I’ve gained a bit of a reputation among my friends. I’m known for my salads. I know, it sounds soooooo cliche: the vegetarian always brings salad to potluck meals. The truth is, I’m always happy to make a salad that people enjoy and remember because I think it’s important to cultivate a good relationship with your vegetables. Also, I secretly love showing people that salad can be so more than bland rabbit food.
I have a few rules about salad. First, if I’m making a leafy salad, I almost always, with very few exceptions, use dark leaves. I tend to opt for spring mix, baby spinach, arugula, or kale over iceberg or romain lettuce. I happen to like the flavors of these darker leaves much more, and they provide more nutrients than their more anemic-looking counterparts.
Second, 95% of my salads involve avocado. You simply cannot go wrong with avocado. I once (ok, fine, it was twice) dated a guy who didn’t like avocado and I honestly didn’t know how to deal with it. Avocado belongs in everything. Period.
Third, it’s all about the dressing. I honestly cannot remember the last time I bought a bottle of salad dressing. I much prefer to make it myself. I tend to like my dressings more acidic, which pairs very nicely with the copious amounts of creamy avocado I usually put in my salads. It also means that I tend to use a 1:1 oil to vinegar ratio, as opposed to the commonly used 1:2. My signature salad dressing is a balsamic vinegar and dijon mustard combo. Add a little olive oil, a touch of garlic powder, and a drop of honey and you have the perfect salad dressing. It goes with pretty much everything, and the flavor is strong enough that you don’t need much dressing. Plus, with just a little variation, it makes a great marinade.
What’s your favorite way to dress a salad?
Balsamic Dijon Vinaigrette
Makes about 1 cup
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Honey, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
Optional additions and variations: add one finely chopped shallot, swap honey out for maple syrup or agave, use a different mustard, add in fresh or dried basil
1. Pour the vinegar, oil, mustard, and garlic powder into a bowl or small jar. Whisk in the bowl or seal the jar and shake vigorously (my personal preference) until all the ingredients are combined.
2. Add in honey, a little bit at a time, mixing the dressing well each time, until it the flavors balance the way you like it.
3. Adjust salt and pepper to taste, then pour over your favorite salad.