During the summer months, salads are a regular feature in our kitchen. Some salads are simple mixtures of chopped vegetables making their own dressing with natural juices. Other times, we go traditional with salad greens mixed with cucumbers and radishes. While I don't like to ruin the health benefits of fresh vegetables, sometimes we really like the taste of a drizzle of salad dressing.
I like making my own dressings because it is less expensive and I can pronounce all of the ingredients. While there is natural sodium in most foods, we've been working hard to reduce the salt we add to our food and that includes eliminating many processed and packaged foods.
Each of these dressings are made with simple pantry ingredients that should be in most kitchens. Each recipe makes about two cups of dressing and both store well in the refrigerator for up to six weeks.
Red French Dressing
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup all-natural ketchup
3/4 cups canola oil
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients with a whisk until well combined. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator and shake or stir well before serving.
Poppy Seed Dressing
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon dry, ground mustard
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup dried minced onion
1 1/2 cups canola oil
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
Use a whisk to combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. The liquids in the dressing will rehydrate the dried onions. This dressing will separate in the refrigerator, so shake or stir well before serving.
*Because the poppy seed dressing is intended for longer storage, please don't be tempted to substitute fresh onion for the dried minced onion. The moisture content in fresh onions has led them to break down after a week or so in the refrigerator, ruining the dressing.
*Poppy seeds tend to go rancid in a few months when stored at room temperatures. To keep them fresh for a longer period of time, store your poppy seeds in the freezer.
*I use extra virgin olive oil for many single-meal salad dressings, but it doesn't work well with refrigerated dressing. If you do substitute olive oil, it will partially solidify. Make sure to let the dressing sit out of the refrigerator for at least a half-hour before serving and mix well.
*A natural oil choice that tastes very light with just a hint of nuttiness is sunflower oil.
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