The best summertime salad dressing.

Warm weather is upon us! The sky is big and blue. The trails are dry. The hills are various shades of green. Yesterday, we cleaned up the patio, brought all of the cushions out of winter storage, and enjoyed our first al fresco happy hour. The yard is coming back to life and flowers are beginning to bloom. The windows are open, allowing a gentle spring breeze to waft through the house. Everything is lighter- what we wear, what we feel, even what we eat. It’s heavenly.

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While the local farmers market bounty is still a little ways off, we eat a lot of fresh greens around here. As the weather warms up, I love making a whole meal out of a hearty salad (instead of just on the side). I like a lot of different textures and unexpected ingredients, and the dressing is key. John makes our every-day salad dressing from scratch- it’s garlicky and herby and flavorful and delicious. This week, he made a batch while I put together a tasty combination of roasted veggies, chicken, tomato, avocado, and feta over a bed of romaine. I scribbled a few notes into a recipe for this dressing (which John never measures and just tastes along the way).

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He starts with good quality olive oil, and adds balsamic vinegar at a ratio of about 3/2. He adds some Dijon mustard and a couple of whole garlic cloves, peeled and smashed. There are lots of dried herbs- basil, oregano, thyme, parsley. A generous dollop of honey, some salt and pepper, and a really good shake- that’s it!

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As with any recipe, it’s important to taste the end result and adjust flavorings and seasonings as needed. Sometimes John adds a little bit of lemon juice for tang. The dressing was ideal over our main course salad- just a hint of warm weather meals coming soon!

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John’s Garlicky Balsamic Vinaigrette

*makes about 1 ½ cups of dressing

You’ll need:

  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • 2/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • Generous teaspoon honey
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

Combine all ingredients into a jar with a lid. Shake really well, until the oil no longer separates from the rest of the ingredients. Drizzle over a huge salad and keep a batch in your fridge all summer long. Yum!

Hungry for more? Check out the collection of recipes on the FOOD BLISS page.

One year ago: Asian Chicken Noodle Bowl


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