I think salad for dinner is wonderful. It’s easy, you don’t have to actually cook anything (if you don’t want to), it’s a pretty good way to clean out your fridge, and you can eat just a ton of bread with it (you need to soak up the leftover dressing on your plate, right?) without feeling bad because you just did eat a LOT of veggies! You can make salads as easy or as fancy as you like, and I like to stick more towards the easy end of things.
I will tell you that my absolute favourite salad dressing is just oil and balsamic vinegar over greens (we’ve been really into arugula lately). You can get so many fun flavours of balsamic that it’s impossible to get bored with it. My personal favourite is a blueberry balsamic from All of Oils…UGH drool worthy, honestly. Oh, and fig balsamic. ALSO DROOL.
Sometimes though you just need to have some cheesy, crunchy Caesar salad, topped with all the good stuff. Caesar salad makes an awesome dinner salad, I think it’s pretty hearty. My mom often made grilled chicken and Caesar salad for dinner growing up, especially during summer when it was just wayyyyy too hot to turn the stove on. Also, it’s full of cheese and chunks of crunchy bread….YES.
BUT I find Caesar dressing really weird. First of all it has anchovies in it. ANCHOVIES. A FISH. In my dressing? That’s a no from me. And don’t tell me to just use the paste – because what the heck am I supposed to with the rest of the tube? Secondly, it’s made with raw eggs, that’s another pass from me – I prefer not risking salmonella. Oh, and the store bought stuff never has enough kick in it, it’s like they don’t put enough garlic or cheese in it.
The solution? An easy homemade version! I take out the raw eggs and the anchovies, and bam you have a nice, light (and less risky) dressing! If you have a food processor, this is wicked easy. Most of the ingredients are probably already in your kitchen! This dressing is cheesy, creamy, garlicky and easy. You can really play around with the flavours and add more or less to your own taste.
- Don’t cheap out or skimp on the cheese. Use the good Parmesan, not the dry powdered stuff from the shelf. Parmesan takes FOREVER to go bad (does it actually go bad ever?) so buy some, and keep it on hand.
- I like the kick from a lot garlic – if you’re planning on smooching or don’t like the spicy kick, only use 2 cloves.
- Use nice mustard. It’s a huge flavour in the dressing. If you have cheap mustard it won’t be the same. I like grainy, beer dijon. French’s yellow mustard won’t cut it here.
- Let the dressing sit for at least a 1/2 hour before serving to let the flavours get all cozy.
- Use a mix of greens – The one I made last night I used romaine, arugula, and red leaf lettuce (that’s what I had in my fridge from earlier this week). Shake it up and get creative! You want this dressing to shine on fun lettuce.
- This dressing can be EASILY vegan. Swap out the mayo for vegan yogurt or vegan mayo and use the vegan parm or nutritional yeast. We’ve already took out the anchovies, because yuck.
This makes a pretty good size batch. Leftover dressing can be kept in the fridge for a couple days, which is great for us make ahead queens. Tossed with some mixed greens, and your favourite toppings you got yourself an easy dinner or side salad! Leftovers can be used as a dip or spread!
When it’s this easy and tasty, you won’t want to go back to the bottled stuff – trust me! This dressing is a game changer.
- 2 Tbsp Mayo
- 2-3 tsp Dijon mustard (I like the grainy kind)
- Juice of 1 large lemon
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground pepper
- 3 garlic gloves (use less is you like – or roasted for a change!)
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (plus a pinch extra 😉 )
- 3/4 to 1 cup of Olive oil to blend
Put mayo, mustard, lemon juice, salt, pepper, garlic and cheese in food processor. Blend.
While it’s blending, drizzle in oil until it’s smooth and creamy. Add less if you want it thicker (for a spread) or add more if you like it thinner.
Toss with greens and your favourite toppings, or use a spread or dip. I like cucumbers, tomatoes, croutons and shaved cheese, get creative!