Being a food re-engineer, I like to invent new tastes. I also like the game of figuring out someone else’s recipe or tinkering to create a new taste out of something ordinary or even store bought. So when it comes to store bought salad dressing, I often will doctor it up and change the flavors or try to enhance them. Double Portions (DP) was always so impressed by these concoctions which I could rarely repeat that I started thinking, “How hard can it be to do this from scratch?” After that, the floodgates opened and now I almost always make my own dressing. This Creamy Balsamic Dressing recipe is no exception.
One thing that helped was an episode of America’s Test Kitchen where they showed how to emulsify a vinaigrette dressing using mayonnaise. They showed how if you add just a very small amount, it would hold vinegar and oil together and they wouldn’t separate. I remember being so impressed and fascinated by this so I started to try it. Then I decided, why just mayo? In theory it should work with say, Greek Yogurt as well. Many of you know I am a BIG FAN of Greek yogurt and so mastering using it as an emulsifier for my already growing salad dressing collection was a big deal. I love it when I can impress myself! I also realized that it can change the taste of certain dressings and so in some cases mayo may be better. It just depends on the dressing and the flavors you are looking for. Greek always makes things a little more tangy where mayo is a little more neutral.
Let’s talk Balsamic. I love balsamic vinegar, and I love creamy balsamic dressing even more. When it’s creamy with just a hint of sweetness, mmmm so good you’ll want to lick the bowl.
I used to get the store bought kind until I realized how easy it is to make, and with ingredients that I keep in my kitchen all the time! You will probably see this creamy balsamic dressing mentioned more than once on my blog, but one of it’s greatest uses is in my Caprese Salad w/a Twist recipe which includes greens and olives. You can also used this creamy balsamic dressing instead of plain balsamic on your regular caprese and it’s especially yummy when used as glaze for grilled chicken! Get creative!
Chef’s will tell you that when making salad dressing you have to add ingredients in a certain order (always adding oil last) or they will not blend well, but I’m here to tell you that is just a load of dressing. I’ve realized that when you add an emulsifier, it doesn’t matter what comes first—Which is great for me because I am a dump cook and for some reason, I always have to do the oil first, otherwise I can’t “feel” how much to put in and without seeing the oil I can’t judge how much vinegar is needed and it throws everything off. That said, when it comes to these ingredients, just dump ‘em in and use a good whisk to whip them together.
Creamy Balsamic Dressing Process Notes:
I have a big wooden salad bowl that I got in Hawaii years ago. I highly recommend wood bowls for salad and I never wash mine with soap—Just hot water and wipe out with a paper towel—I believe this “seasons” the bowl. At least that is what my dear friend Pegg taught me. That said, I ALWAYS make my dressing in the bowl FIRST and then I add my salad stuff on top of it, then mix it all up together. Call me crazy but I truly believe salad tastes better when it’s tossed in the dressing. And served on the side is just salad sin!
This makes enough salad dressing for a large salad for about 3-4 people or two if you have a DP in your life like I do! We also don’t like our salad dripping in dressing so you can adjust the recipe as needed for your appetite and the number of people you are serving. Half it, double it, whatever works for you.
- About 2-3 T of olive oil (I like extra virgin-1st press)
- About 2-3 T of Balsamic Vinegar
- A drizzle of honey—More or less depending on your tastes (I love Madhava Ambrosia Honey made in Longmont, CO—Though I recommend you buy good local honey from your own area—It’s a great help for allergies!
- 1 dollop/kitchen teaspoon (not the measuring kind) of Plain Fat Free Greek Yogurt (You can use whatever plain yogurt you have)
- A dash of salt to taste
- A dash of fresh ground pepper to taste
- 1 T of water (Optional—You can add at end after blending if you need to stretch the amount or lessen the tartness)
- Dump all the ingredients in the bowl you will serve the salad in and whisk it up until it’s completely smooth. If you opt to do it in a separate bowl this is ok, just use a shallow mixing bowl then pour into your larger salad bowl before the greens.
- Add your desired salad ingredients (see my Caprese Salad With A Twist for ideas), toss and enjoy!
Just a quick side note: This was one of those Murphy’s law of technology kind of days! My home internet has been behaving badly for the last few months and no matter how much troubleshooting I do–and I am a geek-lite–today when I needed my internet most and had to get out the door to attend my friend Pegg’s 80th birthday party (she was mentioned earlier in this post) I lost my connection and couldn’t post! YIKES!!! THANK GOODNESS for my T-Mobile Hotspot! It saved my arse! Whew!