11 Easy Vinaigrettes

Vinaigrette

Home-made vinaigrettes are so much better than even the best store bought ones that it seems silly not to make them yourself. Especially when they’re this easy.

All of the following vinaigrettes have about the same proportions: 1 part vinegar to 3-4 parts oil. I usually go with 1/4 cup vinegar to 3/4 cup oil. They all get salt, pepper, and maybe a pinch of sugar or honey if you like them with a little less bite. Just whisk together in a bowl and you’re done.

I like extra virgin olive oil, but in some recipes you don’t want a strong olive taste. You can blend olive and canola to taste, depending on how strong flavored your olive oil is.

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Spinach Salad with Bacon, Feta and Lemon Peanut Dressing

SpinachSalad

Baby spinach with a fresh lemon and peanut dressing, topped with Feta cheese, bacon bits, and crispy shallots.

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

▪ Baby spinach (pre-washed) – ½ lb
▪ Feta cheese – 5 oz
▪ Toasted shallots
Lemon peanut dressing – 1/2 cup
▪ Bacon bits – ¼ cup

1. In a large bowl, toss the spinach thoroughly in about 1/4 cup of the dressing. Add a little salt and pepper. Taste. Add more dressing as needed.

2. Top spinach with shallots, bacon bits and feta, and serve.

Note: If you toss the salad with this stuff in it, it will all end up at the bottom of the bowl. I usually toss it all together in one bowl, and then serve it in another, topping it with the pile of bits left in the bottom of the first bowl.

Chicken Pesto Salad

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

▪ Chicken breasts — 1.33 lbs
▪ Romaine lettuce — 2 hearts
▪ Granny Smith apple, sliced — 1 med
▪ Pecans – ½ cup
▪ Red or orange bell pepper, sliced thin – ½ med
▪ Blue cheese, crumbled — 1/2 cup
▪ Croutons — 1/2 cup
▪ Pesto dressing/marinade — 1 cup
▪ Canola oil

1. Rinse chicken and marinate in ¼ cup of pesto dressing. Chicken should be at room temperature before cooking.

2. Cut off stems and remove outer leaves of romaine lettuce. Tear into chunks and place in a bowl or container in the refrigerator with a damp paper towel or dishtowel over the top.

3. Preheat large frying pan. Remove chicken from marinade and pat as dry as possible with paper towels or a clean dishtowel.

4. Add a thin layer of olive oil to coat bottom of pan. Add chicken breasts, leaving space between them so they don’t steam. Cook on high until cooked a little more than half way through.

Lower heat if the oil starts to smoke. If there is liquid in the pan, keep heat high and keep pan uncovered to evaporate. If pan is dry, add a little more olive oil.

Note: Don’t move the chicken around in the pan. When it is done cooking on a side, it should release from the pan without sticking.

5. If it has cooked a little more than half way through, add a little more oil to pan and flip chicken over onto oiled surface. Depending on how thick it is, it should only need to cook a few more minutes on the other side.

6. When chicken is still a tiny bit pink in the middle, remove chicken from pan and place on a plate. If using a meat thermometer, take the chicken out of the pan when the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. Cover with foil and let rest for about 5 min.

7. While chicken is resting, take romaine lettuce out of fridge, add apples, pecans, pepper strips and blue cheese, and toss in pesto dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste.

8. Cut chicken breasts into strips. Serve salad, top with chicken strips and croutons.

Greek Salad

Greek Salad

This traditional Greek Salad is a nice change of pace from your everyday side salad, while being just as easy. Start with my simple Greek Vinaigrette.

iceberg lettuce
red onion, sliced very thin
black olives or other Greek olives
tomatoes, diced
cucumbers, sliced
feta cheese, crumbled

The vinaigrette already has plenty of lemon, garlic and oregano.

You can also skip the lettuce and go with larger slices of tomato and cucumber. Just let them marinate for a few minutes in the vinaigrette.