Leave the bottled salad dressing on the store shelf. You might be thinking, "But I buy 'low-fat' dressing so it isn't that bad…"
When food manufacturers take out the fat, they are putting something else in to help with palatability and when it comes to dressing…it's most likely sugar and excess calories.
Instead of a sweet dressing try different salad toppers that provide an equally sweet taste such as:
- Dried fruit- cranberries, cherries, raisins
- Sweet corn
- Cherry tomatoes
- Mandarin oranges
If you smother your salad in dressing you'll be missing out on the fresh taste of the produce and that's the best thing about spring/summer- fresh produce.
Making your own vinaigrette is an easy way to add life to your summer salads. They can be sweet, savory, spicy and even warm or cold. For salad ingredients with a stronger flavor such as spicy greens, bacon, and eggs choose a vinaigrette that can stand up to those bold notes with an equally savory flavor (#1). For mild salad ingredients such as sweet lettuces and fruits choose a vinaigrette that will complement them and not overpower (#2).
Below are three examples to get you started! (Printable PDF Version)
1. 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil + 1 Tbs Dijon mustard + 2 Tbs red wine vinegar + ½ lemon, juiced + 2 Tbs chives, minced + 2 Tbs shallots, minced — (SAVORY)
2. 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil + 1/2 lemon, juiced + 2 Tbs honey + 1/4 cup fresh herbs, minced (ex: basil, parsley, oregano, chives) + salt and pepper to taste — (SWEET)
3. 1 garlic clove, minced + 1 Tbs ginger, grated + 3 Tbs rice wine vinegar + 3 Tbs sesame oil + 3 Tbs low-sodium soy sauce + 1 Tbs scallion, chopped + 1 Tbs honey or orange juice — (ASIAN-INSPIRED)
*If you've ever made an oil and vinegar dressing you know that the two don't stay mixed. For this reason, you need an emulsifier- honey and mustard are two emulsifiers that will get the job done.
Want more summer salad ideas? Check out, Build-Your-Own Grain Salad with a printable mix-and-match ingredient chart.
Can your oil stand up to the heat? Find out if you're using the right cooking oil in, Fats and Oils and Their Smoke Points.