Making Homemade Salad Dressing

There’s nothing like a great salad dressing, especially when you made it yourself!  Saving money while using healthy, fresh ingredients is always the way to go!  Oh, and did we mention that it can be fun and creative too?

Below are some simple tips on how to make your own Vinaigrette or Ranch Dressing, with plenty of ideas for how you can customize these recipes for yourself.

How to Make a Tasty, Homemade Vinaigrette:

Vinaigrette is tasty and healthy when using the right ingredients.  It also happens to be very easy to make.  The basic recipe is to add ¾ Oil and ¼ Vinegar to a bowl with just the right herbs, spices and additions right for you and yours.  See below for the details!

  • Oil (3/4 Cup) – Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the standard, but Hazelnut, Walnut, Avocado, Sesame, Sunflower, Almond and Peanut oils can also be great options. For every cup of salad dressing you make, it is common to add 3/4 cup of oil.
  • Vinegar (1/4 Cup) – Choose the vinegars you love, but remember that as you combine them with other flavors, the overall taste will change. Red or white wine vinegars, cider vinegars and balsamic vinegars are almost always great!  If you’re in the mood for something fresh, you can substitute fresh squeezed lemon juice for a zesty and healthy treat.  For every cup of salad dressing you make, it is common to add ¼ cup of vinegar or lemon juice.
  • A Little Something Extra - – Add a spoonful or more of Dijon Mustard, honey, maple syrup or agave to add that extra kick you’re after on any particular evening. Some people choose to add a little sugar, but I prefer adding a healthy sweetener, by adding either fresh, blended strawberries or dried berries too.
  • Herbs & Spices – Sea salt, black pepper, dill, blended garlic and onion are great ingredients that won’t steer you wrong. If you’re feeling a little spicy, consider adding some diced spicy peppers as well.

Mix these ingredients up well together with a whisk, or shake them up in a sealed cup for a fresh, healthy and wallet conscious vinaigrette salad dressing.

How to Make a Tasty, Homemade Ranch Dressing:

While not always as healthy and low on calories as vinaigrette, ranch dressing is hearty and tasty.  It can even be pretty healthy too, if you use the vegan alternative below.  The basic recipe is to start with Mayo, and add other ingredients to taste.  A few splashes of vinegar or lemon juice are popular, as is the use of dried dill for flavor.  You can turn your ranch dressing into a Russian dressing simply by adding ketchup (with chili sauce if you’d like).  See below for the details!

  • Mayonnaise (1 Cup) – This is the primary ingredient in most ranch dressings, but you can substitute ½ or more of the mayo for sour cream and/or buttermilk as your taste buds prefer. If you’re in the mood for a Russian dressing you can also add 1/4 cup of ketchup
  • Vinegar or Lemon Juice (1-3 teaspoons) – adding a splash of vinegar or lemon juice will help to perfect the texture and the taste of your ranch dressing
  • A Little Something Extra - Consider adding Dijon, horseradish, chili sauce, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce or anything else that adds the extra zing you’re after.
  • Herbs & Spices – No ranch dressing is right without the proper blend of herbs and spices. Popular herbs and spices include salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and please don’t forget the dried dill.
  • Vegan Tip – Cashew cream can make an excellent replacement for Mayo, whether used in salad dressing or elsewhere. Soak fresh, whole cashews in water for a minimum of 1 hour, or overnight if you’d like a creamier cashew cream.  Drain the cashews with a colander, and discard the un-appetizing water that is left over.  Place your wet cashews in a blender with enough water to make a cream of your preferred texture, and blend until nice and smooth.

That’s it!  Enjoy your homemade ranch dressing that cost you a fraction of what it would have been at the supermarket.  Make sure to refrigerate quickly to keep it fresh.

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