Jul 8, 2009

You Don't Win Friends With Salad!

According to Homer and Bart Simpson, "you don't win friends with salad!" (You Tube video)

But they were just making the wrong kind of salad. In the South, I see salads as some of the friendliest food out there. We take them to any and all social gatherings...potlucks, picnics, family BBQs, holiday get-togethers. We give them side dish status at Sunday dinner (and in the South, side dishes rule). We bring them to people when babies are born or when friends or family are lost. Sounds like a friendly thing to me.

Salads are popular in the South and it's not just bowls of lettuce that I'm talking about. Potato salad, macaroni salad, bean salad, sweet pea salad, carrot and raisin salad, cold rice salads, fruit salad, jello salad, coleslaw, salads of marinated tomatoes or cucumbers marinated in vinegar and onions...lots of salads. I have to admit that it has taken me almost my entire life to warm up to many of these salads. And there are some in the list above that I won't touch (I love ya, but I'm not confessing which ones). Many popular southern salads are suspended in mayo. I have had to grow into mayo...and I'm still not 100% there yet. If I think about it too hard, well I just try not to.

Since I've done
coleslaw and marinated tomatoes, I thought I'd go a more traditional route. Below are a couple of my favorite homemade salad dressings. Mostly, I use them on green salads, but they have multiple personalities.

A quick note: when I make salad dressings, or sauces or condiments, it is definitely play time for me. The measurements in the recipes below are my best estimate. The measurements that are in the final product are by taste.

Balsamic Vinaigrette
from Ms. enPlace, adapted from a friend's recipe

3/4 c olive oil
1/4 c balsamic vinegar
1/2 T honey
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 clove roasted garlic or a touch of minced raw garlic (to taste) (garlic could be optional)
salt and pepper to taste (if needed)

Add everything to a mixing bowl and whisk thoroughly. Or, add to a jar with lid and shake. Makes about 1 cup of dressing.

What you'll need. The garlic can be roasted or not. If you use raw garlic, don't use much...it's strong. Or, skip the garlic. You're gonna do what you want anyway, right? Oh, and where did my Dijon mustard run off to?

Add everything to a bowl and whisk.

Drizzle over salads, tomatoes, grilled chicken, use as a marinade for grilled chicken, use as a bread dip. If making ahead, you'll have to rewhisk before using. It'll separate.

Creamy Garlic Dressing (or Dip)
from Ms. enPlace, adapted from a friend's recipe

1 c Mayo
For a dip: about 1/4 c cream, half & half OR milk
For a dressing: about 1/2 c cream, half & half OR milk
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp lemon juice
2 T (or more depending on taste) roasted garlic OR 1/2-1 tsp finely minced raw garlic
1/8-1/4 c Parmesan cheese

Whisk all ingredients except the cheese together in a bowl. This can also be mixed in a food processor or blender. Add the cheese and mix well. Taste to see if more garlic, lemon juice, salt, or pepper is needed. Adjust consistency if needed by adding more liquid (to thin) or more mayo or cheese (to thicken). Best if made the day before.

Mise en place for Creamy Garlic Dressing. You may or may not need salt. I usually don't add any. Depends on how salty your cheese is. Taste first. Here, I added lemon juice to the half and half, which basically makes buttermilk. But, the title "Creamy Buttermilk Garlic Dressing" is just too dang long and fussy.
I like to use roasted garlic. (How to roast garlic) But sometimes roasting garlic ain't gonna happen. Like when it's 100 degrees out. Then I use raw minced garlic or garlic paste (comes in a tube). But much, much less. By the way, roasted garlic is good just spread on toasted bread. Oooo...top a salad with that!

Add everything but the Parmesan cheese to a bowl and whisk away.

Add in the cheese. If you don't like the consistency, add more liquid (milk, cream, half and half) to thin. Add more mayo or cheese to thicken. It's not gonna hurt. I promise.

Serve as a dressing for salad. Make it thick and use as a veggie dip. Or use as a dressing for pasta salad. Or just use it in place of what you'd use ranch dressing for.


  1. Anonymous1/11/2015

    Balsamic Vinaigrette
    3/4 c olive oil
    1/4 c balsamic vinegar
    1/2 T..............What goes here?

    Fnd ur site by referral at 10 pm its now 3:45! !
    Congrats...yu have a wonderful site. I live in MS., and have trying to find creole and game recipes like forever..
    Thank you, thank you! !

    1. Thank you so much for visiting! And thank you for catching the typo. It's 1/2 T honey. I've corrected the recipe.


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