Thursday, January 31, 2008

Making your own salad dressing

Today Shauna and Malia brought their little ones over for lunch. I tried replicating O'Charley's pecan chicken salad, but it was not to be.

Not in my kitchen, anyway.

Lettuce, chicken tenders, and all the fixins' still cost less than one $9 restaurant salad. Better yet, the chicken was free due to a Kroger error my laser-bargain eyes spotted.

Last month I asked you how you serve salad at table--and unleashed a torrent of opinion.

(Above, honey mustard vinaigrette and bleu cheese.)

Do you make your own salad dressing? Share your best recipe in the comments below or leave us the link to your recipe.


Anonymous said...

Meredith, this is my very favorite bleu cheese dressing recipe:

1/2 cup crumbled bleu cheese
3 T. buttermilk
3 T. sour cream
2 T. mayonnaise
2 t. white wine vinegar
1/4 t. sugar
1/8 t. garlic powder
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Mash bleu cheese and buttermilk until mixture resembles cottage cheese. Stir in reamining ingredients. Keeps for at least a week in fridge.

Yummy! I use it as a dip, too.

The chicken salad looks good! Patsy

Eleanor Joyce said...

Here's my fave dressing

1 c veg oil
1/3 raspberry balsamic vinegar
1/3 c white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon celery salt

Pear vinegar, or other fruit/specialty vinegars can be substituted for the rasp. It is delicious! Everyone asks for this recipe - I keep a batch on hand all the time!

Lora @ my blessed life said...

I recently got this recipe from a friend. I call it:
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 med. onion
1/2 cup vinegar
3/4 cup salad oil
1 tsp. celery seeds
~Blend all ingredients in blender and serve. So yummy!
Also, my new fave thing to add to a salad (for taste and color) is Craisins!

Meredith said...

Thank you!!! Those look like delicious recipes. Must add celery seeds and raspberry vinegar to my shopping list.

Lora, we used craisins on today's salad, too.

Anonymous said...

I definitely make my salad dressings for several reasons - I think they taste fresher, are better & I need to avoid the preservatives. On the plus side, it doesn't take more than a few minutes usually to do so.

I don't really follow recipes - I go with what will taste good. For example, my italian viniagrette I will use olive oil (I tend to use a bit less oil), red wine vinegar or white balsamic (or lemon juice), minced garlic, minced onion, salt, pepper, parsley, along with a pinch of sugar. Refrigerate, shake & voila! Sometimes I will even add a dab of dijon or honey mustard for a change.

Zombiemommy said...

Oh that sounds good, I am going to finally make some bleu cheese dressing myself.
Using the Treasure Cave coupon 2 weeks ago, I picked up a pack for .87cents at Walmart.

I wonder if Patsy's above recipe can sub soured milk (using vinegar for the buttermilk) and get the same results....

Eleanor Joyce said...

I meant to mention that I've found great flavored vinegars, like pear, strawberry, or orange CHEAP at Big Lots, and used them instead of Raspberry Balsamic.

Anonymous said...

yes...I have been making our salad dressings for a while now and do it for several reasons:
HEALTH --this is a great way to get some needed nutrients you most likely wouldn't get any other way.
Taste -- so fresh!

I don't use any set recipe now, however I am going to try some of the ones listed here!

For a cream type dressing I use: our raw milk or cream from our cow, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, mayo, spices like dill or celery seed, dash of salt and pepper and a raw egg and blend.

Vinegar and Oil type: Olive oil--extra light taste is best, a choice of vinegar (like balsalmic, or apple cider) maple syrup, a choice of wine (blackberry wine from Keg Springs Winery in Hampshire, Tennessee is my favorite)

Fruit wines give your salad dressing a great added depth and flavor!

I love to experiment with dressings and with a little of this and a little of that, you really can come up with some amazing flavors.

Last night I added some pear juice and a bit of pear to the blender when making a creamy dressing and it was very yummy over our salad which had chopped pears in it.

Anonymous said...

