Learning how to make basic salad dressing is a staple in cooking skills. It teaches you how to balance and enhance flavors. From here it is easy to see how flavors blend together in sauces and more complex dishes.
I put together a simple infographic that explains my basic formula for developing different salad dressing. With this formula you can come up with just about every salad you can think of.
Good quality oil is the base for just about every salad dressing, however the oil you use is completely dependent on the type of dressing you are making and your preferences. Olive oils, grape seed, avocado, sesame, or flavored oils are all great options.
Next add an acid, typically vinegar, but also lemon and lime juices work as well. This again is dependent on the type of dressing and personal preference.
Finally add your flavor enhancers, which can be as simple as a few herbs.
This is a great basic vinaigrette dressing that is simple and easy enough for anyone to make, however that doesn’t have to be the end if you are looking for something a little more fun.
You can continue to add things for sweetness such as sugar, honey, jam or fruit. If you are hoping for a creamy dressing the addition of buttermilk, sour cream, cheeses, and mayonnaise are all great options.
Additionally adding things like sriracha, peanut or almond butters, fish sauce and the like are also options that will add a lot of diversity to your salads.
Below are some of my favorite dressing recipes, ones that we use in our home every day.
Lemon Shallot Vinaigrette – olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, white wine vinegar, garlic
Honey Mustard – olive oil, natural honey, Dijon mustard, salt
Peanut sauce – sesame oil, peanut butter, garlic powder, ground ginger, soy sauce, vinegar, lime juice
Greek – Olive oil, Red wine vinegar, oregano, lemon juice, feta cheese
Butter milk Ranch – buttermilk, mayonnaise, parsley, chives, dill, salt, pepper, garlic
Maple Cider – olive oil, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, salt, walnuts