Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Homemade Vinaigrette Recipe and Tips

My mom circulated an article on the health benefits of raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar to me and some friends last week and it got everyone thinking and talking about ways to incorporate this "superfood" into our diets. I am not a fan of drinking vinegar so my natural go-to was an apple cider vinaigrette.

Salad dressings are super easy to make at home and generally much cheaper and healthier than store-bought dressings. You probably have a lot of the ingredients on hand at any given time, so why buy the bottled stuff when you can customize your own to your specific tastes? I whipped up a pint of dressing last week and gave a half cup to a friend who requested the recipe today, so here it is!

For all dressings like this, I recommend using an immersion (aka hand-held) blender if you want to emulsify (creamify) the ingredients. If you have a jar with a lid (like my favorite pint-sized canning jars), you'll likely be able to fit that blender right down into the jar and then seal it up, minimizing dirty containers and dishes (timesaver!). If you don't have one of those doo-hickys, you can use an upright blender. You'll just have more cleaning to do, I suppose. If you don't need or want to emulsify your dressing, you can simply put all of the ingredients in a container with a spill-proof top and shake well to combine. If you do this, you'll want to mince the garlic instead of adding them whole (again, adding to the dirty dishes)!

Ingredients:
3 cloves garlic
1 1/3 c extra virgin olive oil
1/2 c apple cider vinegar
2 tb dijon mustard
1 tsp honey or maple syrup (optional)
dash of sea salt
freshly ground pepper to taste

Makes roughly a pint of dressing. :-)

Other ideas for dressings:
Use a pitted date instead of honey or maple syrup to sweeten
Add some fresh herbs like parsley, basil, or chives
Dried herbs work, too
You can swap out the apple cider vinegar for any kind of vinegar
Instead of vinegar, try lemon or lime juice
Instead of garlic, try a shallot
Add a dash of hot sauce for some zip
Some Braggs Liquid Aminos or soy sauce can add some umami flavor

What are your favorite homemade dressing tips?