Dress Rules: How to make your salad awesome. Period.

dress your dinner)One of the most desperate realities of changing your eating habits is that a lot of the time, we just don’t know what to eat instead of our go-to options.   We make a fatal dietary mistake: Our food gets boring.  Then tasteless.  Then we feel sorry for ourselves and deprived.  And then we lose motivation, and before we know it, we’re pouring a pint of Ranch dressing onto a perfectly good salad because we. just. can’t. do. lemon. juice. any. more.

I’m here to tell you that there is redemption for salads.  It’s called Make Your Own Damn Dressing.  This here is a little primer on how to concoct awesomeness in a jar for all your salad needs.  Because only rabbits should eat their lettuce plain.

So let’s start with some BASIC SALAD DRESSING RULES.  Actually, there’s just one:

3 parts oil. 1 part something else.

That sounds pretty boring, and it can be, unless that oil is some nice avocado and the something else is an aged balsamic.  See how that works?!?! You’ve already got a fancy dressing!!  Now get out your blender and make some magic:

Grapefruit Tahini Dressing
3 parts olive oil
1 part grapefruit juice (I prefer a 50/50 blend usually)
1 clove garlic
1 tbs tahini

You take a base and add flavors, mix them, get a little brazen about it.  Your taste buds will thank you.

Asian Vinaigrette
3 parts oil (2 olive, one toasted sesame)
1 part lemon juice
1 clove garlic
1 tsp honey (or not)
1 part shredded carrots
1 tbs sesame seeds
1 tbs tamari

Orange Mint Dressing
3 parts oil
1 part orange juice
3 tbs chopped mint
1 part walnuts (roast them for some finesse)

Basically, you can’t go wrong – unless you start throwing some anchovies in there or something.  I sometimes use a little honey in my salad dressings, but another great alternative (depending on your flavor palette) is Rice Vinegar (which goes beautifully with Sesame Oil, for example).

Have a half avocado left over? Blend that baby up with some fresh dill and oil and a little lemon, and VOILA! you’ve got dressing.

Other favorite things I throw in salad dressings:

Apples
Diced ginger
Toasted hazelnuts
Cucumber
Pomegranate
Fresh parsley
Mustard seed
Red onions
Chives
Sun-dried tomatoes
Anything that looks like it might spoil soon and won’t break my blender.

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