With the arrival of Spring, a salad for a meal starts to feel right again. While there are limitless options for what those salads may be, finding the appropriate dressing, or just the dressing you want, can take a salad you don’t mind eating to one you’ll devour.

I don’t remember when I started experimenting with making salad dressings, but I do know that it may be one of the most underrated things you can create in the kitchen. Super easy, and will turn you away from what you can buy in a bottle no matter how gourmet you go. Also keep in mind that one batch will last you, depending on your salad comsumption, ar least a week or two. Maybe even more.

Here are some of my favorites:

: Basic/Everyday Balsamic Vinaigrette :
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Take one medium shallot and mince. Place in a bowl (or measuring cup, or a jar) with 2 tablespoons of DIjon mustard and a teaspoon of sea salt. I like to muddle this all together a little to bring out the flavor of the shallot. If you can’t find a shallot, a 1/4 cup of diced onion would work fine.

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Next add 3/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil and a 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar. It’s a 3:1 ratio that works for any type of vinaigrette (whether you’re using red wine, champagne, or even white vinegar). You could end there, but I usually add about a two teaspoons of pomegranate molasses. It’s adds sweetness as well as litte more acidity. Last, add about 3 tablespoons of maple syrup. If you like it sweeter, add more; more savory just add less.

Pour this into your shallot/mustard mixture and emulsify with a whisk or a fork. Mix it until it looks uniform. You could also put all the ingredients into a jar with a lid and shake away until it looks like this:


Basic/Everyday Vinaigrette

{makes about 1-3/4 cups}

3/4 cup of your best extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (or other high-quality vinegar)

3 Tbsp. pure maple syrup

2 tsp. pomegranate molasses (optional)

1 medium shallot minced

1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

1 tsp. sea salt

Pinch of black pepper

Whisk or shake until well emulsified.


: Carrot Ginger Dressing :


This asian-style dressing, which could also double as a vegetable dip, works really well with sturdier lettuces like romaine, butterleaf, frisee, mustard greens, or even kale. A favorite of mine with this dressing is to mix romaine with some broken pieces of cooked thin rice noodles, a few handfuls of jicama matchsticks, scallions, toasted slivered almonds, and black sesame seeds.

Carrot Ginger Dressing:

{makes about 1-1/2 cups)

1/2 cup minced onion

2 carrots diced

2 Tbsp. minced ginger root

1/2 cup peanut oil

1/3 cup rice wine vinegar

2 Tbsp. water

1 Tbsp. ketchup

4 tsp. soy sauce

4 tsp. raw honey

2 tsp. lemon juice

1 tsp. minced garlic

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

Place all ingredients in a blender and mix until well combined.

: Mexican Green Goddess Dressing :

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Mexican Green Goddess Dressing

{makes about 1-1/4 cups}

2/3 cups Vegenaise (or plain yogurt)

1/4 cup cilantro

2 scallions chopped, white and light green parts only

2/3 cup lime juice

2 Tbsp. Anaheim chili pepper (or jalapeno if you like it spicier), chopped

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1-1/2 Tbsps. raw honey

1/2 tsp. sea salt

Combine all ingredients in a blender until well combined.
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As this is another creamier dressing, so a hearty lettuce or green works best with it. I made the salad above with romaine and topped it with black beans, sliced radishes, cherry tomatoes, an avocado, toasted pepitas, and crumbled queso fresco. You could also toss in some quinoa or other favorite protein for an even more substantial meal. Enjoy!