Friday, April 17, 2009

The Only Vinaigrette (Salad Dressing) You'll Ever Need

I'm not a huge fan of salad dressing. When I was a kid I generally ate salad without dressing or if I did use it, would lightly coat my salad with a tiny bit of ranch dressing. Odd, since most parents have to beg their kids to eat salad. Even though I will still eat salad that way, I generally like to give it a bit of a flavor boost, especially since I'm not into boring food and plain lettuce is about as boring as it gets.

In other words, a salad dressing has to be pretty darn good and full of flavor if I'm going to spend the calories on it, since most dressings are loaded in calories and fat.

Enter a vinaigrette recipe from a friend in France. Simple, flavorful, many varieties, and the only salad dressing I use, unless a dish specifically calls for something else. I'm no
t kidding, I love this recipe. I love that you can make it your own. I love the bold flavors. I love that it goes with all varieties of greens (and directly on tomatoes, which are a food group in my world). You won't believe how well it goes with red wine and goat cheese (but that salad recipe is for another post). I sometimes wish I could bring my own dressing to a restaurant. And I especially love that you don't need a lot to get the flavor, which makes it very Weight Watchers-friendly.

Quick and simple vinaigrette salad dressing:
  • 2 tsp. Dijon-style mustard (grainy or smooth mustard works. I often vary b/t the two. Only recommendation is NOT to use regular old American mustard...ick)
  • 3 Tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 2 Tbsp. Red wine vinegar
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1-2 cloves fresh crushed garlic (or 1-2 tsp. garlic powder)

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix together as you would beat eggs. If dressing is a bit strong, add a small amount of water. Serve immediately over salad.
If refrigerated prior to serving, allow a few minutes for dressing to return to room temperature and stir again so it's properly mixed. Olive oil will harden in the refrigerator.

There are plenty of options to customize this recipe:
  • For less of a bold flavor, try salad (white wine) vinegar instead of red
  • Not a fan of garlic? Leave it out. I've made it plenty of times without and it's still great
  • Instead of garlic, mince a shallot to add (another variation from a friend in France...certainly worth trying!)
  • Substitute the vinegar to easily make other dressings (balsamic, fig, etc.)
Nutritional information:

The number of servings in this recipe depends on how much salad dressing you use. I estimate there are about 6-8 servings per recipe.

At 6 servings, there are about 70 calories and 7 grams of fat. With a little less dressing per serving it's more like 51 calories and 5 grams of fat. 0 grams of fiber.

You don't need a lot of this dressing to get the flavor.

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  1. Dear Chews Wisely,
    Thanks for bringing this delcious receipe and salad to our Easter gathering. I will definitely be trying this one. Mom in Law

  2. This is one of my fave, most simple vinaigrette recipes!

  3. This dressing is SO good! Even my husband, who normally doesn't like dressing, enjoyed it. YUM!