The Art of Homemade Salad Dressings
Looking for a healthier alternative to store-bought salad dressings that you can make on the spot with staple ingredients from your fridge and pantry? We are too! That’s why we came up with this simple and easy tutorial on how to go about incorporating homemade dressings into your weekly meals.
There are two types of dressing:
- permanently emulsified
- temporarily emulsified
All that means is that permanently emulsified has all of the ingredients bound together by a natural binding agent such as eggs or mustard. Temporarily emulsified means that the ingredients sit separated when not agitated. This is usually when oil and vinegar are added without an emulsifying agent. These mixtures can be bound together temporarily just by shaking, whisking or blending the ingredients together, but they will not hold together forever and will begin to separate over time.
So let’s get to it!
When it comes to ratios for temporarily emulsified dressings it’s best to use 1:3 acid (vinegar, lemon, etc.) to oil. Then there is the addition of flavourings such as herbs, spices, honey, berries, nuts, cheese, shallots, etc. Play around with flavours, that’s what makes dressings fun!
Here is an example of our temporarily emulsified Zesty Italian dressing:
2/3 cup (approx. 150 ml) olive oil
3 tbsp + 1 tsp (50 ml) red or white wine vinegar
1 tbsp Zesty Italian Blend
1 shallot, chopped finely
Add everything into a mason jar and shake well. This dressing will hold up in the fridge for one week. It should be noted that this recipe template can be used with the majority of our spice blends. Explore the many blends available through the TasteTro Spice System and add variety to your salads by replacing the Zesty Italian blend with which ever blend you see fit.
For permanently emulsified salad dressings, we can use the same ratio of oil to vinegar, but it’s not always necessary to have so much acid. Sometimes it’s nice to just have a hint of acid, especially if the dressing is creamy so a tablespoon is more than enough.
Creamy dressings don’t always have dairy in them to make them creamy, they just appear this way when the oil is whipped. The agitation turns the oil into a creamy-like consistency.
One of the more important factors when it comes to permanently emulsified dressings is how we will bind everything together. We will start with an egg yolk and 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard to 100-150 ml of oil. It’s the amount of oil to egg yolk that is important in emulsified dressings. One egg yolk can bind 100-150 ml of oil.
Also, sometimes the addition of a teaspoon of water is a good idea to help bind the dressing together, make it smooth or if it’s too thick, it will help thin it out.
Here is an example of our permanently emulsified Country Ranch Dressing:
1 egg yolk
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
150 ml light olive oil (don’t use extra virgin as the flavour is too strong)
¼ cup full-fat sour cream
¼ cup full-fat buttermilk (optional or double up on sour cream)
1 tbsp Country Ranch Blend
Whisk together the first 3 ingredients in a small bowl. Then slowly, in no thicker than a pencil thin stream, pour the oil into the yolk mixture while continuously whisking. The oil should be incorporating into the yolk and turning creamy. Once all of the oil is incorporated, add the remaining ingredients. Whisk until evenly distributed. This dressing will last for about one week in the fridge.
A good dressing combined with unconventional combinations of veggies, fruit, fresh herbs, cheese and nut/seeds makes for a great salad. Our latest favourite salad combo is radicchio, cilantro, pumpkin seeds, roasted butternut squash and beets with our Zesty Italian dressing. Give it a try tonight. Happy salad eating!