How can I Make Salad Dressing?

N. Madison
N. Madison

Fresh salad dressings that you make at home may taste better than store-bought varieties. Also, they offer the cook the opportunity to experiment, trying different flavors, without spending a lot of money on bottled dressing. Perhaps best of all, make-at-home salad dressings can be made with just a few ingredients, often items that most people already have on hand. When you make salad dressing, you can save time that might otherwise be spent traveling to a grocery store.

Salad greens.
Salad greens.

One of the easiest and most popular salad dressings to make at home is oil and vinegar. To make this salad dressing, you'll need a clove of garlic. Start by mashing the garlic clove in a bowl. Then add a pinch of salt to the bowl; the exact amount of salt will depend on your tastes, but it's best to add a small amount at this juncture and then add more, if needed, when it comes time to taste it. Next, add about 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon (2.5 to 3.7 milliliters) of mustard; it's best to avoid the dull yellow flavor and go for something a little more spicy.

Frisee, which is often included in salad.
Frisee, which is often included in salad.

When you make salad dressing of this type, you can save the vinegar and oil for last. Add about a 1 to 2 tablespoons (14.8 to 29.6 milliliters) of vinegar to your mixture. The exact amount will vary according to taste, so you may want to try a different amount each time until you achieve a dressing that pleases you 100 percent. Use a fork to mix the vinegar into your garlic-salt-mustard mixture.

Parmesan cheese can be used to flavor salad dressing.
Parmesan cheese can be used to flavor salad dressing.

Now add 3 tablespoons (44.4 milliliters) of extra-virgin olive oil and mix it in with your fork. Most people recommend a 3:1 ratio of oil to vinegar, but tasting as you go along will help you decide what's best for your palate. Finally, follow up with some black pepper. Freshly ground is best.

Olive oil is a common ingredient in salad dressings.
Olive oil is a common ingredient in salad dressings.

This dressing takes just five minutes to make. You can make salad dressing right before you serve your meal or prepare it ahead of time and store it in a clean jar. However, you may not wish to stop with this basic oil and vinegar recipe. To give your salad topping more flavor, you can make salad dressing with fresh herbs and even Parmesan cheese added to perk things up. Shallots and sugar are also popular add-in items.

Orange juice mixed with vinegar adds flavor to salads.
Orange juice mixed with vinegar adds flavor to salads.

If you're really in a pinch and need to make salad dressing with little on hand, a simple lemon-lime juice mixture adds a tasty zest to salad. You could even mix orange juice with vinegar for more flavor. It's best to use balsamic, red wine, or white wine vinegar when you make salad dressing, as these provide the best flavor. As an alternative to mixing your dressing up in a bowl, you can put your ingredients in a jar, seal it tightly, and shake the jar until the ingredients are well mixed.

Many different flavors of salad dressing can be made.
Many different flavors of salad dressing can be made.
Greek yogurt can be used as a base for creamy salad dressings.
Greek yogurt can be used as a base for creamy salad dressings.
Honey is a key ingredient in many homemade salad dressings.
Honey is a key ingredient in many homemade salad dressings.
Simple salads are easily enhanced with the addition of a tasteful dressing.
Simple salads are easily enhanced with the addition of a tasteful dressing.
To make oil and vinegar salad dressing, you'll need a full clove of garlic.
To make oil and vinegar salad dressing, you'll need a full clove of garlic.
N. Madison
N. Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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