This post is by blog team member, Kelly. To learn more about Kelly, check out “Our Team” page.
As Bruce shared in a recent post, most bottled salad dressings are full of refined, unhealthy oils, and sweeteners. And even organic dressings may contain questionable ingredients acting as thickeners, stabilizers, or emulsifiers. But nasty ingredients aside, homemade salad dressing just tastes SO much better! And it’s really easy to make. In fact, if you’re just beginning your transition away from processed foods, ditching the store-bought salad dressing in exchange for your own homemade version is a great place to start.
My Maple Dijon Vinaigrette recipe is one of my all time favorites. I’ve served it multiple times for dinner guests and potlucks, and it always gets rave reviews. This probably has something to do with the fact that it contains a little pure maple syrup. If you’re struggling to get your family members to eat their leafy greens, this dressing just might turn your salad snubbers into salad lovers. It’s that good!
The salad dressing recipe below makes about 1/3 cup, which works well for either two entree-sized salads or four side salads. If you are making it for a larger dinner party or potluck, simply double, triple or even quadruple the ingredients, depending on your needs.
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- ½ tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
- fresh ground black pepper to taste
- Mix together all the ingredients. Make sure the dressing is well blended before pouring on your salad.
This dressing can be made ahead of time (and it gets more flavorful the longer it sits in the fridge). If you make it ahead of time just pull it out a little bit prior to serving so that it can come back to room temperature before serving.
And if you’re looking for an amazing salad to serve with this dressing, give my Gorgonzola Pear and Walnut Salad a try. This makes a delicious side dish, or when topped with steak, a lovely dinner for two.
- Maple Dijon Vinaigrette (see recipe above)
- 5-ounces mixed salad greens, rinsed
- 6-ounce beef tenderloin filet, preferably 100% grass-fed (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 pear (see notes)
- ½ cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese
- 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts, toasted
- Pull your steak out of the fridge to let it come to room temperature. Salt and pepper to taste prior to cooking. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (see notes).
- In a non-stick, oven-safe skillet, cook the tenderloin on medium-high heat for 1-2 minutes on all sides.
- Transfer the steak to the oven and cook for an additional 5 minutes per side, or until it's done to your liking.
- While the steak is cooking, toast your walnuts in a pan over low heat, tossing occasionally, until fragrant. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Wash and chop your pear into bite-sized pieces.
- Pull your steak out of the oven and let it rest a few minutes before slicing into strips.
- Combine the mixed greens with the dressing and pear, tossing well to coat.
- Divide the salad mixture onto two plates and top each with half of the gorgonzola, steak, and toasted walnuts.
Some say that it's not necessary to bring your steak to room temperature before cooking it. And some may prefer a grilled steak to a stove-top/oven steak. If you have a particular way you like to prep and cook your steak, by all means, go with that. And if you are a vegetarian, just leave it off.
Any variety of pear or even an apple will work, but an asian pear (also known as an apple pear) is especially delicious if you can find one.
Kelly Harjes is a Certified Holistic Health Coach and founder of Appetite for Healthy Change™. Her mission is to inspire others to look and feel their best, feed their families well, and help improve our food system.
Kitchen Tips and Resources:
- Looking for something to mix up your salad dressing in? Mason jars such as these 16-ounce mason jars work great. Their wide mouth makes it easy to pour in ingredients, and the graduated measurements along the sides allow for the quick addition of just the right amount of ingredients. The Kolder salad dressing bottle is another good option although its narrower, traditional bottleneck makes it a little harder to quickly add ingredients. The bonus of the Kolder salad dressing bottle is that it has a variety of recipes on the bottle.
- A great garlic press makes mincing garlic super easy. Bruce loves this top-rated one, but there are lots of great options out there at all sorts of kitchen, department, and discount stores.