Salads are one of my favorite things to prepare and to eat. They’re quick, simple and the combinations are endless. Making your own dressing is as easy as shaking all the ingredients up in a jar. In addition to being inexpensive to make, they’re free of preservatives and random ingredients that you can’t even say. Most of the ingredients in these dressings are on my list of 55 Ingredients to have on hand at all times so you can whip up more than one dressing last minute without having to run to the store.
Meal Prep Tip: Line mason jars on the counter and make several dressings at once. You already have all the ingredients out and you’ll only have to do dishes once!
For lunches when I’m working, I like to use kale and quinoa as my base. The kale can be washed ahead of time and will last all week. The quinoa can also be cooked and portioned in advance. Just by changing up a few veggies and the dressing, I can have a different salad every day. My two current favorites are:
Kale + quinoa + grape tomatoes + black olives + bocconcini + honey balsamic
Kale + quinoa + carrots + red pepper + edamame + almonds + sesame soy
I want to draw extra special attention to the Caesar vinaigrette. It was born from my dislike of creamy dressings and mayo. Last weekend, a friend came over for dinner and brought a salad. She texted me and asked “Is it okay if I bring Caesar salad? Will you eat that? It’s creamy.” Clearly, she knows me well, although I will eat creamy Caesar salad now and then.
It’s just that, ever since I invented this Caesar vinaigrette, I prefer it. My partner also prefers it. My kids even like it! Inspired by traditional Caesar dressing recipes containing raw egg whipped up with a few other ingredients, (why does that sound so gross?) this still creamy-ish dressing does not contain egg or mayo. The trick to the creaminess is to whip it up in the blender to emulsify the oil and other ingredients. We use this for supper usually, in a simple chicken Caesar salad, with grilled chicken, bacon bits and parm. Also, does anybody remember waaaay back in 2000 when Wendy’s had pitas? This dressing was partially invented in mourning of those delicious chicken pitas with Caesar vinaigrette.
Honey Mustard Vinaigrette
Other salads we like to have for dinner are honey mustard chicken Cobb and chicken/avocado taco salad. See the breakdown of ingredients below.
Cobb: Arugula + tomatoes + hard boiled eggs + shredded cheddar + chicken + avocado + honey mustard dressing.
This dressing is also amazing in coleslaw. Use a simple bagged coleslaw mix for a quick meal.
Chili Lime Dressing
Taco: Romaine + black beans + corn + red pepper + avocado + shredded cheddar + chicken + tortilla chips + chili lime dressing.
Side note: Remember those burrito bowls I posted on Instagram this week? Basically, the same stuff. Swap the lettuce for rice and use spices instead of dressing. Boom. Ingredient efficiency at its best.
What’s also great about these salads is that there is protein in the eggs, beans and avocado so you could forego the chicken in either salad if you’re short on time or you want to make it a meatless meal.
I’m curious to see how you use these dressings. Use the hashtag #tblsalads on Instagram to share your salad!