A simple apple cider vinaigrette that you can make up ahead and dress any kind of green salad. It's our family's favourite salad dressing. (Skip to recipe.)
Every now and then I buy a bottle of commercial salad dressing, thinking how quick and handy it will be, and it invariably gets old and rancid in the back of the refrigerator. It's usually too sweet - we don't care for sweet salad dressings - and filled with a list of unpronounceable ingredients.
Yech. Why do I keep trying . . . lured by the appealing packaging or great sale price . . . when my family loves this simple vinaigrette best anyway? It comes together in about 2 minutes and is full of vibrant flavour - making any salad come alive. It tastes good with all kinds of salad ingredients, from mild lettuces to strong-flavoured greens like kale and broccoli.
And it has a secret flavour-boosting ingredient - a healthy ingredient. One you may not have in your kitchen, but which I encourage you to go out and buy. (And if you already have it - kudos to you.)
It is . . . (drumroll here) . . . ta-da . . . nutritional yeast.
What? Yes, yeast - that you can eat - and that is really good for you. It adds a lovely richness to foods and can be used in so many different ways. But I think my family's favourite way is in this salad dressing.
If you're thinking this is way too 'granola' for you, I encourage you to be brave and give it a try. (You know you've always been wanting to sneak more healthy foods into your family's meals, and this is one easy way to do it.) Just be careful not to use brewer's yeast (bitter, yuck) or torula yeast (ditto) or regular baking yeast (which is not deactivated so it will rise in your tummy - causing bloat). Nutritional yeast is a natural member of the fungi (mushroom) family and is grown on molasses, then heated to deactivate it. It is full of protein and B vitamins and more. Nutritional yeast flakes are sold in health food stores, bulk food bins (sometimes) and lately, in the 'healthy food' aisle of our local big chain supermarket.
Back to the salad dressing, or vinaigrette (interesting word, coming from the French vin/wine and aigre/sour - which is what vinegar actually is - sour wine or cider, hmmm). It's such a simple thing to do really. I have to confess that most times I just drizzle and sprinkle the ingredients over a big bowl of salad greens without measuring. But just for you, and in the interests of having an actual recipe written down somewhere, I measured the last time I made my vinaigrette. It's quite handy to have a jar of this in the refrigerator, and it separates into such pretty layers when it sits. Just shake it up before using and it returns to a creamy emulsion.
So - (without a drum roll, since this is such a humble recipe) here it is:
Make double or triple the recipe to have on hand for salads.
- 3 tablespoons (45ml) apple cider vinegar (preferably raw/unpasteurized)
- ½ cup (120ml) olive oil
- 2 tablespoons (30ml) nutritional yeast
- ½ teaspoon (2.5ml) salt
- ½ teaspoon (2.5ml) freshly ground pepper
Combine all ingredients in a small jar (about 1 cup), seal with lid, and shake vigorously. Let stand 5 minutes for the yeast flakes to soften up and shake again.
Pour a small amount on salad greens and toss to coat. Store leftover dressing in the refrigerator. Shake well before use as the ingredients will settle into layers.
Keeps for several weeks, refrigerated. Shake well before using as it settles into layers.
Makes ¾ cup (180ml) salad dressing.
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