A Tale of Two Dressings

Why haven’t I been eating more salad at home? I wondered this for a while as I deliberated one day about what I could eat that would leave me feeling fresh and robust without weighed down.  Naturally I would veer towards a salad or veggie medley of some kind, and yet I stared longingly at my refrigerator and whimpered at the blatant lack of greenery, as if peering into an icy industrial factory town without a rolling green hill in sight!

That was immediately rectified by the welcoming of some heads of lettuce, hearts of romaine, and little spinach babies—I became a veritable Dr. Frankenstein of the Salads.  No green leaf is safe from my conniving palette!

However, something was now missing… Ah yes, my monstrously verdant creations were lacking clothes! So with a bit of thought and adventure, I stitched up some dressings for my salads, so they wouldn’t feel the bare cold before they befell their fate within my tickled-pink tummy.  Most of the time a simple olive oil-lemon combo is all one needs, with a dash of salt and pepper, but let’s face it, that gets boring.  So here I’m just sharing two of my quick fixes for a light pizzazz for salad (as I write this I’m already planning something else for tonight, a zesty spicy tang, but that’s for another post).Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • 2-3 strawberries, sliced
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp crushed walnuts (optional)
  • Dash of salt

Now, I made this just for the two of us, so keep that in mind if it seems like too little for you.  This is super duper easy.  In a sauce pan, pour in the water, sugar, and vinegar.  Bring it to a slow slow boil (don’t let it start to bubble frantically and sputter about), and add the strawberries.  If you want to give it a nutty punch, add the walnuts too.  Then once it’s boiling slowly, reduce to a simmer and let it be until the mixture has reduced in quantity by half.  You can add a pinch of salt for some bang, and then just strain in and set to cool.  Once it had cooled down, mix with 3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and whisk until you have a gorgeous dressing at your disposal.

As an added treat, feel free to munch on the mushy strawberries and walnuts that were strained out.  If that unsettles you for whatever reason, then send it my way. 🙂  I poured this atop a baby spinach salad with pears and almonds, a perfect accompaniment to some homemade chicken quesadillas.

“Dressing” number two is not really a dressing, but rather something you top off or mix into your salad for a cool sock to the gut: Pickled Onions and Peppers.

Pickled Onions and Peppers

  • ½ red onion, sliced thinly
  • 4-5 mini sweet peppers, sliced thinly
  • ½ cup water
  • 4 tbsp rice vinegar (feel free to experiment with other kinds, like apple cider)
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt

Honestly, all you have to do is slice your onions etc, and mix all your ingredients in a bowl, letting them sit for at least 30 minutes, but the longer the better.  The bite in your veggies leaves such a fresh feeling in your mouth, and is perfectly suited to be matched with some warm dish, like sautéed green beans, or simply on top of a fresh spinach salad.  Seriously, so tangy, I just loooooved the flavor.  AAHHH, I want it now!

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