Making your own salad dressing may sound hippy dippy, but it really isn’t an involved process and takes all of two minutes. If you can pour oil and vinegar into a jar, sprinkle in some seasonings and then give it a shake, then you have all the skills needed to craft a simple homemade vinaigrette salad dressing.
Store-bought salad dressings are typically loaded with preservatives, excess sugar, sodium and other things that help keep them shelf stable. Many brands have an artificial taste to them that, once you’ve tried regular, non-processed salad dressing, is almost off-putting.
Making your own vinaigrette at home is very easy and quick. Conventional cooking wisdom says that you should slowly add the oil drop by drop while whisking it into the emulsifier (e.g., mustard, egg) in order to create a perfectly blended dressing. This is of course the “proper” way to achieve a long-lasting emulsion, but when it’s lunchtime and I’m in the mood for a big salad, I’m not busting out a bowl and whisk just for the dressing.
Instead, I combine the ingredients in a small mason jar and shake it vigorously to combine everything. It blends together just fine, and if you pour it over your salad right away, you don’t need to worry about it separating.
Simply save the leftover dressing in the jar (refrigerated if it contains ingredients that can spoil, such as minced garlic) and shake again when you’re about to use it next.
That’s not to say that you should never use store-bought salad dressings ever again. (I’m the last person who would use the words “never” or “always” when it comes to nutrition!) There are many brands available that use fewer ingredients and contain fewer preservatives than others, so be sure to read the ingredient list and nutrition label before buying.
Try this vinaigrette the next time you make a salad (I used it in this healthy vegetarian chef’s salad). It’s especially delicious when made with really good extra-virgin olive oil!
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp honey
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- Find a mason jar or any other container with a lid. Add all the ingredients to the jar, replace the lid tightly and shake vigorously to combine.
- The dressing can be refrigerated until needed. Bring to room temperature before serving.