Monday, October 28, 2013

A Salad Dressing to Remember: Balsamic and Oil Try Something New

We live it, we hear about it, we talk about it- the universal struggle to find the time and to make healthy choices. Then there is the struggle to get kids to eat their vegetables. I actually have found a solution that makes life a little easier, at least around here.

This recipe is as easy as shaking up some ingredients, and pouring over a bowl of lettuce. Of course, you can jazz up the salad in lots of ways, but at it's heart, this one is quick and easy.

This dressing recipe developed after I figured out that the only way to get my son to eat vegetables is to serve them next to a little bowl of balsamic, garlic, and oil for "dip." Kids seem to be inherently born with the knowledge that if it is green, it's just no good. Unless it is fluorescent green frosting, something like that receives an edible pass, of course.
Then, some of us carry that sentiment into adulthood.

The Solution: Amped up Balsamic/Oil dressing that can be used for dips, marinades, salads, etc. As it turns out, it is the solution to picky eaters at my house. I hope it can do the same for others!

One problem, I never measure the ingredients, but "a little of this and little of that" does the trick. I have used these ingredients together in a lot of different combos, and it always ends up being good:

-Canola Oil or Good Olive Oil, whichever you have on hand or a blend of the two

-Balsamic Vinegar*

-Red Wine Vinegar- I do a 3:1 ratio of balsamic to red wine vinegar in this one

-garlic powder/granulated garlic or fresh minced garlic. If you go with fresh, give it a fine, fine mince or grated and store in the fridge

-Parmesan, grated


-basil, dried

-dill spice



-sugar or I prefer Splenda ore Stevia sweetener- go light on the sweetener

Channeling the 1990's...This is how we do it:

First, I use the ingredients in the order of how I put them, using the most oil and then down to the sweetener, being the least amount. Start with at least half a cup and add your spices/vinegars to that, see where you are at, you can always add more oil later for a larger batch.

Get it all mixed together, and then test a little dab. If it is to light in flavor, up your spices, vinegar, Parmesan and salt. If it is too strong, up the oil. If it is too salty, add a bit of sweetener; too sweet, add a little bit of everything. Mix until you find the right balance for your tastes.

Give it a good shake or whirl in the blender!

And that is it...the basil and dill combo, don't opt out, it is the combo of spices in this that takes it up a notch from being a balsamic/oil dressing to extra special. Use on a salad (below) or as a vegetable dip (one of our favorites), and good as a marinade, as well. One recipe, many uses!

*Kitchen Tip: I've been using a beautiful fig vanilla balsamic from a specialty grocery store, lately. A great way to mix it up, when you get bored of the same recipe, is take a trip to your local Whole Foods, Sur La Table, etc and browse their specialty products. You'll find new and different vinegars, oils, spices, etc to get creative with. Think of it like the adult superstore...for kitchen divas.

Until next time....Happy Cooking!!!


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