Macheesmo

Cooking with Confidence
guac salad
Appetizers, Healthy, Quick and Easy, Salad, Vegetarian

3×3: Salad Dressings

by Nick

This week I’m posting a series that I call 3×3: Three posts each with three simple, but related recipes. Tuesday’s post was on summer cocktails and yesterday I wrote about three quick crostini recipes!

Salad dressings might top my list of items that confuse me that people purchase. Most salad dressings that you can buy in the store have all kinds of odd ingredients, are actually pretty expensive, and don’t even taste that great to boot. I even did a Guess the Food on salad dressing a month or so ago.

I think the bottle of dressing I bought for that post was the only bottle of salad dressing (except maybe a bottle of blue cheese dressing) that I’ve bought all year. Mainly just because a really good salad dressing is really easy to make and the possibilities are endless!

For starters, Betsy and I always have a bottle of house dressing in the fridge, but sometimes I like to change it up. So here’s three quick salad dressings that I’ve used recently. All of them have just a few ingredients and you can make them in seconds.

Creamy Avocado Dressing

This is almost like a guacamole dressing, but it’s a lot lighter than guacamole and isn’t chunky at all.

Creamy Avocado Dressing
Makes enough dressing for 4 small salads.

- 1 avocado
- 1/2 lemon, juice only
- 1/4 Cup olive oil
- Pinch of salt

avocado

Simple stuff.

Slice your avocado in half, take out the pit and add the meat of the avocado to a bowl. Add the lemon juice and drizzle in the olive oil as you whisk. The mixture should turn slightly creamy and bright green.

NOTE: It’s almost essential to have a really good whisk to make salad dressing. I have a few but a nice sturdy stainless steel whisk like this one makes salad dressing (and a million other things) possible.

avocado dressing

Green!

To Dress or Not to Dress

I’m a big fan of adding the greens to a bowl and tossing with the salad dressing before serving so that all the greens are really well coated. You can kind of run into trouble with this though because A) the greens can get soggy if they sit too long in the dressing and B) People like varying amounts of dressing.

Even with those obstacles though, I like mixing the greens in especially when it’s a thicker dressing like this just to make sure everything is coated well.

This was actually a bit more dressing than I needed for just two salads. It would easily be enough for four I think.

greens

Green on greens!

Then add your greens with other salad fixings to a bowl and the salad is served! I used some red onions, tomatoes, and chopped red peppers for this salad along with a pinch of salt and pepper.

I really liked the flavor, but it was a bit heavy on the dressing.

guac salad

Taste like guacamole!

Lime Vinaigrette

This dressing is even easier than the avocado one.

Lime Vinaigrette
Makes enough for 4 small salads.

- 1 lime, juice only
- 1/4 Cup olive oil
- Pinch of sugar
- Pinch of salt

Lime juice is a really strong flavor when it’s not mixed with a lot of other stuff. Just one lime can give tons of citrus flavor to something like salad dressing.

limes

Surprisingly flavorful.

Juice the lime in a bowl and then drizzle in the olive oil as you whisk. Add a pinch of sugar to counteract the bitterness of the citrus and a pinch of salt to make the flavors pop.

This is a really potent dressing even though it looks simple.

lime vinaigrette

Smells awesome. If you like limes.

I’d recommend serving this one on the side so people can add as much dressing as they want. I made the mistake of pre-dressing our salads and while I liked mine, Betsy thought hers was too citrus flavored.

This dressing goes really well with any standard salad ingredients. I used some carrots, peppers, radishes, and greens for my version.

lime salad

Citrus salad.

Spicy Asian Dressing

This was kind of an experimental dressing but it worked really great. As with most acidic dressings (like the lime dressing but not the avocado dressing), it also works really great as a marinade for meat or tofu.

Spicy Asian Dressing
Makes enough for 4 salads. Might want to double it if you’re marinating something.

- 1/4 Cup canola oil
- 1 Teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 Tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 Teaspoon chili garlic paste

asian dressing

The most complicated dressing so far.

There’s a few more ingredients in this dressing but it’s not any harder to make really. Just mince up the garlic and whisk everything together. This is a very flexible dressing so if you want it spicier, add more chili sauce. If you want it more savory, add a bit more sesame oil or soy sauce.

spicy dressing

This has some kick to it.

In addition to dressing for a salad, I marinated some tofu in this dressing for about 30 minutes and then seared it off in a very hot skillet for 3-4 minutes per side.

seared tofu

Marinated in the dressing...

For this salad, I kept with the Asian theme and chopped up some bok choy and red peppers. I used the stems and greens from the bok choy. I served this dressing on the side because it’s really flavorful and it’s nice to be able to add your own.

I served it also with the seared tofu. This was a really good and healthy meal.

Salad and tofu

Dressing on the side this time.

Salad dressings are really a “Sky is the limit” type of thing. Whatever you do, don’t be afraid to venture outside of the bottle and whisk up some new flavor combinations.

This is the last post in my 3×3 series. Did you guys like this series of a few smaller/quick recipes for each post?