Your new homemade dressing secret weapon.

By Rebecca Firkser
February 22, 2019
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Store-bought salad dressing can be disappointing. Bottled creamy dressing is always too sweet and too thick, and no matter how much you shake vinaigrette it refuses to properly emulsify. Yet so many folks would rather grab a bottle than make their own, even if it means their salad will only be so-so. You know what? You can do better. And it starts with a secret ingredient: shallots. 

A shallot is a type of onion that is mild enough to taste good when eaten raw, sort of like scallions or chives. They’re pretty small, typically one to three inches in length and width. While chopped or sliced shallots can be used in place of onions in most recipes, they’re especially useful when mixed into salad dressing, where they add the slightly spicy bite of raw garlic or onion without quite as much punch.

Whether you’re dressing lettuce, dunking dumplings, or preparing something cool and creamy for wings, shallot will brighten up any vinaigrette, dressing, or dip. Of course, you don’t want to bite into a big chunk of one mid-salad, so they best way to prep shallots for dressing is to mince them. From there, the sky’s the limit. I think shallots work best in dressings that have a fair bit of fat (like olive oil in a classic vinaigrette or sour cream in ranch) and acid (like citrus juice and vinegars). They also help to add a je ne sais quois-factor to Caesar dressing, even if you use nontraditional ingredients, like the below recipe for a hummus and caper-based vegan Caesar. Trust me, you won’t miss the anchovies after a bite of this.

Classic French Vinaigrette

2 tablespoons minced shallot
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Good pinch Kosher salt
6 tablespoons olive oil
Freshly ground black better

1. In a medium bowl or tall jar, mix together all ingredients except for the oil and black pepper with a whisk or fork.
2. Slowly stream in the oil, whisking constantly to ensure the vinaigrette makes an emulsion.
3. Add pepper, and more salt if desired, to taste. Store vinaigrette in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Ranch Dressing

3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup sour cream
½ cup mayonnaise or Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons minced shallot
¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
¼ cup minced fresh chives
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. In a medium bowl or tall jar, mix together lemon juice, vinegar, onion powder, and garlic powder together with a whisk or fork.
2. Mix in sour cream, mayonnaise, and 2 tablespoons water until smooth.
3. Mix in shallot, parsley, chives, and dill. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Store dressing in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Vegan Caesar Dressing

¼ cup prepared hummus
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons minced shallot
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons minced capers
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon garlic powder
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. In a medium bowl or tall jar, mix together all ingredients with a whisk or fork. If the mixture is too thick for your liking, add water or more lemon juice 1 teaspoon at a time until it’s reached your desired consistency.
2. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Store dressing in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

 

 

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