Here’s the Challenge – Don’t Buy it. Make it.
What was the one of the first things you learned to make, on your own, no detailed recipe, no real instruction? For me, it was salad dressing. In a moment of desperation and frustration of having to throw away yet another bottle of store-bought vinaigrette, I decided I would make my own. Since that day, there’s a rare occasion when I buy salad dressing instead of just whipping up a batch on my own.
I literally never make the same dressing twice, which can be annoying, and then make it really hard to share with people when they ask “Do you have the recipe for that?!” In an effort to be better, I’ve started to track what I’m making and how I do it. First up, I’m going to share with you my Honey Mustard Vinaigrette. I LOVE me some honey mustard anything. It’s the perfect combo of acid and sweet, and in my mind, this vinaigrette really creates the perfect summer salad topping.
I did a little poll on my insta stories yesterday, and it seems a majority of you buy your dressings. I’m here to tell you… STOP. Dressing is one of the easiest things to make, and once you get the hang of it, you can evolve it and have fun with the flavors each time. Also, isn’t it always better to know what you’re eating?! Store-bought dressings, even the “healthy” ones have tons of sodium and a higher fat content then a homemade version.
I know dressings can be intimidating, especially if you’re not someone that cooks sans recipe that often. Here are the basics of making a dressing:
You need some sort of acid. So… what’s an acid? In most cases this is your vinegar. If I have it on hand, I also like to include little fresh acid of some sort, i.e. lemon or lime juice.
Next you have to emulsify. Emulsification is what makes that creaminess in the dressing. It’s the process that brings the dressing together and allows everything to meld. Mustard (not the yellow junk) is a great emulsifier. If you’re not a mustard fan, try fresh, finely grated garlic.
Make it special. This is where you can have a little fun and mix it up. Add some fresh herbs, dried herbs work in a pinch, or a finely chopped onion/shallot. I love adding a small drizzle of honey to round out the flavor / sweeten it a bit.
Season it!! Do not skip this step! Fresh cracked pepper and a good amount of salt is what really brings the whole thing together.
Finish it with the oil. Olive oil or bust! You should always have a decent olive oil on hand. Go for something a little special here. Since you’re not cooking this oil at all, the flavor really makes a difference. It needs to be fresh and light.
See… doesn’t it sound so easy?! Trust me. You can do this! If you do brave the homemade vinaigrette challenge I’ve placed before you, slide into my DMs and send me a pic or let me know in the comments below! I love seeing you all take on the challenge of being better in the kitchen.
Honey Mustard Vinaigrette
zest from 1 lemon
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (just go with 2 if you don’t like an acidic dressing)
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
2 tablespoons honey
salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste (don’t skimp!)
1/4 cup olive oil (the good stuff)
Start by zesting your lemon. This isn’t necessary, but it creates a nice sharp/summer-y feel to the dressing.
Next, mix together the acids – vinegar and lemon juice.
Add your emulsifier, in this case we’re going with whole grain mustard.
Sweeten it a bit with some honey.
Mix all of this together until it’s nice and combined. Take a taste and add your salt and pepper.
Finally, slowly whisk in your olive oil.
Once you’ve incorporated all the oil, give it a taste, and add more seasoning, more honey, or more mustard. Experiment a little and be confident with your choices!