Why prepare a salad using fresh, nutrient-rich greens, only to toss them with store-bought dressing? Yes, they're convenient, come with delicious-sounding names and pretty pictures, but using prepared dressings is like taking an organic apple picked from a local farm and dipping it in cheese whiz. I'm sure most of you realize this. What you may not know is how easy it is to make a batch of great-tasting and healthy dressing worthy of your greens.
Make a batch and I guarantee you'll wonder why you haven't been doing it for years. Put them in pretty glass jars and you have your own custom-made dressing that will be ready and waiting for you in the fridge. You can even rinse out one of those store bought bottles, stick a white label on it and give it a new name.
Below is a recipe for a simple vinaigrette that we made at least once a week in my restaurant. It's a basic balsamic vinaigrette, but it has countless variations, so don't worry about getting bored. The trick for any vinaigrette is to use 1 part vinegar to 3 parts oil (for most dressings), and to add the oil very, very slowly so it can emulsify, or thicken. You can do this in a blender, a food processor, or by hand in a bowl with a wire whisk.
Once you know the basic technique, you can play around with different oils, vinegars and ingredients to come up with your own family favorites, confident that your greens are dressed in flavorful style. The recipes below make about a cup of dressing, which is a good amount to experiment with. You can easily double or triple each recipe.