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Make your own salad dressing

August 28, 2014 - Taste Buds
The Buds eat a lot of salads. Yeah, we know that's not really news. We like to stay healthy, especially since we do eat out quite a bit (and also indulge on occasion....wink wink), but sometimes, even your standard "healthy" salad can be quite bad for you.

One of the obvious culprits would be topping said salad with a fried meat, like fried chicken strips, or piles of cheese. Some places even put French fries on top of salads! But probably worse than any of those things is the salad dressing.

Salad dressings are what make or break your salad. But too much Ranch dressing and you're breaking your belt instead! Plus, have you ever flipped over that bottle of fat free Italian dressing in your fridge -- you know, your "healthy" option -- to read the list of ingredients?

Go ahead, we'll wait while you run to your kitchen and back. Got it?

The first ingredient is probably water, meaning most of what you just paid about 4 bucks for you can get out of your own faucet. Notice something else? SUGAR! High fructose corn syrup or regular corn syrup, plus more regular sugar. Why all the sugar? Oh, probably because they need to conceal the taste of all that vinegar, phosphoric acid (which is that wonderful ingredient in pop that eats the enamel right off your teeth), xanthan gum, potassium sorbate and sodium phosphate. Sounds like a chemistry lab experiment to us! And it also sounds gross.

Do yourself a favor and stop buying your salad dressing. Just make your own at home. It's much easier than you think. Bud S has been making her own salad dressings at home for several years, and it takes less time to whip up a tasty dressing than it does to chop the veggies that go in the salad!

To make some good dressings at home, you'll use things that you probably already have on hand, including: - Extra virgin olive oil

- Balsamic vinegar (you can also try flavored versions for different flavors - Bud S personally loves pear infused white balsamic vinegar)

- Garlic cloves. Buy fresh cloves and mince yourself - do NOT buy minced garlic in a jar unless you read the label first - most contain high fructose corn syrup!

- Lemon juice and lime juice. If you want, keep fresh lemons and limes on hand, but it's also just as easy to pick up those lemon and lime juices in the produce section (the plastic containers shaped and colored like lemons and limes).

- Assorted fresh herbs

- Dijon mustard

- Salt and pepper to taste

Now you can mix and match your flavors! There's no recipe to follow - just taste and see what else you need to add. Try a 2:1 oil to vinegar ratio and go from there to see if you like it more or less vinegary. Make a great balsamic vinaigrette using olive oil, balsamic, garlic and dijon mustard. Looking for a good dressing for Mexican or taco style salad? Try olive oil mixed with lime juice, garlic and fresh cilantro.

Avocados also make great salad dressing thickeners and can be used in combination with any of these ingredients to make a nice creamy dressing. In addition, you can also search online for some really great and simple salad dressing recipes.

Next time you sit down with a fresh summer salad, don't reach for that bottle of overly processed chemicals. Instead, reach in your pantry and make your own salad dressing - you definitely won't regret it!


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