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What's your favorite salad and/or dressing recipe?

rob333 (zone 7a)
last year
last modified: last year

I'm trying to learn how to love salads. It's kind of ironic, because I absolutely love vegetables. Except beets. I'll conquer that hurdle some other day. Any suggestions? I really am pretty adventurous, so lay it out there. Here's what I've had the last two evenings (though, I read it first in Cooking Light, and ripped it out, that's right, hardcopy). It's really good! Both the dressing and the veggie/fruit combination. I figured it'd work well if I eased into this endeavor ;)


https://www.recipegirl.com/baby-spinach-salad-with-warm-citrus-bacon-vinaigrette/

Comments (41)

  • Lars
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Here is my recipe for fresh Ranch Salad Dressing:

    • 2 shallots, minced
    • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1/2 tsp white pepper
    • 1/2 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
    • 1/4 cup fresh dill, minced (large stems removed)
    • 1 dash cayenne
    • 2 tbs fresh lemon juice (Meyer’s lemons preferred), as needed for thinning
    • 2 cups mayonnaise (Best Foods or Hellmann’s), or a combination of mayo and sour cream

    I usually crush the garlic and shallots in a mortar and pestle with the pepper and dill and then add the lemon juice, but you can make the whole thing in a small food processor or use a stick blender.

    For a seafood salad, I make a Louis dressing:

    • 2/3 cup mayonnaise
    • 1/3 cup chili sauce (medium)
    • 2 green onions, minced
    • 2-3 tsp lime or lemon juice
    • 1 tbsp prepared horseradish
    • dash of bottled hot sauce or cayenne, to taste
    • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce (optional)

    Combine all ingredients and mix well.

    You could use this on other salads, but I use it mainly for Crab Louis, although also for shrimp cocktail.

    For Crab Louis, I use Romaine lettuce, hard boiled egg, green onions, black olives, button mushrooms, and half an avocado for each serving. The crab is then put into the avocado half, which is on top of the lettuce, with the other ingredients arranged around.

    rob333 (zone 7a) thanked Lars
  • Lars
    last year

    Here's the recipe I use for Caesar (or Cesar) salad:

    • 2 tablespoon anchovy paste (or 4 anchovies minced)
    • 1 coddled egg*
    • 1 large clove garlic, or two medium ones
    • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
    • 1 tablespoon lime juice (can substitute lemon juice)
    • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
    • 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
    • 2 dashes Tabasco sauce
    • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
    • 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
    • 3/4 cup extra-light olive oil (or half EVOO & half vegetable oil)
    • 1/4 to 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

    In a blender or food processor, blend together all ingredients except the olive oil and Parmesan cheese until well combined. While still blending, slowly drizzle the olive oil in until well combine and thickened. Pour into a container and stir in the grated Parmesan cheese. Serve over romaine lettuce with freshly shaved Parmesan cheese and croutons.

    To make croutons, cut sourdough or Italian bread into half inch thick slices and spread one side with garlic butter. Lightly toast the bread in a toaster oven. When the toast is somewhat cool, spread the other side with garlic butter (or plain butter or olive oil), and cut into cubes. You can finish toasting the croutons on a baking sheet in the oven or in a skillet at low heat, tossing every few minutes. I put a lid on the skillet when I toss the croutons.

    rob333 (zone 7a) thanked Lars
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  • nancyjane_gardener
    last year

    rob333 are you having salads as a meal, or as a side?

    We will often have what we call a super salad with the lettuce, tomatoes, green onion, cuke, and whatever is in the fridge or garden maybe green beans, radish, snow peas, peppers whatever. Then we add protein, maybe boiled eggs, nuts, shredded chicken, bacon, even thinly sliced beef.

    Our latest problem is that the makers of our favorite dressings have stopped making them and gone over to the wine business! (As if we need MORE wineries in Sonoma County!)

    We need to get better at making our own dressings.

    rob333 (zone 7a) thanked nancyjane_gardener
  • plllog
    last year

    I love salads. I make all kinds of salads. I buy all kinds of salads to have something different. And I can't think of any that are going to help you love salads if you don't love salads.


    There's one a local joint makes which is fantastic in a way that's about proportion. It's just ribbons of romaine, diced tomato and avocado, feta a similar size and barbecue chicken a similar size. The dressing is a kind of chimichurri but the perfection is in the proportions of this great said. It's just right. Great without any dressing (for a salad love). Great with the distinctive dressing. So that's a hint for making salads.