Meredith you're too hard on yourself! I thought the salad was delicious! Plus, as we discussed it's been quite awhile since I've darkened the doors of an O'Charley's. Just like with the cookies, I didn't know how it was "supposed" to taste, I just knew it ALL tasted good! :) You are a wonderful, generous hostess. Thank you again for having us over. Oh, and the GMan was so excited to recognize your house a little later when we passed by to pick up JBelle from school!

As for salad dressings, the only "from scratch" kind I've ever made is from the Good Seasonings packet that you mix with oil, vinegar and water. Dressings and sauces are something I'd really like to learn more about making.

Saralyn said...

When I was a kid my dad always made the dressing right before serving the salad, so bottled dressing is an "oh, ick" thing to us! For the most part I"m a simpleton who doesn't use a recipe for everyday salads--
equal parts good olive oil and good balsamic vinegar, throw in a dash of sea salt and a twist of fresh ground pepper, and then throw the whole thing in the blender with whatever fresh herbs you've got--basil, thyme, oregano. A little garlic never hurt, either.

I also like to mix some Dijon mustard with honey to make a paste, whisk in some wine vinegar, salt, and pepper, a bit of garlic, and then drizzle in the olive oil to a good consistency.

Milehimama @ Mama Says said...

This isn't the BEST recipe, but it's very good and NONFAT!

Save the "bean juice" from canned beans, and use that instead of oil in your vinaigrette recipe. (Shake well to blend) It tastes very good as a mustard vinaigrette. It has the smooth mouth feel of oil with no fat. White bean "juice" and garbanzos are particularly good.

Except I haven't bought canned beans in a million years... maybe I should start again?

Renee said...

I usually just make my own using equal parts of a good olive oil, balsamic vinegar, 1/2 to 1 clove of garlic (depending on the love of garlic)a few fresh basil leaves a little pepper, and salt and then I blend in one of those little chopper blenders from Walmart.

It comes out well blended and smooth. I also use this dressing on pasta salad and throw in some fresh grated parmesean cheese, assorted veggies like red peppers, red onion, olives, and a good ham.

I also marinate chicken breasts and throw them on the grill too.
There is a blu cheese dressing at a local resturant that I love and it has chunks of blu cheese, garlic, and some celery seed.

Something about the celery seed in creamy dressings that make them wonderful.

Mama to four~

Kelly @ The Barefoot Mama said...

Oooh, I love this post! It's only 9:30 am but you already have me ready for lunch, LOL! Below is my recipe for Tangy Asian Dressing.

Mix the following in a glass jar (lidded!) and shake lightly...

2 tsp soy sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp rice vinegar
1/4 c extra-virgin olive oil

kari and kijsa said... usual. That sounds so yummy....especially on a cold day like today...BTW...we just wanted to let you know we posted a version of the painted blocks for Valentine's Day today...

Have a blessed day!

kari & kijsa

Anonymous said...

A very simple salad dessert thing I make for my family is something I copied from the Picadilly cafe in Austin Texas. (it is not there any more, but it used to be a wonderful place on Congress Ave.) (Congress Ave. is the street the capitol of Austin Texas is on) So simple yet so good...a bed of lettuce..I shred Boston Bib and sometime spinach together...then a couple rings of pineapple..(save the juice from the can and freeze it in an ice cube tray to use later) then some shredded cheddar cheese on top of the pineapple...and on top of that a small dollop of REAL Mayo...that is it. This is good I swear. Roxie

Anonymous said...

I would serve my salad on that beautiful black patterned china plate that matches my kitchen... Looks yummy...Julie Schaal

Amy @ Amy's FMQ Adventures said...

Sorry, I'm a dyed in the wool purchased salad dressing user. And I rarely stray from creamy, fattening, yummy ranch. I know I should at least try a vinegrette, and I've bought a bottle or two in the past, but after they've sat there for oh, 2 years, 'ya gotta give them the boot. Maybe one day I'll try it again.

