no preservatives and bonus, made exactly to your own tastes!
Goes well with any green salad and Sally's beef stew! It looks very good, especially since I am famished after work! Sure could use a potful! Reader's please check it out!
Sherri from Southeastern Pennsylvania on January 11, 2011:
This is the best Hub I've read on making homemade vinaigrette. You've given every economic reason for making it yourself, you've talked about the basic chemistry of a vinaigrette, how to vary that chemistry based on your own tastes, and you've given an example. I've linked to your Hub from my Hub on beef stew. Voted up and useful!
Maggie Griess (author) from Ontario, Canada on November 26, 2010:
Lucky Cats, I love balsamic vinegar as well...such a unique and delicious flavor! Your recipe sounds a lot like mine and so easy to make and economical and space saving! Everyone should try it once! It is still a good standby if you run out of a salad dressing at the very least!
Thank you for stopping by and leaving your comments!
Kathy from The beautiful Napa Valley, California on November 26, 2010:
I LOVE Balsamic vinegar...truly, I have a salad w/Balsamic vinegar, canola oil, honey or sugar or agave, water, ground pepper...every day. Yours is a good recipe. Thank you!
Maggie Griess (author) from Ontario, Canada on September 28, 2010:
breakfastpop Coming from you that is a compliment since I drool at each and every one of your breakfasts.Usually, I can be found with my head in the fridge checking to see if I have the ingredients! Thanks for stopping by!
breakfastpop on September 28, 2010: