If you’ve been reading my last few blogs, you know that I’m like really, REALLY into making my own salad dressings these days… like REALLY into it! I mean, it’s just so easy and the end results are usually so amazing that I can’t understand why I wouldn’t want to make my own! But, you may not quite be where I am. You might still be a little intimidated by the whole process. OR you may have not even thought much about it because it seems like such a daunting task (hint: it is NOT!). So if you are one of those people that are not on the salad dressing train, I’m here to help you out. Here are the 5 top tips that I’ve learned to make PERFECT salad dressings every. single. TIME!
Top 5 Tips to Making a PERFECT salad dressing every… single… time!
- Follow the 3:1 Rule – All of the salad dressing rule books and blogs that I’ve read say the same thing… follow the 3 to 1 rule. That means that you should use 3 parts olive oil for every 1 part vinegar / juice. It doesn’t matter what your measurements are, just always remember the 3:1 rule. That could be 3 tablespoons to 1 tablespoons, or 3 gallons to 1 gallon. It doesn’t matter. Just make sure that it’s 3 to 1. THEN, once you get comfortable making dressings, play around with that ratio to see if that’s the one for you. Personally, I don’t like 3 to 1. I prefer 1:1 or 2:1, but 3 parts oil is usually too much for me in most dressings. Now, occasionally it works, but not all the time. So use that as your starting point and go from there when you are feeling adventurous.
- Have all 4 Flavors represented – The 4 flavors are salty, sweet, sour, and spicy. You can have differing amounts of each flavor, but for the best balance you want to make sure that you get them all in. If you are not sure how to get them all in or you can’t think beyond salt, pepper, vinegar, and sugar then read this blog post for some ideas to make your dressings a new experience every time.
- Always start with Sour / add oil last – I didn’t learn this until recently, well into my salad-making ventures. I’d seen it on a few recipes, but it never made sense until one day…. So, because the vinegar and lemon juice are water soluble, it is easier for the salt, sugar, and herbs to dissolve in it and soak up all the flavors. Once you add the oil, it makes it a bit more difficult so you don’t get as even a distribution of flavors as you could if you do it the other way. It also helps you avoid having a dressing that is too oily (which I’ve also done too many times). If you happen to add the oil first, which I’ve done on MANY occasions, don’t worry. I’m sure you’ll still have a great dressing. Just know that the flavors can come together better if you do the vinegar / juice first
- Add a Peacemaker – As you know, oil and water don’t mix. Even the best vinaigrettes will separate when they have been sitting too long. Adding something that emulsifies (helps the oil and water components play nice) helps to keep everything mixed into your dressing. Adding a bit of your favorite mustard, a little avocado or nuts, or even some veggies can help this. You don’t NEED an emulsifier, but if you want everything to stay suspended longer and not settle, you’ll want to add one.
- Have FUN! There’s nothing worse than being in a kitchen making food that you don’t want to make. When you are enjoying the process, you can feel it, you can taste it, and the people you share your food with can taste it! In the South, we call it “puttin’ your foot in that food.” Meaning… honestly, I don’t know WHAT that really means. LOL! But, if someone tells you that, know that they are REALLY REALLY REALLY enjoying the food you prepared, and you will go down in the annals of history as the greatest meal preparer of all times!
Did these 5 tips spark any ideas for you?
If you’d like more ideas, recommendations, or recipes on ways to make an AWESOME salad dressing in minutes, check out my new book!! It’s called, Get Dressed Up! and it has over 100 recipes for you to choose from. No matter if you want a sweet or savory, creamy or vinaigrette there is something for you. CLICK HERE to be taken to more information on the book!