In the years before I began the Kitchen, I had been tinkering around in the kitchen, cooking, baking and braising with varying degrees of success. As time went on, I grew bolder in my cooking and more willing to take on tougher meals and prepare more things from scratch, even if the preparation was involved and took time. Somehow in all of this experimentation, I never, ever, not even one time made my own vinaigrette salad dressing.
I’m not really sure why. I’ve had the ingredients on hand for it for quite some time. I regularly use extra virgin olive oil as a dipping sauce for my Basic French Bread so I know how good oil with some spices can be. I think I just always thought it was easier to dump Ranch dressing on my salad and call it good. Also, who wants to go through all that fuss for a salad?
Well after finally trying it, I do! The desire for a DYI dressing came about one afternoon when the weather was unusually hot for our area and I had some romaine lettuce in the crisper that needed some love. I was in no mood to heat up the kitchen since it was hot and did not want to crank up the A/C because it was March and it would be cold two days later:) I was flipping through an issue of Food and Wine magazine and found a base recipe for vinaigrette that I had everything on hand and decided to give it ago. With a few tweaks to make it “mine”, my dressing was born. I encourage you to make this a few times as is and after you have the motions down, feel free to start tossing in some spices you think would be yummy. Once summer comes in full force and the lettuce and tomatoes are fresh from the garden, this dressing may become the star of your no-cook dinners!
DIY Salad Dressing
Prep Time: 5 minutes | Total Time: 6 minutes | Makes: about 1 cup of dressing
- 3/4 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (more or less to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper (more or less to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- In a jar that has a lid that seals well (I like a mason jar) add the red wine vinegar, minced garlic, oregano, salt and pepper
- Place lid on jar and shake vigorously for about 1 minute or until ingredients are well mixed
- Carefully remove the lid and add the lemon zest and extra virgin olive oil to the jar. Replace lid and once again shake for about 1 minute or until ingredients are well blended
- Remove jar and taste dressing. Adjust seasoning to suit your tastes, shake it up again if you add more seasoning and top on your favorite bed of greens!
- This dressing should be stored in the refrigerator and will keep for 5-7 days. Give it a quick shake each time you use it to get those ingredients off the bottom of the jar and blended back in with the oils.
- The first time I made this, we were not planning on having salad again for some time so to make sure it did not go to waste, I poured this over some chicken breast to marinate them and it was delish! It would also work well as the dressing in a cold pasta salad too.
- This dressing is amazing with spring mix lettuce or romaine hearts, some diced tomatoes and cucumbers and feta cheese. I’ve also added cooked chicken breast and used bagged shredded Colby-Jack cheese and it’s been tasty.