October 25, 2011

Smart Thinking Lifestyle Tip: Make Your Own Salad Dressing ~ featuring 4 delicious & easy recipes

Thanks to Tervis for sponsoring my writing. Visit their website http://www.tervis.com to learn more about the world’s first smart cup. In the spirit of 'smart' ideas, here's one of my favorite Smart Thinking Lifestyle tips:


A classic balsamic vinaigrette should have 5 ingredients or less.  It shouldn't read like the back of an oven cleaner bottle.

Have you looked at the ingredient list on a bottle of store-bought salad dressing lately?  Modified Food Starch, artificial flavor, and powdered cellulose are just some of the items you may find in many commercial dressings.  Not familiar with cellulose?  It's a food additive made from wood pulp to prevent clumping, add creaminess, and boost fiber.  Eek!

While there are a handful of  junk-free dressings to be found in most grocery stores, it can be more delicious and far more economical to make your own.  Just grab a mason jar, a few ingredients, and I'll guarantee you'll never go back to pouring wood pulp on your greens ever again!

All four recipes take less than 5 minutes and make about a pint of dressing.

This simple and versatile dressing is good on any type of leafy greens, but is especially delicious on a baby spinach salad.
Perfect Balsamic Vinaigrette
adapted from Cook's Illustrated

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/3 cups olive oil

Add first four ingredients to a quart mason jar.  Stir to combine.  Add olive oil, tighten lid, then shake vigorously for 3 minutes.

Can be used & refrigerated for up to 6 weeks.

This is a perfect dressing for salads served with pears or crisp apples, warm goat cheese and candied walnuts or pecans.

 Honey Shallot Vinaigrette

1/2 cup rice vinegar
2 Tablespoons honey
2 Tablespoons minced shallots
1 teaspoon table salt
1 1/2 cups walnut oil

Add first four ingredients to a quart mason jar.  Stir to combine.  Add olive oil, tighten lid, then shake vigorously for 3 minutes. 
Can be used & refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.


A lightened up version of the classic.
Blue Cheese Buttermilk Dressing

2/3 cup lowfat buttermilk
1/4 cup reduced fat mayonnaise
1/4 cup light sour cream or nonfat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup crumbled blue cheese, divided

Pulse first 6 ingredients with half the blue cheese in a blender or food processor.  Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the remaining blue cheese.  Store in a mason jar.

Can be used & refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

You'll swear there's avocado in here, but there's not. This dressing is delicious with crisp Romaine, fresh sweet corn, black olives and tortilla chip crumbles in the place of croutons.  It also makes a wonderful dip!

Southwest Buttermilk Dressing
adapted from The Homesick Texan Cookbook

2 fresh jalapeno chiles, stems & seeds removed, chopped
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup cilantro
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon paprika (I prefer smoked)
zest of one small lime
juice of 1/2 a small lime
1/4 cup lowfat buttermilk
1/2 cup light sour cream
1/2 cup reduced fat mayonnaise
salt and black pepper to taste

1.  In a blender or food processor, combine the first 9 ingredients.  Blend until it's a smooth green puree.
2.  Pour the green puree into a bowl and gently stir in the sour cream and mayonnaise.  Add salt and black pepper to taste.  Transfer to a mason jar. 

This dressing gets better as it ages.
Can be used & refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.


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  1. This all looks so yummy! I definitely need to be eating more salads, so really appreciate these recipes :-) Thanks for sharing!

  2. I have to laugh when I read this. I just love how far I've come in the last few years. A decade ago, if you opened my fridge it was wall to wall condiments, dressing and sauces. It's how i cooked everything. Thinking that if the ingredients were from scratch than the sauce really wasn't a big deal. Know we make everything from scratch and my fridge is bar of "sauce" other than dijon mustard, hot sauce (I make chili oil most of the time when i want something hot) and sesame oil. I love these recipes. I make a very similar vinaigrette, but i look forward to making the blue cheese and buttermilk one!

  3. This looks really delicious..I should try this as soon as possible.thanks for the recipe dear..Following your blog straight away..If you have time Check out my blog too..

    I am having a Giveaway..

  4. So easy!! I am going to try the balsamic vin today. I will let you know how it goes. Thanks Jenn.

  5. Cannot wait to try some of these - you know we love to make our own here!

  6. Oh wow! These sound fantastic! Pinning and Stumbling!

  7. These are delicious! Thanks for sharing them. My husband's favorite dressing is Vidalia Onion. Need to find a recipe for it, too.

  8. I made the balsamic vinaigrette and it turned out perfect (as advertised)! And it took less than 5 minutes to whip it together! Thank you!!!


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