It’s been a long, cold winter, and I’m ready for some fresh, crisp spring vegetables. We’ve been enjoying several salads and slaws with winter greens and vegetables recently, but wanted to organize and share some of my favorite salad dressing recipes before spring gardens burst forth.
Though salad dressing is not the most exciting topic, good ones can be hard to find . . . and a good one really makes eating salads enjoyable! I hope this inspires you to make your own and enjoy your garden’s bounty!
seen to the left
This is one of my favorite, easy recipes. My son will eat veggies galore if he has the opportunity to dip it in pesto ranch. Peas, carrots, cucumbers, salads, they’re all up for consumption with a dab of this dressing on it.
It’s very scientific. I take a bowl, line up the ingredients and take out a large spoon. First jar of mayonnaise, scoop out a spoonful and put it in the bowl. Scoop out two spoonfuls of sour cream or yogurt. Scoop out a half spoonful of pesto. Throw in a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir. Taste and season to taste. That’s it.
I developed this after making homemade ranch dressing using Pioneer Woman’s recipe, below. After a while it dawned on me that, rather than chopping up garlic and herbs and more each time I wanted to make ranch, I’d already done that when I made pesto every year for storage in the freezer so thought, why not just throw a spoonful of that in? And it worked. Voila!Pesto Ranch was born.
1 part balsamic vinegar
3 parts olive oil
a dollop of dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
I normally make this dressing in one of two ways. First, I make it for immediate use right in the bowl that I’ll be serving salad. I put the olive oil in first, then eyeball the vinegar, whisk in the remainder of the ingredients and let it sit in the bottom. I then stack the vegetables on top, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc. first to soak up the dressing, greens on top. Then toss upon serving.
The second way I make this is for storage in the fridge or to send it with my husband for his lunch. I layer the ingredients in a jelly jar, screw on the lid and shake. Since all of the ingredients are shelf stable, it will last in the fridge for weeks. Make sure you allow it to warm up a bit before use as olive oil will solidify in the fridge.
Other favorites salad dressings we keep in rotation include:
Ina Garten’s Caesar dressing – her use of mayonnaise rather than raw eggs is brilliant as it allows you to keep it in your fridge for up to two weeks!
Smitten Kitchen’s Buttermilk Ranch dressing – I used it recently on her broccoli slaw and found a winner! We love it. The surprising use of apple cider vinegar makes it amazing.
Pioneer Woman’s Ranch Dressing – simple, easy, tasty. Tastes like ranch. Period.
Any favorites that you recommend? I frequently keep several vinegars and citrus on hand to make up unique dressings on the fly, but I’m always open to new ones!