Easy (and delicious) salad dressings

Summer is salad season! But don’t let your greens get boring. Here are five quick, easy, and tasty salad dressing recipes that are sure to snazz things up and keep things interesting. The best part? You probably have most of these ingredients in your pantry or garden.

I went to Bellytimber Tavern on Main for lunch the other day and ordered their Kale and Avocado Salad with red onions and wasabi peas. I ate every single bite and was looking for something to dip in the remaining dressing, regretting my wheat allergy and longing for a piece of bread.

Leaving a lunch like that, I felt pretty satisfied. One, I had just eaten a plate full of vitamins for lunch. Two, I was surprisingly full and would be for the rest of the afternoon. Three, it tasted so good — and bite after bite of good taste leaves a hungry girl happy.

A salad can be your entire meal (especially if it includes protein like fish or chicken). Good salads should pump you full of nutrition but not be a headache to put together. And good salads are not boring — no iceburg lettuce, bacon bits, carrot slices and ranch here.

Go out to your garden, grab your best greens, tomatoes, and other veggies to throw in. Raid your fridge and pantry and get creative with your ingredients — peaches, goat cheese, blueberries, almonds, raw Ramen noodles, Craisins, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, beets, feta, just to name a few. My rule is to pick three or four seasonal items that provide a variety of texture and size and mix them in.

The real show-stopper to a salad, however, is often the dressing. Don’t douse your greens in bottled stuff if you can avoid it. And really, don’t we all have time to stir for three minutes or so?

Here are a few quick and easy salad dressings that are sure to snazz things up and keep things interesting — and you probably already have most of these ingredients in your pantry or garden.

Simple, go-to dressing

(or “Kelly’s house dressing”)

I NEVER measure for this anymore (eyeballing is key with a good and quick dressing), but just to give you something to go by…

  • 1 cup oil (I use canola)
  • 1/4 cup sugar (or honey or agave nectar)
  • 1/2 cup vinegar (balsamic or red will do)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Mix and serve!

Yogurt dressing

This is particularly good on a spinach salad with cucumber, peaches, plums, and scallions.

  • 1 cup lemon low-fat yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp fresh dill weed, chopped

Wisk all ingredients until smooth. Add a little water if needed.

Citrus vinaigrette

This has a little zing and is great over some strong flavored greens, spinach, kale, escarole. Include some orange segments, goat cheese, red onion, and walnuts.

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest, grated
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest, grated
  • 2 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoon fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Mix and serve!

Simple (but SO GOOD) lemon dressing

Perfect on the salad of your liking, but I recommend arugula, grated Parmesan cheese, and peach slices. So fresh tasting, so good, SO EASY.

  • Lemon infused olive oil (I buy this one at MARTIN’S)
  • Freshly ground salt and pepper to taste

Just drizzle this on top.

Garlic and basil dressing

A good friend of mine made something like this a few weeks ago, and I gobbled it up. It was like having all the flavor of pesto, but not over pasta.

  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 shallot
  • 2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 15 basil leaves
  • 3/4 cup olive oil

Process all ingredients in your food processor until smooth.

What are some of your favorite and simple dressings? And while we’re at it, what are some of the best salads you’ve ever had?

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Kelly Blanchard

Kelly Blanchard loves thinking about, preparing, consuming, and serving good food. Believing that life is to short to eat the same stuff over and over, she loves to test new eats on her friends and family. Kelly loves her coffee-addicted hubbie, her two little blonde-haired babes, all things sweet, black tshirts, and the color pink.

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