Home-made Dressing Freshens Up Summer Salads

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As temperatures rise, so do cravings for fresh, cool foods. Melons, peaches and of course salad ingredients are at their in-season finest.

Why not make a fresh dressing to add even more flavor to your salad? Home-made dressings are easy to prepare and can be made in small quantities as needed.

There are several types of salad dressings:

  • Creamy often have a mayonnaise base. Yogurt or sour cream may be used to lighten them up or add tanginess.
  • Nut or seed based, such as a peanut butter or tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • Vinaigrettes typically contain 3 parts oil to one part acid, but can vary depending on the desired flavor profile.

Cider vinegar is made from apples and has a slightly sweet apple taste.

White or distilled vinegar is made from grain alcohol and purified so it has a neutral taste.

Wine vinegars have a wine-like flavor.

Balsamic vinegar is a special wine vinegar that is aged in oak barrels and has a sweet taste.

Limes, lemons and oranges add a fresh, tangy flavor.

One of my favorites is this simple lemon vinaigrette with added zest and a small amount of mayo to keep it all combined.

Lemon Vinaigrette Dressing

Makes about ¼ cup, enough to dress 8 to 10 cups lightly packed greens

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • ½ teaspoon mayonnaise
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon or brown mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Ground pepper
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Combine all ingredients except olive oil in a bowl and whisk together. Add olive oil in a slow stream, whisking constantly.

This creamy dressing is packed full of herbs. May be tossed with a salad, served as a dip with crackers or on a veggie tray, or with poached shrimp. Hard to stop eating it!

green goddess dressing for vegetables

Green Goddess Dressing

Green Goddess Dressing (and Dip)

Makes over ½ cup

  • ½ cup fresh parsley
  • ¼ cup fresh basil
  • 1/8 cup fresh chives
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried tarragon, or 2 tablespoons fresh
  • ½ teaspoon garlic, or 1 small clove
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon anchovy paste (or 1 mashed anchovy)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place the herbs and garlic in the bowl of a food processor. Process until they are very finely chopped. Add the remaining ingredients and process until smooth. The dressing will keep well in a covered container in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days. Via Once Upon a Chef.

Margie Mansure is an extension agent with N.C. Cooperative Extension. As a registered dietitian/nutritionist chef, she offers nutrition and cooking classes to community members. margie_mansure@ncsu.edu