    When I make salads, I include a lot of different vegetables cut to be able to get a bunch of variety on a fork, along with something crunchy hard, something crunchy crisp, something soft, something sweet, something spicy (not necessarily hot), something acidic, something umami (tomatoes, mushrooms, bacon, etc,). Also colors that are appealing together. You do all that, and you'll likely get something good. Making sure the pieces aren't too big or too small is a big part of that.


    Good luck with your project!

    rob333 (zone 7a) thanked plllog
  • rob333 (zone 7a)
    Original Author
    last year
    last modified: last year

    (small hint at how I'm trying) when I am portioning the greens, I sneak a snack of whatever greens are going in the bag... If I don't want that, I will never love salads!

  • amylou321
    last year

    I have a confession, My favorite dressing is ranch. And my go to ranch is the stuff you make from the powder. 1 pack of ranch powder, 1 cup mayo, one cup milk, shake it up. That's it. Bottled ranches have a weird sweet taste to them that puts me off. When I am at work and do not want to spend time making that ranch for everyone else to SCAVANGE, I like Olive Garden Italian dressing which I get at the grocery store.


    I hate beets and will NEVER eat them again. Never.

  • plllog
    last year

    Oh, yeah, beets. For a good entrée into beets, see if your store has Love Beets in the produce cooler. They're perfectly cooked baby beets, I think organic, and there are flavored ones like Mild Vinegar and Honey Ginger. I cook beets myself, but I love the flavored Love Beets (they also have plain but I can do that) because they're so good and convenient.

    rob333 (zone 7a) thanked plllog
  • lindac92
    last year

    My basic salad dressing...

    1 rounded T dijon mustard ( prepared stuff not powder)

    1 round T honey

    1 large clove crushed garlic ( I use a press)

    1 /3 cup vinegar...rice vinegar and balsamic mixed...only about 2 teaspoons balsamic...unless you like more) 1 tsp dry oregano, or 2 tsps fresh

    !/2 cup good fruity olive oil

    Whisk first 5 ingredients together and whisk in oil slowly. That's it!

    But you can vary that in many ways.....use ketchup or chili sauce instead of mustard and brown sugar instead of honey.

    Or use part flavorless oil like corn oil and part toasted sesame oil, skip the oregano and add some fresh chopped ginger.

    Or use original recipe and change the herb to dill...or basil....or a mixture.

    Add some red pepper flakes....or some black pepper

    Use maple syrup instead of the honey...ETC ETC...

    It whips up in about 2 minutes by the clock and keeps a while in the refrig. You can use cider vinegar instead of the rice vinegar.....or red wine vinegar....or cut back on the honey and use all balsamic.

    And the original dressing works well on a mixed vegetable salad....a pasta salad....a mixed bean salad ansd likely a potato salad but I haven't done that.

    rob333 (zone 7a) thanked lindac92
  • floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK
    last year

    For those of you whisking vinaigrettes, I just put everything in a screwtop jar and shake. I just use an old jam jar. It’s very quick, doesn't splash, reduces washing up and your dressing can be kept in the same jar for weeks afterwards. The garlic cloves end up deliciously pickled after a few days. I don't use a recipe but it’s basically like lindac’s.

    rob333 (zone 7a) thanked floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK
  • bragu_DSM 5
    last year

    a dill pickle jar works nicely as well ...

    rob333 (zone 7a) thanked bragu_DSM 5
  • rob333 (zone 7a)
    Original Author
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Or what I can a "whiskey" jar. Just bugs the daylights outta my kiddo. The correct name is Blender Bottle

    https://www.amazon.com/Classic-Blender-Bottle-Stainless-Steel/dp/B07KKP5PLZ

  • floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK
    last year

    By ’jam jar’ I mean any screw top glass jar. It could be any kind. And it won't cost you anything.

    rob333 (zone 7a) thanked floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK
  • rob333 (zone 7a)
    Original Author
    last year
    last modified: last year

    You are, of course, correct floral!

    I already own two blender bottles. That's how much we like them. It's good for protein shakes, making microwave (we mix in pepper sauce, cinnamon, extracts... so it's still pretty tasty) hot chocolate, salad dressings from scratch... countless uses. It really breaks up the powders with the liquid so that the mixture is homogenous. If you ever get a chance to buy one, you know, spare $ sometime, well worth the investment

  • rob333 (zone 7a)
    Original Author
    last year

    This is the one I'm trying tonight. In case others aim to try their own dressings from scratch. I am going to try others on this thread. I'd already bought ingredients for this, so I'm going forward with it :)


    https://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/vanilla-pear-vinaigrette

    Vanilla-Pear Vinaigrette


    Ingredients

    1 (15-ounce) can pear halves in juice, undrained

    ⅓ cup white wine vinegar

    1 tablespoon honey

    ¾ teaspoon kosher salt

    ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

    ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

    Dash of ground red pepper


    Directions
    To prepare dressing, drain pears, reserving 1/3 cup pear juice. Combine pears, juice, vinegar, and remaining ingredients in a blender; process until smooth.

    Nutrition Facts

    Per Serving:14 calories; protein 0.1g; carbohydrates 3.7g; fiber 0.3g; iron 0.1mg; sodium 68mg; calcium 2mg.

  • Lars
    last year
    last modified: last year

    I love beets, but not from a can. I buy them at the farmers' market, boil them, and then make a salad with frisee lettuce, gorgonzola cheese, and walnuts. I think I use a simple vinaigrette salad dressing, but it does not have honey or sugar in it - the beets are sweet enough on their own. I dislike all sweet salad dressings, including ones made with ketchup. The exception is a poppy seed dressing that I make for fruit salad, which has honey, lemon juice, poppy seeds, and vegetable oil.

    The only thing I do not like about beets is that I have to wear rubber gloves when slicing them, or they will stain my hands.

    rob333 (zone 7a) thanked Lars
  • chloebud
    last year

    "And my go to ranch is the stuff you make from the powder."

    Same with me. I well remember the first time I had Hidden Valley Ranch my MIL made from the packet. HV from the packet is still my favorite ranch. These days I buy the seasoning mix in the larger container.

    rob333 (zone 7a) thanked chloebud
  • plllog
    last year

    The whisk ball blender cup is very clever. it would be great for off grid glamping!


    That fat free dressing is different from anything I've tasted. I suppose the honey helps it stick, and many people like sweet dressings to counteract the bitter of dark greens.


    So in the ”make from scratch” stakes, i make dressing all the time, but I only use a recipe if it's for something very soecific, usually some traditional recipe handed down from a friend.


    Most dressings are oil based, either takes on vinaigrette (literally a little vinegar) or on mayonnaise (oil whisked with egg yolk). The oil coats the salad and makes the flavor stick. I cheat for ordinary meals, and use good jarred msyo as a base for the latter. I've tried keeping even small amounts of homemade dressing in the fridge, and don't like it (exception is homemade plain mayonnaise, which I'll keep a few days). Therefore, I just grab whatever herbs and spices strike my fancy, and make up a vinaigrette or thinned (often with wine) and doctored mayo in a custard dish with a fork.


    Something that was popular in the late 20th C. that you might enjoy was pre-dressing the harder bits ”topping” a salad. Things like firm beans, and nuts and seeds, would be in the bottom of the salad bowl for a couple of hours, soaking in the vinaigrette. This made a lot of flavor stick to them and softened them a bit, making them more pleasant to eat mixed into a big tossed salad,

    rob333 (zone 7a) thanked plllog
  • carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b
    last year

    I always roast beets with olive oil and a bit of salt, then squeeze on some lime juice when they come out of the oven. I do the same with potatoes.

    And for quite some time now my go-to 'dressing' for a green salad has been nothing but a tablespoon or 3 of balsamic vinegar - the thick and syrupy kind - and some salt. I like the sweetness.

    I often make a chef's style salad with a green salad as the base, topped with roast chicken, beef or lamb and diced roasted veggies like sweet potatoes, regular potatoes and beets.

    I also love to make a 'taco' salad with the hot taco filling topped with cheese and chopped green salad, salsa and crushed corn chips.

    My taco filling is made with ground meat, finely shredded carrots, chopped peppers & onion, garlic, tomatoes, spices, sweet corn and cooked beans all mixed together.

    rob333 (zone 7a) thanked carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b
  • floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK
    last year

    Thanks for the info. rob333. But you’ll never sell me one if those bits of kit. It would never get used in our house. We don't drink shakes, or anything made with a powder that I can think of.

  • rob333 (zone 7a)
    Original Author
    last year

    I meant the general "you", not specifically you floral 😉

  • nekotish
    last year

    I tried this one recently and it went over really well. The name of the recipe is

    Our Family's Favourite Salad

    rob333 (zone 7a) thanked nekotish
  • nandina
    last year

    My most requested salad dressing recipe.


    WESTERN SALAD DRESSING

    1/2 tsp. dry mustard

    1 tbl. hot water

    1/2 cup sugar

    2 tsp. salt

    1/2 tsp. paprika

    1 clove garlic, sliced

    1/2 cup ketchup

    1/2 cup cider vinegar

    1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

    1 cup olive oil

    1 small onion, grated

    Directions: Place all ingredients together in a tallish container that will allow this mixture to be blended until smooth using an emersion blender. (Or, a small food processor may be used to blend.)

