When you’re working with greens from your farmers market, CSA, or backyard garden, it’s especially important to take the time to whip together a good dressing to showcase the quality of your salad.
I usually make a different salad dressing every day, but right now I’m on a nutty vinaigrette kick. Since you can use any kind of nut to make this vinaigrette, the flavor combinations are endless. Here are some ideas:
To make nutty vinaigrette, pick an oil, vinegar, nut, and seasoning (or two) from the following list.
Oil (1/2 cup)
- extra virgin olive oil
- equal proportions of extra virgin olive oil and a nut oil (such as walnut, hazelnut, or almond oil)
Vinegar (3 tablespoons)
- Sherry vinegar
- Balsamic vinegar
- Champagne vinegar
- Honey vinegar
- Rice wine vinegar
- Any good white or red wine vinegar
Toasted Nuts/Seeds (1/4 cup)
- Pine nuts
- Macadamia nuts
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Sunflower Seeds
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1 large shallot, chopped
- 1 tablespoon of honey or maple syrup
- 1-3 tablespoons of freshly grated or crumbled cheese such as Parmesan, blue cheese, feta, or goat cheese
- 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup of fresh parsley, basil, or dill
- 1 teaspoon of fresh rosemary, tarragon, or thyme
- 1 inch of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
- 1 tablespoon of your favorite curry powder
Once you’ve chosen your ingredients, place them in a blender or food processor (I have a 4-cup food processor that is just perfect for whipping up salad dressings). Sprinkle the ingredients with salt and freshly ground black pepper and turn the machine on. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Drizzle the vinaigrette over your salad, toss, and serve.
This vinaigrette will keep in the refrigerator for 4 or 5 days. I like to store my vinaigrette in Mason jars so I can just bring them back up to room temperature and give them a good shake before using.
Last night I made a nutty vinaigrette with olive oil, rice wine vinegar, sunflower seeds, honey, and Penzeys Spices’ Sweet Curry Powder. It was delicious on a salad of pea shoots.