Bottled salad dressings may be convenient, but home-made dressings take only minutes to make and you know exactly what’s in them. Best of all, they taste great.
The job of a good dressing is to complement a salad, rather than disguise it.
Once you get the general principle down – about three parts oil to one part acid (such as lemon juice or vinegar), you can play around with variations and add ingredients such as mustard, honey or chopped fresh herbs.
The two most widely used salad dressings are mayonnaise and vinaigrette, and most other dressings are derived in some way from these two. If you use home-made mayonnaise as a basis, your dressing will taste better.
CREAMY BASIL DRESSING
Makes 250ml. This dressing is delicious on potatoes as well as in a pasta salad.
125ml Greek yoghurt
125ml good-quality mayonnaise
10ml white wine vinegar
5ml lemon juice
5ml chopped garlic
250ml basil leaves
salt and pepper
Put all the ingredients into a blender or processor and blend until smooth.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
SPICY ASIAN DRESSING
Makes about 160ml. This dressing is perfect for a Thai beef salad or a similar salad using chicken or fish.
60ml fish sauce
60ml lime juice
45ml sweet chilli sauce
10ml sesame oil
1 stalk of lemongrass, finely chopped
15ml grated ginger
10ml chopped garlic
1 red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
Combine all the ingredients in a screw-top jar and shake well to mix.
A very popular American dressing that is used not only on salads but as a dip for vegetables and chicken wings.
250ml good-quality mayonnaise
60ml sour cream
3-5ml green onion seasoning
3ml garlic powder
3ml dried thyme
15ml snipped chives
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and use a whisk to blend them until smooth. Pour into an airtight container and store in the fridge.
* Shake the buttermilk very well before pouring it to measure.
CAESAR STYLE DRESSING
Makes about 250ml. The dressing is traditionally served over a Caesar salad but is also delicious served with fish or chicken salads.
15ml white wine vinegar
15ml Dijon mustard
4-6 good-quality anchovy fillets
15ml Worcestershire sauce
1 egg yolk
250ml light olive oil
lemon juice to taste
Combine all the ingredients up to but not including the olive oil in a food processor or blender and blend well. With the machine running slowly, pour in the oil and mix until thick. Add lemon juice and seasoning to taste. If the dressing is very thick, use a little water to thin it down to a pouring consistency. - The Star