Salad dressing is tough to get right in my book.
Store-bought dressings rarely tastes as good as fresh. Plus, many of them have an unappealing consistency that comes from the addition of stabilizers and thickeners such as xanthum gum or food starch. Then there is the matter of how much sugar or sugar substitutes they contain. (I love sugar, but not hidden in foods – I’ll take mine in dessert or measured out in coffee, thank you very much.) Check it out yourself. Read a couple of salad dressing bottle ingredient labels next time you go shopping.
Don’t be fooled by dressings in the refrigerator section of many stores. They may be more expensive than the unrefrigerated ones, but that doesn’t mean they contain only the ingredients you would use in a homemade version. Again, my refrain is “check the label.” Some that say “naturally fresh” have artificial flavor, added sugar, and thickeners.
Homemade salad dressing is a great concept, but I often forget to make it until we're hungry and the salad is already made. Sometimes really good oil and vinegar drizzled over that salad will do just fine. But when I’m in the mood for more flavor, this super easy and quick salad dressing really hits the spot. I love the strawberry- balsamic combination and thyme is a nice addition to that flavor. This dressing is wonderful with a fresh strawberry at this time of year, but you can also make it in the winter using a frozen (defrosted), unsweetened one.
Strawberry-Thyme Salad Dressing
Servings – ¼ cup (serves 2-3 for a lightly dressed salad) Cost - $.50 - 1.00 depending on cost and quality of the vinegar and oil you use
- 1 small-medium strawberry
- small sprig of fresh thyme or a pinch of dried thyme (optional)
- 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
- 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Small jar or container with tight fitting lid
- Mash the strawberry with the fork until the juices are released and the berry pulp separates a bit. If you’re picky about uniformity of texture, you might use a plate so you can mash it to smithereens. I’m fine with bits of strawberry pulp immersed in the dressing and my mashing was rather perfunctory.
- Add the balsamic vinegar, oil, thyme (crush the fresh or dried thyme in your fingers to release its scent), salt and pepper.
- Close the lid and shake carefully. Presto, you're done! Drizzle over salad.