Posted on

7 Homemade Salad Dressing Recipes

“The secret of a good salad is its dressing. Not only does a dressing add flavour and interest but it also marries its individual ingredients into a harmonious whole.”

homemade salad dressing ingredients
Why buy salad dressings loaded with preservatives and artificials when you can mix a superior one yourself in minutes, using the freshest ingredients?

Salad dressings are not new – a basic mixture of olive oil, vinegar or lemon juice, and salt has been used since ancient times in the countries bordering the Mediterranean.

Today you can go into any food market and choose from a wide range of dressings. But why buy ready-made ones loaded with preservatives and artificial flavourings when you can mix a superior one yourself in minutes, using the finest and freshest ingredients.

The Classic Salad Dressing

The classic French salad dressing is known as a vinaigrette.

There is an old French saying that it takes four men to make a good vinaigrette: a spendthrift for the oil, a miser for the vinegar, a wise man for the salt and a madman for the pepper.

The classic proportions for a vinaigrette are 1 part vinegar to 3 parts oil. Salt and pepper are essential, and most French chefs will add a teaspoon of Dijon mustard, some fresh herbs and a pinch of sugar to emulsify the dressing.

This classic vinaigrette adds flavour and interest to green salads, tomato, and cucumber salads.

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoons wine vinegar, preferably tarragon vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Whisk the oil with the vinegar, mustard, herbs, and salt and pepper until well blended.

Alternatively, place all the ingredients in a screw-top jar and shake vigorously to combine well before using.

This basic dressing can be varied in many ways:

Indian Style Salad Dressing

For cooked vegetables, rice or pasta. Add 1 small crushed garlic clove and 1 tablespoon finely chopped onion, fried until soft in 1 teaspoon oil with 1 teaspoon curry powder.

Anchovy Style Salad Dressing

For raw salads, potato, pasta, roasted sweet (bell) peppers or tomatoes. Thoroughly soak 4 anchovies to remove the salt and fillet them if necessary. Puree the with 1 teaspoon capers. Add this mixture to the classic vinaigrette.

Herb Salad Dressing

Chop some chives, chervil and parsley with a few tarragon and mint leaves. Prepare the classic vinaigrette and add in the herbs.

Nutty Salad Dressing

Chop ½ cup (50g) walnuts, peanuts or hazelnuts, or a mixture of all three. Prepare a salad. Make a classic vinaigrette and add the chopped nuts at the last minute just before tossing the dressing into the salad and serving.

Herby Lemon-Lime Salad Dressing

Lemon and lime juice is another popular variation on the classic recipe. Here we combine it with herbs for a dressing to serve with a classic tomato, cucumber and onion salad.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 tbs chopped fresh herbs (e.g. mint, parsley, chives, thyme, tarragon)
  • salt and pepper

Whisk together in a blender, or place all the ingredients in a screw top jar and shake vigorously to combine well before using.

Minty Salad Dressing

This light and refreshing salad dressing goes well with a cucumber salad, cold potato salad or tossed lightly over a fruit salad or apple and tuna salad.

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
  • pinch of sugar
  • salt and pepper

Whisk together in a blender, or place all the ingredients in a screw top jar and shake vigorously to combine well before using. Set aside for at least 15 minutes to allow the flavours to develop, then whisk or shake again before using.

Basic Creamy Salad Dressing

The addition of cream or yoghurt to a salad dressing puts it into a completely new dimension. Like the classic vinaigrette recipe you can use this one as the basis for endless variations.

The secret of a good salad is its dressing. Not only does a dressing add flavour and interest but it also marries its individual ingredients into a harmonious whole.

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream, sour cream, whipped cream or yoghurt
  • 1 tablespoon  fresh lemon juice or wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp fresh herbs, minced (dill, parsley, thyme)
  • Salt
  • Ground black pepper

Whisk all the ingredients, except the oil, together in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the oil. Set aside for at least 15 minutes to allow the flavours to develop, then whisk or shake again before using.

Share the love of herbs! Please use your favourite social network
buttons to share these homemade salad dressing recipes with your family and friends.

Posted on

Video: Making Healthier Salad Dressings

healthy salad dressing videoFor healthier salad dressings substitute the vinegar with lemon juice. It adds loads of vitamin C, minerals and limonene – a phytochemical that shows promising anticancer activities. It also improves the flavour of the herbs; vinegar has an overpowering tendency.

