Summer is salad season for me.  Period.  It’s been less salady this year than other years because we had one heat wave of unending discomfort for two weeks, and everything else has been sub 30, and mostly sub 25 C.  (Sorry for all the Americans out there, but I can’t do Fahrenheit.  I can’t.)

Anyway, when I do bring out my trusty chopped salad (= chop random veggies in the fridge and toss) I start experimenting with dressings.  I’m not too imaginative with the salad ingredients because I tend to be conservative in my grocery shopping (= cheap), except when it comes to cheese.  So the salad dressing is where I can shell out a bit more, because it goes a long way, and try different things.

Here are my three staple salad dressings, which I just dump over salads, and often other random dishes.  Everything I do is guesstimated, with a dash here and a pinch there, and I use dinner spoons to dollop things out.  BS = Big Spoon, and LS = Little Spoon.  (I’m low tech in the kitchen.  This is why I’m crap at baking.)  Hope you enjoy them!

– Jean AAR

The Yogurt One

I like this one because it’s nice and light, which goes well with slightly heavier salad ingredients like cheese or quinoa, and a way of sneaking in a wee bit more calcium for my bones, which I often lack.

  • 1 BS yogurt (ETA: plain, unsweetened yogurt. Let the other flavours stand a chance, doncha know?)
  • 1 LS dijon mustard (I hate honey mustard – if you’re going to add honey, then JUST ADD HONEY)
  • 1 LS honey (optional)
  • 1 swizzle of balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper

The Vaguely Asian One

Especially good with mango salads (unripe mangoes, red peppers, carrots).

  • 1 BS sesame oil
  • 1 LS fish sauce (be very, very, very conservative here)
  • 1 LS brown sugar, or honey
  • lime juice from 1-2 limes
  • fresh coriander and parsley (I’m not conservative here.  I chuck it in by the handful.)

The Tahini One

This is a bit richer, and because of the size of the lemons I end up making it in bulk.

  • 2 BS tahini paste
  • 2 BS garlic olive oil (ETA: I forgot this step!  Pour the olive oil into a pan and heat it, then mince 2 garlic gloves and drop it in, long enough to take the sharp edge off the garlic and to infuse the oil with flavour.)
  • lemon juice from 2 lemons
  • 1 BS brown sugar or honey
  • fresh coriander (chuck it in!)
  • Salt and pepper
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I live in Seattle, Washington and work as a legal assistant. I remember learning to read (comic strips) at a young age and nowadays try to read about 5-6 books a week. I love to travel, especially to Europe, and enjoy exploring smaller towns off the tourist track though London is my favorite city in the world.