Simple, Summery Salad Dressings
Summer is officially here, and in our house, that means SALADS! We’re especially salad-crazy this year because of the pounds we’ve gained quarantining.
Salads are extremely personal. In our family, we all have different tastes when it come to salad ingredients. Some like only lettuce. Some like only veggies, either fresh, grilled/roasted, or a combination thereof. Some like cheese, while others prefer only plant-based ingredients. Some weirdos like nuts in their salads. I happen to love a handful of fresh herbs that I grab from the herb garden tossed with mixed greens. We’re all different!
Instead of trying to tailor each person’s salad to their particular tastes (an impossible task since the adolescents’ tastes change on an hourly basis), I simply provide what I used to call a mise en place back when I was a journeyman cook. I provide various salad ingredients, all nicely chopped/sliced/diced/shredded, and my family makes their own from what is available. So much easier than trying to make one dish suit everyone’s tastes!
I’ve come up with some recipes for dressings that you might want to try for your family. Always remember, these “recipes” are just guidelines – you can alter them to your family’s tastes and nutritional needs!
I love this on homemade slaw. I shred some Napa or Savoy cabbage, throw in some red/orange/yellow bell peppers, green onions, shredded carrots, and (if I’m feeling crazy) julienned jicama. Serve it with thinly sliced grilled pork or shrimp and scallop kabobs, and you’ve got a great meal!
1 1-inch knob fresh ginger, grated
2 or more cloves garlic, minced
Juice of 3 limes
2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
1 teaspoon sriracha or chili-garlic sauce
1 tablespoon honey
¼ teaspoon white pepper
1 tablespoon neutral-tasting oil like canola, avocado, or grapeseed
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
I simply put all the ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake. This will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Honey Lemon Dressing
This is wonderful on mixed greens with lots of fresh veggies – blanched green beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, and roasted root vegetables. My older daughter loves to add some grilled, lemon-marinated chicken, too!
Juice of 2 large lemons (microwave each for 5 seconds to make them easier to juice)
1 medium-sized shallot, minced
3 tablespoons local honey
Salt and freshly-ground pepper
¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Once again, I simply put all the ingredients into a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake. This also keeps in the fridge for about 5 days.
One of the easiest dressings you can make, this is delicious when tossed with grilled veggies, especially onions, eggplant, summer squash, tomatoes, and peppers.
1 cup of your favorite prepared hummus
Juice of 2 large lemons
2 tablespoons water, if needed to thin the dressing to your desired consistency
I usually add in some minced garlic because we all love garlic in this house!
Jar. Tight-fitting lid. Shake. This can last for up to a week in the fridge.
Creamy Cilantro Dressing
This is a fabulous dressing on all sorts of grilled meats – chicken, pork, beef, seafood, etc. I also love to toss a little with some drained light tuna in water that’s been mixed with some jicama, cucumber, and bell peppers.
1 bunch cilantro, stems included, rinsed and excess water shaken off
2 to 4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 to 2 fresh jalapeños, seeded and ribs removed if you want to reduce the heat, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 cups plain Greek-style yogurt
Place all ingredients except the yogurt into a food processor. Pulse 10 times to roughly chop the cilantro and combine the ingredients. Add in the yogurt and pulse 10 more times to combine. You need to allow the flavors to meld for at least 30 minutes before you use this. Taste before serving and adjust the salt and pepper. This will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for about 5 days.