A salad, full of greens, fruits, veggies, is a staple for many of us who are trying to get in our servings of fruits and vegetables. Salads are quick and easy to prepare, and they can be made in infinite varieties to suit anyone’s taste or dietary needs.
Though salad may be considered a go-to health food, store-bought dressings you may put on it can be full of sugar or processed oils. Even dressings labeled “natural” or “organic” can have almost half your recommended daily value of sugar. Check the label of your dressing for the amount of sugar, and then check the serving size. Many dressing have a serving size of 1 tbsp, which may be less than you are actually using on the salad, so you have to multiply the amount of sugar according to how many servings you are actually consuming. You may be surprised at how much sugar you are actually eating in your dressing.
I started making my own salad dressing a few years ago, and I have never gone back. It is quick and easy, and it guarantees I am eating healthy oils and no refined sugar. Plus, making your own dressing is a lot cheaper than buying dressing at the store. Try this quick and easy balsamic vinaigrette on your next salad.
NO SWEETENER BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTE
2 cups extra virgin olive oil
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tsp mustard (the condiment, not the spice)
1 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp dried basil
½ tsp dried thyme
½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
½ tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
1 tsp garlic powder
Whisk all ingredients together, then pour into a bottle to store. You can use it immediately, but it tastes better after sitting for a day to let the flavors blend. Shake each time before pouring.
This dressing will keep for about two weeks outside of the fridge.
HINTS AND VARIATIONS
• To make this dressing taste “sweet,” contrast it with something salty in your salad, like goat cheese or feta cheese. Also, add a sweet fruit of some kind to the salad, like strawberries, tangerines, apples, pomegranate seeds, etc. to add natural sweetness to the salad without adding a sweetener.
• If you are used to a sugary salad dressing and this dressing tastes too “acidic,” add a little honey to this recipe at first, and gradually wean yourself down by adding less honey each time you make the dressing.
• If you are short on time, replace the herbs with 2 tsp of Italian Seasoning.
• If you have an herb garden, try using minced fresh herbs instead of dried. Or press fresh garlic instead of using garlic powder. Or adjust the herbs to taste, i.e. adding sage, tarragon, or rosemary. Any herbs you would find in an Italian Seasoning mix taste great in this dressing.
• Because this dressing is made from extra virgin olive oil, it will solidify if kept in the fridge. Keep it in a cupboard.