Eat More Salads – Three Simple Vinaigrettes

Three Simple Vinaigrettes - abagofflour.com

Do you ever feel like you are overindulging a little bit during the holidays? I don’t know about you, but I am just emerging from my post-Thanksgiving food coma. After all those rich side dishes and deliciously decadent desserts, I find myself craving fresh greens. One of the easiest ways to satisfy this hankering is a lightly dressed simple salad. It’s a perfect side kick for any dinner or lunch, rich in essential minerals and vitamins, and quick to make.

Unfortunately, many store-bought dressings (even vinaigrettes) contain a lot of sodium, fat, sugar, and even high-fructose corn syrup, turning your healthy food choice into a calorie bomb in disguise. So if you are looking for a better option, one solution is to intently study the nutrition facts on the label to make sure you choose a dressing with as few ingredients as possible, preferably olive oil-based. The other option is to simply make your own vinaigrettes. After the initial expense of buying good olive oil, a couple of different types of vinegar, and spices, they are actually a lot cheaper than store-bought salad dressings and much healtier (not to mention super easy to make). Plus, you can develop your very own house-dressing and impress your guests.

But even if you have been making homemade vinaigrettes in the past, you may know that it can still be a bit of a chore to whip up a dressing each time you want to serve a salad as a side. You have to measure all the ingredients, maybe chop up some herbs or shallots, whisk it all together, and then clean up after yourself. No wonder many people prefer to buy premade salad dressings, right?

Cue: the amazing plastic squeeze bottle! Squeeze bottles have completely changed our salad eating habits since I learned about their numerous uses in the kitchen from Kenji Lopez-Alt of seriouseats.com. And here’s why: instead of making a small serving of vinaigrette for each salad, I now make one large batch (or several different batches) at once and keep it in a squeeze bottle in the fridge. Making salads has never been faster and easier. Simply wash and prep the greens and other veggies, throw them in a bowl, grab the squeeze bottle, give it a good shake to get that perfect emulsion back, squeeze the desired amount over your salad, and you’re done. We now have a small simple salad with almost every meal. When I don’t have a lot of time for lunch, I just make myself a quick sandwich and grab some triple-washed mixed greens dressed with a small squeeze from my vinaigrette bottle – a healthy lunch, done in just a couple of minutes. I used to make larger batches of salad dressing and keep them in mason jars in the fridge, but since those jars are not really made for pouring things, it just gets really messy after a while.

If you are intrigued, you can find inexpensive 12-ounce reusable plastic squeeze bottles here on amazon. I promise you will be amazed how much of a difference they make.

Now, to get you even more excited about eating more salads, here are three basic vinaigrettes to get you started. They go well with almost all greens and the balsamic garlic vinaigrette (my personal favorite) even works great with a Caprese salad. These recipes are just suggestions, though, so feel free to play around with the ingredients. The only important thing to keep in mind when experimenting is to use a 3:1 ratio for your oil and vinegar mixture (i.e., 3 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon vinegar) to make sure that your vinaigrette does not come out too sour and to create a perfect emulsion. The vinaigrettes keep in the fridge for at least 2 weeks. If you are adding solids, like minced shallots, herbs, or garlic, to your dressing, you may need to cut off a small portion of the tip of the bottle cap to create a larger hole, so it won’t get clogged as easily. It’s also a good idea to label each bottle, so you won’t forget which dressing it contains and how long ago you made it.

Three Simple Vinaigrettes - abagofflour.com

Balsamic Garlic Vinaigrette

  • Servings: makes about 1 cup
  • Time: 10 minutes
  • Difficulty: very easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 small shallot
  • 2 small garlic cloves
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. If using a squeeze bottle: cut off a portion of the tip to make a larger hole. Rinse bottle and cap.
  2. Mince shallot and garlic cloves.
  3. Add all ingredients to squeeze bottle. Cover hole with a finger and shake until well combined.
  4. Label with masking tape (type of dressing and date).
  5. Store in fridge.

Raspberry Vinegar Dressing

  • Servings: makes about 1 cup
  • Time: 10 minutes
  • Difficulty: very easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon minced shallots
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1.5 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar
  • 1.5 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon red jam or jelly
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. If using a squeeze bottle: cut off a portion of the tip to make a larger hole. Rinse bottle and cap.
  2. Mince shallot.
  3. Add all ingredients to squeeze bottle. Cover hole with a finger and shake until well combined.
  4. Label with masking tape (type of dressing and date).
  5. Store in fridge.

Apple Cider Walnut Vinaigrette

  • Servings: makes about 1 cup
  • Time: 10 minutes
  • Difficulty: very easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 2 green onions
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup walnut oil
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • a pinch of garlic powder
  • a pinch of thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. If using a squeeze bottle: cut off a portion of the tip to make a larger hole. Rinse bottle and cap.
  2. Mince green onions.
  3. Add all ingredients to squeeze bottle. Cover hole with a finger and shake until well combined.
  4. Label with masking tape (type of dressing and date).
  5. Store in fridge.

Enjoy!

Three Simple Vinaigrettes - abagofflour.com


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