Monday, April 20, 2015

Salad Greens with Basic Balsamic Vinaigrette

One of my pet peeves is when people buy truly great salad ingredients and then dress them with horrible dressings filled with inferior ingredients and preservatives. When was the last time you read the label of most bottled dressings? So here is one of my objectives. Convince each reader to eliminate bottled salad dressing from their pantries and use homemade versions! (o.k. not comparable with a goal of attaining world peace but a girl has to start somewhere...right?)

vinaigrette before shaking

I often get questions about making homemade salad dressing because I have included numerous recipes for salads in past posts. Many people tell me they think it is "too hard" or "too complicated" to make a vinaigrette. Here's the thing...the "technique" for making dressings and vinaigrette is so incredibly easy that it only requires four steps. Here are my "instructions".

1. Put your favorite vinaigrette ingredients in a mason jar
2. Screw on lid and shake away
3. Add to salad
4. Eat and enjoy

It really is that easy. Buy a mason jar at the market...even better and "greener"...reuse a jam/jelly or any other screw top jar. Plan to make small quantities, just enough to use that night, or keep in the fridge a couple of days. No longer, you want it to be as fresh as possible. Keep the best-quality-you-can find/afford extra virgin olive oils, vinegars, mustard and seasonings in your pantry and experiment with your oil to vinegar ratios. There really is no "wrong" way, it is just a matter of personal preference. 

vinaigrette before shaking

I will continue to post different salad and dressing recipes in future blog stories but, to get you started, here is a classic...Balsamic Vinaigrette. It is not a "spicy or hot" recipe so why post here?  Because sometimes you need a basic sauce or dressing to tame an otherwise Red or Green? menu.

Basic Balsamic Vinaigrette
1/2 cup best quality extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup pure balsamic vinegar of Modena
1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1 shallot, minced
1 teaspoon fresh parsley, minced
1 green onion, minced
pinch sea salt
pinch black pepper

Add all ingredients to a mason jar or other jar with a tight fitting lid. Screw lid tight and shake the jar until vinaigrette is emulsified.  Lightly dress your favorite combination of salad greens and vegetables.


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