Also substitute the seed oil with the best quality olive oil you can afford for better flavour and for healthy omega-9’s. Ot use fat-free yoghurt for a zero fat salad dressing.

And don’t forget to go really overboard on the fresh herbs, especially garlic and parsley, to give your immune system a really good boost.

Here’s Jamie Oliver’s Zero Fat Salad Dressing. He uses fat free yoghurt, hot English mustard and basil to make a really delicious and healthy salad dressing.

Please share this!

Posted on

Insalata Caprese – Tomato and Mozzarella Salad

Much like chilli peppers, basil is an obsession in our food garden and in our cooking. This recipe is one of the first we make every year when the basil starts overflowing with abundance and the first tomatoes ripens on the vines. It’s also the recipe we probably make most during the course of the growing season.

caprese salad with fresh basil
An old time favourite! Caprese salad with fresh basil.

Insalata Caprese (salad in the style of Capri or Tomato and Mozzarella Salad) is a simple salad from the Italian region of Campania, made of sliced fresh mozzarella, plum tomatoes and basil. Balsamic vinegar, good olive oil, salt and pepper make up the dressing.

According to Wikipedia, ideally, the mozzarella is “di bufala campana“, the olive oil is “extra virgin” from the peninsula of “Sorrento” and the tomatoes and basil are grown in the full sun of the “mezzogiorno“.

This is one of those recipes that celebrates simple food, local produce and healthy eating. It simply bursts with flavour and it is packed with protective antioxidant nutrients and health promoting phytonutrients. It also provides nearly a third of your daily vitamin A and vitamin C requirements and also nearly half of your calcium requirements.

Use tomatoes of any type as long as they burst with flavour. Vine-ripened tomatoes from your own organic food garden are best. You really need top-quality tomatoes for this salad, so if you don’t have any, rather make another salad instead.

Serve Insalata Caprese as an appetizer, or as a side dish. And by the way, the colours of the salad is that of the Italian flag.

Buon appetito!

tomato mozzarella salad

Insalata Caprese
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Serve the salad immediately or cover and set aside at room temperature for an hour or so to allow the flavours to develop. When serving later, dress with only half the oil and vinegar.
By:
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 4
  • 4 large ripe, full-flavoured tomatoes
  • 225 g mozzarella cheese
  • 60 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 30 ml balsamic vinegar
  • 75 ml fresh basil leaves, shredded fine
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  1. Cut the tomatoes into thin (about 3 - 5 mm) slices and slice to mozzarella to a similar thickness.
  2. Sprinkle your serving plate with a dash of salt and a twist of black pepper.
  3. Arrange the tomatoes and mozzarella in slightly overlapping circles on the seasoned serving plate.
  4. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and sprinkle over shredded basil leaves.
  5. Season with salt and pepper.

Posted on

Grilled Corn Salad with Cilantro and Chive Mayonnaise

On our list of favourite flavour combinations the combination of corn + chives + cilantro + sweet peppers features prominently. This recipe is especially good when made with freshly harvested sweet corn and vine ripened sweet peppers from the food garden.

This easy corn salad recipe is a must when you are having a “braai”. It is simple to make and goes well with any type of meat. I prefer it with chicken or lamb.

Grilled corn salad recipe

Grilled Corn Salad with Cilantro and Chive Mayonnaise
 
By:
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 4
  • 6 medium corn cobs (leaves removed)
  • 20g butter for rubbing
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon chives finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 red pepper, de-seeded, finely chopped
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  1. Rub each corn cob with butter.
  2. Roast the corn on an open fire or grill for approximately 10-15 minutes turning regularly.
  3. Remove the corn from the heat and set aside to cool.
  4. Meanwhile take a mixing bowl and combine the mayonnaise and yogurt together.
  5. Add the chopped chives, cilantro, and cayenne.
  6. Use a knife and remove the corn from the cob.
  7. Add the corn to the mayonnaise mixture, and mix.
  8. Add the chopped red pepper, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and mix.
  9. Serve cold.
Notes
Variations: Use red chilies instead of red peppers.
Tip: Your grill or fire can be hot, just make sure you turn the corn regularly so that it doesn’t burn, but still obtains some grill marks, which adds great flavour.