NDSU Extension Service - Sargent County

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Dressing Up!

Salad Dressing IngredientsThose leafy greens we hear so much about are often used in salads.  As such, they add color, texture and flavor to your plate, plus add nutritional value and potential health benefits to your daily diet.  The key to maintaining these positives is to dress, not drown, your salad with a dressing. 

Making a homemade salad dressing makes a person feel creative and entitled to some bragging rights!  It involves a wee little bit of science, and can be a fun kitchen venture.  By making your own salad dressing, you have control over the ingredients and results such as calorie content and sodium content.  You may also find that homemade dressings are less expensive than store-bought bottled dressings. 

A homemade dressing usually begins with 3:1 or 4:1 ratio of olive oil and a wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, citrus juice or other acidic ingredient, plus another ingredient or two to emulsify the mixture and add flavor.  The ingredient that will “emulsify” the mixture is where the wee little bit of science comes in.  Emulsifiers make it possible for the oil and vinegar to blend together.  Without an emulsifier, those ingredients will separate from each other.  Ingredients that serve as emulsifiers include any grainy Dijon-type mustard, honey, yogurt, finely minced garlic, tomato paste and egg and/or egg yolk, such as is used in making mayonnaise.  Other common ingredients could be any one or combination of various herbs such as parsley, dill, oregano, thyme, and basil. 

A short-cut to making fresh, homemade salad dressing is to make your own dressing master mix.  NDSU Extension has recipes for Italian Dressing Master Mix, Ranch Dressing Master Mix, and Sweet Poppy Seed Dressing Master Mix.  All three recipes, plus recipes for homemade fresh Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing and Fresh Herb Vinaigrette are available from the county extension office, or in our online Leafy Greens publication.  

As always, please give me a call if you or your friends, family, co-workers or employees have a topic you would like to learn more about through a presentation, lesson, program, activity or workshop.  NDSU Extension has a lot to offer, and we are here to serve you!

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