    Refrigerate covered. Stores well, about 3 weeks. Friends love it on green salads.

  • artemis_ma
    last year
    last modified: last year

    I made a decent salad the other day for a friend and myself

    I didn't measure quantities', by and large, so do what you like....

    1 small head of Boston lettuce (use Romaine or butter, or whatever is at hand), leaves ripped up by hand.

    1 small red onion sliced very thin.

    Abut half a head of a small red cabbage, cut out the core. I sliced thin. If it is older - it was growing in my garden and had gotten a bit tougher - blanch it for about 3 minutes in boiling water. Drain Allow to cool.

    1 or 2 apples, cored and chopped coasely. I leave the skin on.

    A handful of roasted salted pumpkin seeds.

    A good handful of grape tomatoes.

    A heaping tablespoon of rinsed capers.

    Three hard boiled eggs, peeled and halved.

    2 slices cooked bacon, cooled and crumbled.

    An ounce or two of Fontina cheese, cubed.

    A lot of this was simply inspiration with regards to what was in the fridge/garden/countertop. Pears can be subbed for the apple, etc. If I'd remembered, I would have added cucumber. I like a twist of ground pepper.

    We stuck with a basic oil and vinegar dressing, but next post (later today) I may have some suggestions.

    EDIT for the salad recipe - I added in two or three chopped up marinated artichoke hearts as well. And I bet some mandarin orange sections would be lovely.

    Also an edit: I enjoy using some flavored olive oils or flavored vinegars in lieu of an actual dressing recipe. Mix with a straight up rendition of a vinegar or an olive or avocado oil.

  • party_music50
    last year

    I love salads of all kinds! It sounds like you want some kind of leafy salad...


    My sister made this meal-type salad once and I don't have a recipe so I wing it. I make a huge green salad with romaine, red onion, green onion, radishes, cucumbers, green bell peppers, and black olives. Then I take either pieces of boneless/skinless chicken thighs or chicken tenderloins and saute them in some OO, crushed garlic, and rosemary. Serve the chicken on the salad with honey-mustard-ranch dressing (if you can find it), or ranch and honey-mustard to apply as you wish.


    For something different and nice with a meal, I love this minty-orange salad!


    Minty-Orange Salad:

    1 lg. can mandarin oranges (drained)

    3 cups chopped Spring Mix

    1/2 cup favorite nuts (I use sliced almonds)

    1/2 cup sliced red onion

    3-4 tbs chopped fresh mint

    * I also add red bell pepper


    Dressing:

    3-4 tbs extra virgin olive oil

    4 tbs. balsamic vinegar

    1 clove crushed garlic

    4 tbs. orange juice

    S&P

    Mix dressing and chill. Pour over salad just before serving.

  • LoneJack Zn 6a, KC
    last year

    My favorite is to go to the grocery store and buy this!

    Ken's sweet Vidalia onion dressing



  • Gooster
    last year
    last modified: last year

    I too like a classic vinaigrette like the recipes above, but always use red wine vinegar and a solid dollop of dijon. I sometimes swap in shallots for garlic, and throw in fresh herbs or lemon zest/juice depending on the salad. 3:1 classic proportions of oil to vinegar unless it is certain foods.

    My main point in responding is to note that I picked up a great dressing bottle from Oggi (other brands are similar) at Home Goods for like $6. It has the ingredient markings on the bottle for a variety of classic dressings (basically fill-to lines) and a cap for shaking. A jar would work fine but this was a pretty low time saver. Only downside is that it is quantity limited. .

  • angelaid_gw
    last year

    Hidden Valley Ranch Buttermilk is my go-to. I use one cup of mayo, half a cup of Buttermilk and half a cup of sour cream. Makes a nice thick dressing. Make sure you get the packet of dressing that specifies Buttermilk.

  • bbstx
    last year

    I love vegetables, but I hate salads. I’ve tried to figure out why. I think it is because most people like very tart dressing. Something that is very tart causes me physical pain, so I avoid it.


    If I have to have a salad, my go-to is Crunch Romaine Salad. I think it was originally from a Junior League cookbook, but here it is online https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/222725/crunchy-romaine-salad/ I have substituted artificial sweetner for the sugar. Also, toast the pecans and the ramen noodles separately. They don’t toast at the same time and one or the other will end up burned.


