Inspired by their love of food and passion for health and wellness, our Test Kitchen team launched a Wellness Camp at our headquarters this January, dedicated to teaching Williams-Sonoma employees about little things we could all do to improve our diets and overall sense of well-being. All month, we’ll be sharing some of their favorite tips, from healthy recipe hacks to cooking techniques to small substitutions that make a big difference. Follow along with us on the blog and on Instagram @williamssonoma #wswellness.
This post comes from Test Kitchen cook Amanda Frederickson.
Salad Dressing without a Recipe: Make it your own and make it better.
Swapping your store-bought salad dressing with a homemade salad dressing is a simple way to eat healthier. Store bought salad dressings are often filled with preservatives and lots of sugar to make them shelf-stable. By remembering a simple ratio, you can make a delicious homemade salad dressing in minutes and at the same time, avoid the hidden additives found in store-bought bottled salad dressing.
Salad dressing ratio: 1 part acid to 2 parts oil.
The acid in salad dressing balances the oil and can be anything from lemon juice to apple cider vinegar to balsamic vinegar. Currently, my favorite acid to use is white balsamic vinegar but I like to explore new flavors like lime juice or champagne vinegar depending on the flavor profile of my salad.
High quality oil is important in creating a salad dressing. My go-to oil for most salad dressings is extra virgin olive oil because it’s a staple in the Test Kitchen, but considering using different types of oil such as walnut oil or avocado oil to add subtle new flavors to your dressing.
Once you have the ratio down, the fun part begins: adding more flavors to round out the salad dressing.
Hint of Sweetness
This is my secret ingredient in my salad dressing. A subtle hint of sweetness to play off the acid in the dressing makes a salad dressing come alive. Plus, for me, if the salad dressing is well balanced it makes me want to eat a lot more salad. Always a good thing right? My choice of sweetener is honey, but feel free to use agave, maple syrup or even regular sugar. The key is to use only use a small amount so the sweetness highlights but does not overpower the acid.
You can easily make a creamy salad dressing by adding Dijon mustard or an egg yolk from a pasteurized egg. Simply add it to the base and mix well to get the creaminess.
Consider adding herbs and diced shallots as well to the dressing for additional flavors and textures.
Here is my easy recipe for my favorite salad dressing:
1 tbs. honey
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 Tbs, white balsamic or champagne vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp. diced shallot
1 tsp. parsley, chopped
Large pinch of salt
Freshly ground pepper
Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk well. Taste for salt and pepper and toss over your favorite salad. This dressing will keep for about a week in your refrigerator.
Need more inspiration? Check out our salad primer.