It’s getting harder to find a satisfying bottled salad dressing, for the convenience. They seem sweeter now, at least the lower fat varieties.
Speaking of oil, there’s a way to cut that in half: toss your salad with a hand not utensils and you’ll need just half the dressing — 1 Tablespoon per serving instead of the suggested 2 — to coat the leaves. It takes seconds as your fingers quickly tell when all are moistened. That works when the cleaned lettuce is bone dry as experts advise or when the veggies are gently shaken of water.
Adapting this no-fat vegan 2-Minute Oil-Free Balsamic Dressing from Forks Over Knives has become my go-to rather than a Ken’s or Newman’s Own. I often prefer vegan mayo instead of Dijon mustard as the resulting emulsion is more creamy than tart.
The recipe is a modest amount but easily scalable. It makes just under a half cup of dressing, for 6-8 servings if hand-tossed (above) or 3-4 servings conventionally.
(Parenthetical update: Consider the 3-2-1 Salad Dressing of Jane Esselstyn — described in seconds starting 1 minute into her video. If measured in tablespoons, this will dress 4-8 salad servings: shake or stir 3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 2 Tablespoons stone-ground mustard and 1 Tablespoon maple syrup. Options include Dijon for the mustard and agave for the liquid sweetener.)
Easy, Real Salad Dressing
- 2 Tablespoons quality vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons water
- 1 Tablespoon vegan mayo OR prepared mustard such as Dijon
- 1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon dried herbs such as basil or Italian spice blend
- pinch dried garlic
- pinch dry mustard (Colman’s recommended)
- pinches salt and pepper
Place all ingredients in a small jar with a good lid and shake. Refrigerate until needed.
Notes: Balsamic or red wine vinegar work great, but if you want a lighter color then rice vinegar is good. Cider vinegar has a stronger taste, but sometimes that’s the right thing.
Nutritional yeast is a flavor booster with umami.
Heck yes, this recipe is a starting point. Don’t worry about the nutritional yeast. Replace the salt with a dash of soy sauce. If fresh herbs are available, mix rough-chopped ones in the bowl with the lettuce and drop the dried spices from the dressing. Whatever. Go for it.