As I reduce my use of preprocessed, pre-made products I find myself preparing more and more simple salads. I eat salad at least once a day and sometimes two or three times. Salads are a great way to squeeze extra produce into my diet, while simultaneously cleaning out the random items leftover on my refrigerator shelves and veggie bins.
Most of my salads start with a simple base of romaine lettuce and/or mixed spring greens followed by a sprinkling of all sorts of fruits and veggies. My favorite toppings include shredded carrots, dried cranberries, walnuts, red pepper, avocado and sunflower seeds. I usually squeeze sliced cheese and whatever leftover protein is in the fridge typically last night’s chicken or turkey leftovers.
As part of the eat from the pantry challenge I decided not to purchase new salad dressing when I ran out a few weeks ago. Instead, I mixed a simple combination of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Since that time I found an amazing salad dressing recipe that I really love.
First step: Make your own Raspberry Vinegar
- 2 cups distilled white vinegar
- 1 cup fresh raspberries
Combine vinegar and raspberries in a small, non-reactive pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and let steep and cool for 45 minutes. Strain through a mesh sieve, discard seeds and solids. Pour into a sterilized glass bottle and seal with a non-metallic cap or lid. Store in a cool, dark place for 1 week, then pour through a coffee filter to clarify the vinegar. Re-bottle in a sterilized glass container and store in the fridge for up to 6 months.
Second Step: Make Your Own Raspberry Hazelnut Vinaigrette
- 2 tablespoons homemade Raspberry Vinegar
- 3 tablespoons hazelnut oil
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Place the raspberry vinegar, mustard, hazelnut oil, and olive oil in a glass jar and seal the lid tightly. Shake the jar vigorously to combine. Season the vinaigrette with salt and pepper to taste. The vinaigrette can be refrigerated, covered, for up to 1 month. Let it return to room temperature before using.