One night, my brilliant and sharp roommate and I decided we wanted to eat a salad. "But we don't have a dressing!" he said.
He offered to run to the store and grab one, while I offered to make one, and after a discussion what would be faster he actually bet me that he would be back from the store sooner than my dressing was ready. Who do you think won?
More important than 'winning' was for me to understand that this otherwise smart guy simply did not know his options. He used more time and spent money on a pre-mixed dressing plus some additional items he grabbed while at the store.
A basic vinaigrette consists of oil, vinegar, pepper, and salt. That’s right – mix these four together and pour it over your salad. It will already taste good!
And while I have your attention, here are some ways to make your salad dressing just a little more fancy.
1) Add something sweet, either to your dressing or as a salad ingredient. For example:
• A little bit of a chopped apple, sliced grapes, chunks of an orange or a melon
• A bit of apple juice, maple syrup, or honey (these ingredients also have specific flavors in addition to basic sweetness)
If you're wondering about this recommendation because you have to watch your sugar intake (in fact, everyone should), be assured that pretty much any pre-made dressing will have MUCH more added sugar than what you're putting in, and it'll likely be processed sugar.
2) Add herbs, for example:
If you are not sure which herbs go together, use one kind of herb per salad.
3) Add additional ingredients to your salad (there’s probably hardly anything in your fridge that can’t go into a salad), for example:
• Vegetables: (All kinds of) lettuce and spinach, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, sliced bell peppers, raffled carrots, chopped celery stalks, raffled celery roots, fennel, all kinds of cabbage, cooked or steamed green beans, mung bean sprouts, corn from a cob, mushrooms, avocado
• Nuts and seeds: Almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, pecan nuts, flaxseed
• Dairy: Feta cheese, blue cheese, plain yogurt or sour cream mixed into the dressing
• (Firm) tofu, cut into cubes
• Hard-boiled eggs, in cubes or slices
• Carbs: Cooked potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes, noodles, rice noodles, rice, quinoa, lentils
• Croutons from leftover bread, cut in cubes and roasted in olive oil
• Pickles and canned veggies: Olives, artichoke hearts, beans, chickpeas, corn
• Fish: Smoked salmon, canned tuna, leftover cooked fish of any kind
• Meat: Any kind of cooked meat, ham, or poultry cut into cubes
How to actually make a salad out of any of these ingredients: For each and any combination of them, the same process applies. For the simplest version, put what you have in a bowl, pour the 30-Second Dressing over it, and toss. Done! :-)