    This is my next favorite, Sweet Tart Salad from the Birmingham Junior League Cookbook. My cookbook club has made it several times and I do not believe any of us have ever put the crushed bagel chips in it.




    There was another one we made with pear liqueur in the dressing. If it interests you, let me know and I’ll find it for you.

  • Elmer J Fudd
    6 months ago
    last modified: 6 months ago

    Our favorite is very fruity olive oil, red wine vinegar, sometimes a little Dijon mustard added (it will hold the first two emulsified together and give a creamy flavor), with sprinklings of salt, pepper, and sometimes a tad bit of garlic power. A warning about olive oil - there's a lot of crappy and overpriced olive oil in the market. Better olive oil is pricey but worth the cost. Just like wine, price is not a reliable indicator of quality. Our current favorite is California Olive Ranch single varietal Arbequina oil, available at Whole Foods. Also available from Amazon. It's very fruity and best used for salad or as a topping (like on hummus or baba ghanoush), not for cooking with.

    Two shared childhood favorites we enjoy that are in jars, not bottles, are a SoCal traditional brand Bobs - as Bleu or Roquefort cheese dressing and Bobs Thousand Island. I don't know how far or wide these are available; we can get them in the Bay Area. If not, these last two dressing types are pretty good homemade when using good ingredients, more or less, as we did when living abroad.

  • Lars
    6 months ago

    bbstx, I am the opposite of you - I love tart and dislike sweet. I do not want a sweet salad dressing unless it is going on a fruit salad.

    Most salad dressings that I make have either vinegar or lemon juice, and so that would make them tart, but I never thought of it that way.

  • krystalmoon2009
    6 months ago

    Maybe do a search for a greek salad which usually doesn't contain lettuce but lots of vegetables

  • Lars
    6 months ago

    Tabbouleh is like a salad and does not contain lettuce.

  • juneroses Z9a Cntrl Fl
    6 months ago

    carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b you mentioned a thick and syrupy balsamic vinegar. Do you have a brand name you could share? Thx.

  • gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)
    6 months ago

    The only salad dressing I have that is remotely sweet is 1000 islands. And that's because of the ketchup or tomato chili sauce base and sweet relish so no additional sweetening needed. I usually make my own and add a bit of horseradish and lots of lemon juice to cut the sweetness. I like it on a classic wedge salad or a crab or seafood louie type salad but I use it more as 'secret sauce' on burgers.

    I checked the few bottled dressings I have on hand - none have sugar or corn syrup added.

  • provogal
    6 months ago

    Bumblebee Salad

    1 cup long grain rice

    (I used Uncle Ben’s Converted Rice)

    3 cups corn kernels, well drained

    ( I used Green Giant Niblets – 3 small 8 oz.(250 ml) cans)

    1 19 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained.

    1 red pepper, diced

    1 green pepper, diced

    6 green onions, chopped

    ½ cup chopped coriander (cilantro)

    Dressing:

    ½ cup red wine vinegar

    2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

    ½ cup vegetable oil (I used Canola oil)

    1 clove garlic minced

    1 Tbsp chili powder

    1 Tbsp brown sugar

    1 tsp salt

    Pepper to taste (¼ tsp)

    Cook the rice according to package directions. Allow cooked rice to cool slightly.

    In a large serving bowl combine rice, drained corn kernels, black beans, red and green peppers, green onions and coriander. Mix to combine well.

    In a small bowl, whisk together red wine vinegar, lemon juice, oil, garlic, chili powder,brown sugar, salt and pepper.

    Pour dressing over salad and mix all together. Cover and refrigerate until about 1 – 1½ hours before serving. Best served at room temperature.

    This salad lasts for days in the refrigerator.

  • rob333 (zone 7a)
    Original Author
    5 months ago

    bbstx,


    I must've missed your offer on the pear dressing recipe. Yes please. The one I posted didn't float my boat and I was thinking how reducing the syrup rather than pureeing the fruit but probably have more what I thought it would've been.

  • bbstx
    5 months ago

    Rob, I’ve been through every cookbook that our club has used and I cannot find the salad dressing recipe that contains pear liqueur. I’ve sent out an SOS to the other members to see if anyone can remember which cookbook we were cooking from at the time. If they are successful in helping me find it, I’ll post it here and tag you.

  • rob333 (zone 7a)
    Original Author
    5 months ago

    🥰

  • nekotish
    5 months ago

    I mentioned this

    https://www.gimmesomeoven.com/our-familys-favorite-salad/

    way up thread but it remains one of my favourite salads

  • arkansas girl
    5 months ago

    nekotish, OH boy that salad looks delicious! YUM!