After all the sweet treats in December, I tend to crave a few more vegetables in January. One of my favorite ways to eat vegetables is in a crunchy, fresh salad with homemade dressing. Salads are especially easy to prep for the week and grab portions to take for lunch at work. When it comes to dressings, I like a simple, but flavorful vinaigrette and these are really easy to make from scratch. Like the salad, I can make a batch of homemade dressing for the whole week, saving me time during busy mornings throughout the week.
A basic vinaigrette has 1/3 part vinegar (or other acid – could use lemon juice instead) and 2/3 parts oil. We have lots of choices when it comes to vinegar and oil. Rice and red wine vinegar are very mild. Balsamic vinegar has a stronger, sweet taste. Apple cider vinegar has a lot of zip to it. And, there are all kinds of “flavored” vinegars. If you’re not sure where to start and want something simple, I would suggest red wine vinegar. It’s pretty neutral and will pick up whatever herbs or flavors you add. For oils, I usually use olive oil, but any oil that you like will work.
Then, you can add all kinds of flavors to make a combination you like. If you like a sweet dressing, add a little sugar, honey, raspberry jam, or your other favorite sweet. Add some fresh or dried herbs. Mustard is a nice addition too (I like it in small quantities). Sometimes I make a raspberry vinaigrette by adding some frozen raspberries and a little honey. It’s a touch sweet and really tasty on a salad that has fruit mixed in, like a spinach, apple, and walnut combination.
This is my favorite combination that is my go to most weeks:
In a pint sized mason jar, add 2/3 cup olive oil, 1/3 cup rice or red wine vinegar, 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar, 1 tsp. dried rosemary, 1 tsp. dried thyme, 1/2 tsp. dijon mustard, 1 tsp. honey, shake of salt and pepper.
Throw the lid on, shake it up, and it’s ready to go. Super easy!
Store it in the refrigerator. The oil will get a little bit solidified, but just give it a shake before using. This is super easy to make, less expensive than the bottled stuff, and I think healthier because you control the ingredients and flavors.