You know what perplexes me? Salad dressing….in bottle form.

It’s one of life’s unnecessary pantry occupiers. A secret money pit filled with too much salt, too little excitement and…well, I am here today celebrating the vida loca and three plus years sans store-bought dressing. That’s right, 100% scratch-ola vinaigrettes and I eat salads on the daily.

Do you know what time it is? It’s time to treat your salad with some respect!

First, let’s make something very clear – the days of automatic 3:1 ratios are over and dressings in general are highly subjective. Some people prefer more bite and so with that, every vinaigrette ratio should start out at 1:1 (oil and vinegar) and then be adjusted for personal taste. We’re gonna dress that leafy (or grainy) baby up in some tangy, zesty, homemade love…four different, yet simple ways.

Think of this as a flavor road map… let’s get dressed already!

 

Champagne Vinaigrette: If there’s a little black dress of dressings, it’s the champagne vinaigrette. Quick to throw on with results ranking high in stunner appeal. I use this darling on everything from kale to bulgur and it never disappoints.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Champagne Vinegar, Juice of 1/2 Lemon, 1 TBS whole grain Dijon mustard and cracked pepper to taste.

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Jalapeño Lime Vinaigrette: This muchacho has attitude and some pretty impressive dance moves. I recently used him on a kale salad with radishes, carrots, black beans and avocado – olé indeed.

Muddle 1 heaping TSP of chopped Jalapeño with 1/2 cup cilantro. Add in Extra Virgin Olive Oil, White Wine Vinegar, juice of two limes and 2 heaping TSP of cumin. Adjust spice as needed.

 

Curry Infused Vinaigrette: I’m not sure why the concept of quick infused oil for dressing took so long to come my way, but I can tell we’re definitely getting into a long term status update worthy kind of relationship. I love curry and when introduced to salad there is some fleeting spring break love affair type excitement that takes place. I highly suggest giving this one a whisk.

Full recipe, instructions, as well as an accompanying grain salad can be seen here.

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Orange Sesame Vinaigrette: Rice vinegar, you are a champion of taste. The way you body slam orange and ginger puts you into a WWF flavor category like none other. Thank you for resuscitating these greens back to life and pairing so well with ahi tuna.

Mix Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Rice Vinegar, 2 TPS of Sesame oil, 2 TPS Low Sodium Tamari, 2 Heaping TSP Graded Orange Zest & Ginger Zest, Juice of 1/2 Orange, Dash of Honey and a Pinch of Chili Flakes (or TPS of Garlic Chili Sauce). Adjust as Needed – I’ve also been known to make a version with a little Peanut Sauce replacing the Tamari…Get Crazy!

 


Where making a salad is nothing ground breaking – the tools you choose can make the difference between tossed meh and a bowl of beauty. Paired along side some new bold vinaigrettes, consider yourself fully armed for battle with the proper gear for yo greens.

Lettuce do this!

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THE SALAD MAKER’S TOOL BOX // AKA: GEAR FOR YO GREENS

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WMF Stainless Steel Ball Whisk: This thing looks straight up ridiculous. In fact, I got it as a freebie at a food conference and it sat alone with the misfit kitchen tools for months before I decided to give it a go (only because I jammed my other whisk in a drawer and squashed out all it’s shape and mixing potential). This kid is magic. This under dog whips up the best dressing consistency I’ve ever tasted. Lesson learned: never judge a tool by it’s ding a ling prongs.

Kuhn Rikon Original Swiss Peeler: Yes I know there are other peelers out there that appear to be more ergonomically correct than this one. You do not need some overly padded handle to tackle your veg peeling. This blade is mighty sharp and great with angles despite its petite size. It will change the way you feel about peeling just about everything…unless you’re staring at a 50 pound tub of potatoes right now. Go ahead and just buy the three pack – you’ll thank me later.

Benriner Japanese Mandoline Slicer: This is the mother of all mandolin slicers. Respect her. She will cut the top of your finger off and she will not apologize for it after the fact. Stay focused and be prepared for the most beautiful of veg medallions.

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EXTRA CREDIT // AKA: SALAD SASS

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Porcelain Ginger Grader:  I want to “lose” my grader in a hurry…what a beaut! Is there anything better than fresh ginger or a handsome tool to hang by your sink? This would also moonlight excellently in the creation of garlic paste.

Imm Living Lucky Strike Oil & Vinegar Containers: I’ll confess. This is one of those products I will never personally own…but appreciate and admire the person who will. My house is a rental and the kitchen does not deserve such kitsch…maybe one day when I own and wall splashes are lined with subway tile and poured concrete replaces the rotting press board of current strangeness….I digress.

Le Creuset 2 Quart Bowl: Sure a good ol’ Pyrex can get the job done for you…but if you’re going to take the extra effort to whisk up deliciousness why not arm yourself with a mixing vessel worthy of counter top display? I’m a details dork and I love a mixing bowl with a handle. I also love everything that sings to the tune of turquoise. Win. Win.

Treestump Woodcrafts Mesquite Salad Bowl: Speaking of turquoise…I just passed out. I’m back now, drooling and trying to justify the price tag for the most amazing salad bowl ever to be crafted. There are no words…oh wait, yes there are: someone please send this to me asap!

Sabre Glitter Salad Serving Set: I’ve got a lot of salad servers. Lots of colors, lots of sizes…I may or may not have a wooden spoon problem. Why not mix things up (ha! literally) with a little extra style? These little show offs are begging to tag along on your next park BBQ.

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