Got Salad Dressing?

How many bottles of store-bought salad dressing do you have in your fridge? More than 2? More than 4? Not sure? How many of those half-used bottles have you emptied down the sink after they have gone bad (ka-ching, ka-ching)?

But I need all those bottles, you say. The family likes variety and choice for their salads, you say. We get tired of the same flavor dressing all the time. I buy the bigger bottles so I save money (see “emptied down the sink ka-ching ka-ching”, above).

Do you have empty jam jars? Do you have various vegetable oils, vinegars, herbs and spices? Do you have a lemon or two? Then you have all you need to create four delicious, inexpensive salad dressings that your family will love, in small quantities that you can use before they spoil. These dressings are easy to make on the spot, as well, and your kids can even make them for you while you are getting the rest of dinner together. Seriously.

Jam Jar Dressings (from Jamie’s Food Revolution, by Jamie Oliver)

French dressing:
Peel and finely chop 1/4 of a clove of garlic. Put the garlic, 1 tsp. of Dijon mustard, 2 T of white or red wine vinegar, and 6 T of extra virgin olive oil into a jam jar with a pinch of salt and pepper. Put the lid on the jar and shake well.

Yogurt dressing:
Put 1/3 C of plain yogurt, 2 T of white or red wine vinegar, and 1 T of extra virgin olive oil into a jam jar with a pinch of salt and pepper. Put the lid on the jar and shake well.

Lemon dressing: (The Boy’s favorite dressing, also great for tossing some cooked, peeled shrimp in for a shrimp dinner salad)
Put 6 T of extra virgin olive oil into a jam jar with a pinch of salt and pepper. Squeeze in the juice of 1/2 a lemon. Put the lid on the jar and shake well. (He uses a whole lemon, and you might too, but taste after the first half goes in, lemons are all different.) I add a bit of chopped shallot, or scallion, to this when I use it on shrimp.

Balsamic dressing:
Put 6 T of extra virgin olive oil and 2 T of balsamic vinegar into a jam jar with a pinch of salt and pepper. Put the lid on the jar and shake well.

Jamie uses sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, but they aren’t deal-breakers. Use what you have on hand. You can also change up the oils and vinegars; obviously if you don’t use balsamic vinegar, it’s not a “balsamic dressing”, but any vinegar in that recipe makes it a simple vinaigrette. Throw in some freshly chopped herbs if you want, a little goes a long way.

Try these dressings now on all your salads, while the weather’s hot, and lettuce is in season. I promise you won’t buy another grocery store dressing, and you won’t dump any more money, I mean dressing, down the drain.

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