*This is an update to my Pasta Salad with Homemade Italian Dressing. I’ve noticed that it’s been showing up on Pinterest quite a bit and have been wondering if anyone has made – and liked! – it. Care to comment?
Since the weather has been getting warmer and I’ve been trying a slightly more Paleo approach to my diet (more on that at a later date), we’ve been eating a lot more salads. I have a couple other homemade dressing favorites – one for a basic vinaigrette, which I mix up depending on the type of vinegar and spices I use, and another for a Japanese ginger dressing. Almost every time I make a batch, I think, This is my favorite!
Well, the other day I broke out this Italian dressing recipe and decided to give it another go. This, my friends, is by far my favorite! I suppose variety is the spice of life, but why mess with a good thing? And if I can pare down my recipe collection, all the better! This dressing is yummy on all types of salads and oh-so-versatile, since you can play around with the spices.
I looked at the original recipe again and went from there, staying pretty true to the basic ingredients, with a few minor changes. I have loads of fresh oregano in my garden, so I opted for a small handful of leaves instead of the dried. In addition to the black pepper I added a dash of red pepper flakes and since I don’t have any celery seed on hand I used celery salt. Since I’ve been trying to nix sugar – even natural sweeteners *sniff sniff* – I decided to forego the sugar (or honey, which I prefer) and add a pinch of stevia, which added just the right amount of sweetness. For the liquid I went with apple cider vinegar and rice vinegar in place of the water. And please note that you should blend this to get everything nicely incorporated, rather than just mixing it together in a jar. In fact, whenever you mix oil and vinegar or water, using a blender will better emulsify the mixture. Just so it’s written out for you…
1T garlic salt
1T onion powder
2T ground oregano (or a small handful fresh)
1T parsley flakes
1t sea salt
1/2t ground black pepper
dash red pepper flakes
1t dried basil leaves
¼t dried thyme flakes
dash celery salt
1/2c olive oil
1/4c cider vinegar
2T rice vinegar (or water)
For some reason, the dressing got really thick the second time I made this – maybe because I blended it longer? In any case, I added a bit of water then. But OMG, this is so good! I could just eat it right out of the jar!
The other day we paired the dressing with one of our favorite salads, inspired by the side salad they serve at one of my hubby’s favorite steakhouse restaurants. It’s so easy and so good!
Just dump half a bag of mixed greens into a 13×9″ pan (I find this works better than a bowl for getting a good ratio of ingredients). Top with sliced cucumber and chopped tomato; sometimes I add alfalfa sprouts if I have them on hand and you could add carrots, onion, whatever. Slice some hardboiled egg, crumble some cooked bacon, and toss that on top (I typically use four of each – four eggs and four slices of bacon – but you could add more if you want). If you want to get really crazy, grate some cheddar cheese on top. Voila! A nice salad fit for a meal since you’ve got the protein and veggies all together. If you keep some hardboiled eggs on hand it’s even easier and cooking the bacon in the toaster oven on some aluminum foil makes for hardly any clean up.