Listen to this article
Escoffier said that the greatest dishes were very simple, but a salad without dressing is like a day without sunshine
It might be raining (a lot) but it’s still summer, and that means salad, come rain or shine! But give your salad some dressing love and it will be far more than the sum of its parts. We put a shout out to some of our readers for their favourite dressings. And so here, tried and tested by our Silver readers, is a round-up of their best salad dressings.
What you put in your salad is up to you. There are a million different permutations, but for a dressing to work properly, it needs some specific components. You need an good oil, for the base. You need an acid to balance that heaviness out, like vinegar, or citrus, for example. Some kind of emulsifier will help to bind the oil and acid together, like mustard, honey, egg yolk etc. And finally, your creative aspects, the extras. Could be garlic, herbs, spices, honey, and so on.
Stick with that formula and you can’t really go wrong.
When making your dressing, don’t skimp on the oil quality. While oils make those sometimes-bland leafy greens taste better, they are also full of healthy fats which help you to better absorb the nutrition of your salad greens. Plus, oils can be beneficial to your skin and hair, act as an afternoon pick-me-up by increasing your energy levels and reduce inflammation.
A simple classic
Did you know that olive oil is not just a flavoursome oil for salads, but one that is healthy for your heart? And if you splash out on extra virgin olive oil, that has a high level of antioxidants to keep your cells protected from damage.
Roz Bacchus recommends this super easy salad dressing that spruces up anything you throw together from the fridge. Measure out the ingredients judging by however much you require. First lots of olive oil, half a lemon is usually enough for the juice, and then season with salt and pepper. Put this all in a little pot with a lid and shake! Taste, add any extra you think is missing, then pour over and enjoy. You could swap out the lemon with white or red wine vinegar if you prefer.
The best creamy tahini dressing recipe
Sea salt flakes
Sarah Olivier has the perfect recipe if you fancy a little more pizzazz. This nutty tahini dressing is a lovely healthy source of fat. Made from hulled sesame seeds, oil and salt, tahini is highly nutritious. It contains a variety of vitamins and minerals, is rich in anti-inflammatories and antioxidants, and some studies have shown it may decrease the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
A teaspoon or two of tahini goes a long way. Squeeze half a lemon over and crush your garlic. Finely grate the ginger and finish off with a splash of maple syrup and stir it all together with a fork or tiny whisk. Add a drop of cold water here or there for consistency. Season with salt and pepper if you like. Or leave it be and enjoy.
A taste of Asia
Did you know that the Japanese word umami is one of the five basic tastes? As well as sweet, sour, salty, and bitter sensations. Umami is commonly considered ‘savoury’, but it is also described as ‘meaty’, ‘complex’, or even just ‘deliciousness’.
Roy Bacchus recommends these ingredients if you fancy some of that deliciousness. Just take two 2 tbsp of soy sauce, finely grate the ginger, squeeze over half a ripe orange and add a sprinkle of garlic salt. If you want to go the extra mile, you could even add 1 tbsp of sesame oil and a splash of rice vinegar.
Bringing restaurant quality to you
Toasted walnut oil
Apple cider vinegar
Hilary Stringer says that the key to the best salad dressings is the quality of the oil and vinegar. Better quality oil will be thicker in texture and much more flavourful, so it is worth spending a little extra for a more lavish tasting experience.
Her recipe is restaurant-worthy and mixes toasted walnut oil with a very good apple cider vinegar for a multitude of health benefits. Hilary recommends a touch of light mustard, salt, and pepper to finish.
This one packs a punch
Finally, we couldn’t miss Mandie Brame’s tarragon hit. An often-underrated herb, it has a slight anise or liquorice flavour to it. We love her recommendation of chilli oil as a spicy alternative to the humble olive, and it is balanced out with the acidity of the lemon juice. Sprinkle with sea salt and then add 2 tsp of dried tarragon (although if you have it fresh, even better). Bon appetit!
And we must finish with a shout out to Carole Preston, who recommends the dark horse that is pomegranate molasses for a little sweet and sour kick.
Beth is one of Silver’s interns. She loves reading and studying literature. Entering her final year of university, Beth still finds time to dance, swim, and have a pint with friends. Her favourite hobby is going to coffee shops, if you can call it a hobby!
Just so you know – as if you didn’t – sometimes if you click on a link or buy something that you’ve seen on Silver, we may make a little commission. We don’t allow any old links here though. Read why you should trust us