I have shared several salad recipes over the past week, all of which (with the exception of The Simplest Tomato Salad Ever) were rather unusual, and are meant to serve as a main dish. Today, therefore, I’d like to share a yummy and quick recipe for a side salad – or, if you generally need a “basic recipe” for different salad variations, this will serve just fine. Make it according to the description and add whatever toppings you find in your fridge/kitchen: you’ll be surprised at how many new creations you’ll be able to make and how many new variations of salad you will love!
Salad-making is all about making the salad dressing. Of course, it’s important to have the other ingredients for your salad, and it’s ideal if they are all good quality, but, without a good dressing, you will most likely not enjoy your salad. The art of making salad dressings has taken me a while to understand, especially since everyone seems to have a different idea about what makes the perfect salad dressing. I am all about simplicity, which I hope is what you have in mind as well.
As you may have noticed from my other salad recipes, I always use 1 Tbs. of (olive or rapeseed) oil and 2 Tbs. of vinegar (or 1 Tbs. of two different vinegars). That is the base for any salad dressing I make – if I have mainly lettuce in my salad, I may add 1 Tbs. of water to make it fluid, simply because it will then spread more easily when mixing it with the salad.
What makes my salad dressings tasty is, in my opinion, the use of fresh herbs. I almost always opt for chives, firstly because they are always to be found on the window ceiling in my kitchen, and, secondly, because I really like their slightly sharp and spicy taste. If you prefer basil or parsley or any other herb, and it would be ideal if it were fresh, go ahead and use that! I also like to add one chopped up green onion, as I like green onions a lot. If you dislike onions in general, simply leave them out!
One more thing: A salad dressing won’t taste (as) good if you don’t have quality oil and quality vinegar. I know, buying oil and vinegar is always very difficult due to the price range of the different products, but, trust me, if you buy oil and vinegar at a health/organic store or perhaps even at a shop which specializes in oil and vinegar, you will not regret paying the price. I have to get over myself every time I am in one of those stores – the prices are just so high – but, once the salad dressing is made, I am always so glad that I bought the “good stuff”.
For the side salad recipe, I made a very simple balsamic vinegar dressing. I have both white and dark balsamic vinegar at home, and I usually use the dark one for dashing over the top of the already-prepared salad before serving. The problem with dark balsamic vinegar in the dressing is that it always gives the dressing a dark brownish color, and, in my opinion, that just doesn’t look too appetizing, especially if you have “light” ingredients, like a sliced apple, in your salad. I therefore use the white balsamic vinegar for the dressing (at least in this basic recipe), and the dark one for garnish (in this recipe, I didn’t use any dark balsamic vinegar):
for the salad:
- 1 romaine lettuce salad
- 1/2 carrot, peeled and sliced
- 1 1/2 tomatoes, sliced/chopped
for the salad dressing:
- 1 Tbs. oil (I like to use olive or rapeseed oil)
- 2 Tbs. white balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tbs. chopped chives (or any other herb)
- 1 Tbs. chopped green onion (optional)
- salt and pepper, to taste
1. In a bowl, mix ingredients for salad dressing.
2. Wash the romaine lettuce and either cut or tear into pieces, then add to the bowl.
3. Add the carrot and tomatoes and mix salad with the dressing.
And that’s it! In just three steps, you either have a great side salad for other dishes, or the base for a new, special salad that has not yet been created! If you dislike tomatoes or carrots, you can either leave them out completely, making it a green salad, or, you could add any other veggies you have lying around.