It’s been my experience the more you eat fresh food, the worse processed food tastes. I will exclude Cheetos from this, because it’s one of my favorite things, and I could never replicate a Cheeto. A perfect example of fresh vs. processed, is salad dressing. I find bottled dressing to be flat tasting, laced with a fake garlic flavoring, swimming in cheap, thick oil. If I can get it for 50 cents, I will purchase dressing if it’s Ranch or maybe a fat-free sun-dried tomato dressing, but nothing oil-based.
Making your own dressing is quick and easy. The basic rule is 1/3 acid (vinegar or citrus juice) to 2/3 cup oil. I usually mix olive oil and canola oil to make the dressing less expensive to make, instead of all olive oil.
My family’s favorite is either a base of lemon juice, or lime juice with pureed cilantro. I’ve also been experimenting with my herb and fruit infused vinegars from last summer. One thing about dressings is they are highly seasoned – – in other words, don’t be shy with the salt. I read a nutrition article that stated if you cook from scratch, you can be fairly generous with the salt and still consume a lot less sodium than eating processed food. Don’t go crazy, but also you should not be afraid to add salt. Taste and judge. Also, I grate my garlic instead of chopping, using a microplane, otherwise you risk a kid biting into a piece of garlic and declaring the dressing “spicy.” Trust me on this one.
Here is my go-to salad dressing recipe I created through much experimentation. After making this tried-and-true dressing, play around with different acids and flavorings and make your own creation.
Lemon Garlic Salad Dressing
1/3 fresh lemon juice (it will be gross if you use bottled)
1/3 olive oil
1/3 canola oil
1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons of salt, or to taste
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
A few cracks of pepper
1 grated garlic clove
Put all ingredients in a jar and shake until emulsified.