Simply Food

Three Salad Dressings

By Wendy Monro

I am a huge fan of salad. I make salad all of the time, even for breakfast. Claud thinks it is so weird when I make a big salad for breakfast. I don’t think it is weird at all. Who says we need to eat eggs or cereal for breakfast? Salad is a great way to start my day.

I like a taco salad with romaine lettuce, black beans, spring onions, cilantro, corn, tomatoes, avocado, cheese, and sour cream. I squeeze lemon juice over the top and add lots of salsa. The combination of salsa and lemon juice serves as my dressing. This is one of my favorite lunches. Sometimes I add rice but I feel like that becomes more of a bowl rather than a salad.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about a citrus salad. I have been making a lot of those lately. For some reason I have been craving citrus. I love to combine grapefruit, tangerines, and blood oranges. In order to create this salad, I just add a little bit of olive oil and seasoned salt. It really doesn’t need any other dressing because there is so much juice from the citrus. I add sunflower seeds, pistachio nuts or sliced almonds for crunch and texture.

My all time favorite salad is a Greek salad. I love the combination of kalamata olives, feta, tomatoes, and cucumber. I add garbanzo beans because I love them and because I like the added protein they provide. For this salad, I use a basic vinaigrette dressing.

For all of my salads, I make my own dressing. I never buy dressing at the store. Once I realized how easy salad dressing is to make, I never bought it again. Also, there are so many different versions and varieties you can create at home. You wouldn’t want to have a refrigerator full of bottles of dressings. You can just whip them up when you need them. I usually begin with basic vinaigrette. This is simply one part acid (vinegar or citrus juice) combined with three parts oil. Don’t limit yourself to lemon juice or white vinegar and olive oil. Try grapefruit, orange and lime juices. Give red wine, white wine, rice, and balsamic vinegars a chance. Experiment with grapeseed, sesame, walnut, coconut and avocado oils. Make it fun. Be creative.

From that foundation, of oil and acid, the possibilities are limitless. You can add fresh herbs, dried herbs, chopped garlic, mayonnaise, mustard, avocado, peppers, olives, and seasonings to create whatever masterpiece you desire. The dressing can make all of the difference in how much you will enjoy your salad. If you do experiment, make sure to taste it before you pour it over your beautiful fresh vegetables. You can always start over with the dressing without ruining your entire salad. I only suggest this because I have made this mistake thinking I knew what I was doing.

If you aren’t interested in vinaigrette-based dressings, you can make a variety of other types. Some people may not want to use oil at all. There are so many recipes out there for an oil free dressing. Also, I sometimes crave ranch for my salad. I love ranch dressing with a lot of freshly ground pepper. I have included a lighter version of a ranch-dressing recipe here in this article.

I guess the point I am trying to get at here is there is no reason anyone shouldn’t like salad. Salad can be so many different things. Make it with what you love. Then, top it with a dressing that is tailored to your tastes as well. It’s just so easy. Here are three of my favorite types of dressing:


2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

½ teaspoon salt

pepper to taste

½ cup olive oil

½ cup feta cheese, mashed

1 tablespoon parsley, chopped

1 teaspoon oregano, dried

1 diced plum tomato

Whisk together the vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper. Gradually whisk in the olive oil, feta cheese, parsley, and oregano. Mix in the tomato. Pour over your salad or vegetable platter.

Red Pepper Dressing:

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon lemon zest

½ teaspoon sugar

salt to taste

¼ cup olive oil

¼ cup canola oil

1 jar roasted red peppers

1 teaspoon rosemary, minced

Whisk together lemon juice, mustard, lemon zest, sugar, salt, olive oil and canola oil. Pour this into a blender and add the red peppers. Blend together and pour over salad.


½ cup buttermilk

¼ cup nonfat Greek yogurt

2 tablespoons parsley, chopped

2 tablespoons chives

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon sugar

Whisk together buttermilk, yogurt, parsley, chives, vinegar, salt and sugar. Pour over vegetables or salad.