Right now, I'm just happy that we're doing salad several time a week. I am looking forward though to planting our lettuces and spinach again soon. We eat our own spinach and lettuce in the spring and fall, usually on into the winter.

Amy said...

I use this basic recipe and try it with different vinegars or whatever is on hand...

Basic Vinaigrette Dressing (Courtesy of How to Cook Everything)

1/4 cup good vinegar, such as sherry, balsamic, red, or white wine
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard (optional, but I did use)
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons minced shallots (optional, but I subbed with a teaspoon of minced garlic)
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

I placed all of these ingredients into a Mason jar and shook the ingredients. Taste to adjust salt and add more oil or vinegar if needed. Add shallots and pepper. This is best made fresh, but it will keep refrigerated for a few days; bring back to room temperature before using.

To make a small amount of Basic Vinaigrette: Combine 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon mustard, 3-4 tablespoons oil, and 1/2 teaspoon minced shallots. Prepare as directed above.

Anonymous said...

Ah Roxie, that's a good old 1950's standby! Haven't seen that since my mom used to make it for us, and it was SOOO good. Have you noticed that iceberg wedges simply dressed with blue cheese are now all the rage? same era :)

deb meyers

Anonymous said...

I am so inspired by all your recipes! I really am a from-scratch cook, but I was raised on bottled dressings and I just am accustomed to buying them now (I can find good deals at our local salvage store).
There's one homemade dressing that I LOVE and I do make, but you have to toss it with the salad and leftovers are too wilted the next day:
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 Tbs. mild vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4. tsp dry mustard
salt and pepper to taste

The lettuce must be very dry and you must toss it well. It will look like there's very little on the leaves, but the dressing has a real snap. Delicious.

Anonymous said...

To Deb Meyers, I guess my age is showing..I am a 'child of the 50's as I was born in 1951. Yes, I do notice the wedge salads being served now. I remember them too. My grandmother used to make them for my grandfather with lots of blue cheese dressing. ;) Thanks for sharing your memory of the wedge salad..guess what is old is really new again huh???

Don't you just love this blog? I do. Meredith is a breath of fresh air..Roxie

T'Pol said...

Lemon Juice, Extra Virgin Olive Oil and a pinch of salt is all I need for dressing:)

Anonymous said...

Lots of wonderful recipes! I don't usually make my own but I just might start after reading this! I'm having a giveaway on my blog so be sure to come by to enter! Have a great weekend, Meredith! ~ Lynda xo

Anonymous said...

Yes, I do Roxie. One of the first blogs I ever read, and still reading.

You and my husband are the same age and I am so happy my children have a dad with such a wealth of life experience.

deb meyers

Mimi said...

Forgot to mention: Love the blue plates and the salad tongs! I would always have thought they were pretty, but you know I'm off on a mad streak for blue and yellow these days. If you find any bargains in those colors that you don't want to snap up, let me know!

Anonymous said...

Ooo, I finally get to share MY dressing recipe. If you like garlic, you'll LOVE this. I used to eat it spread on foccacia when I was pregnant - a nice snack. ;) I got this recipe from a restaurant I used to work at, and still love eating there!

Up North Dressing

1 c mayo
1/4 c sugar (granulated)
1 1/4 tbsp tarragon vinegar
1/2 bunch green onions, chopped
1/8 bunch chopped fresh parsley (or 1/4 tsp dried)
2 cloves garlic

Blend in food processor or blender till smooth.

Warning: As I discovered one day when craving this, Miracle Whip DOES NOT work well wtih this dressing recipe if you plan on using the sugar - it is far too sweet. If you're only Miracle Whip fans, use about 1 Tbsp sugar, and the Miracle Whip. But honestly, I just suggest buying a small jar of mayo and using the sugar as recommended - it tastes best this way. :)

This is excellent with bitter mixed greens, and a bit of grilled chicken or steak. :)

Musings of a Housewife said...

Such pretty plates! I buy my salad dressing. I have one I love -- Lighthouse Organic Balsamic Vinaigrette. Mmmmm...