Getting Dressed Up

Sometimes, a good dressing is all you need to transform a mundane salad into a sensational salad! Dressings can often be high in fat with lots of oil and mayonnaise, but some of my favourite dressings not only pack a flavour punch, but are healthy too. It’s easy to make up your own dressings (and you can get a little creative), but the key thing is you get a good balance of sour, salty and sweet flavours. You can always throw in some aromatic herbs too!

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Here are some of my favourite dressing recipes (from my cookbook Nadia’s Good Food Cook Book) that are bound to jazz up your salads!

Lime and Fish Sauce Dressing

Great for any Asian style salad, but also leafy green salads

Combine 1 tablespoon fish sauce or soy sauce, ¼ cup lime juice, 2 teaspoons brown sugar, 2 teaspoons sesame oil and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (e.g. peanut, canola, rice-bran or soy). Makes approximately ½ cup, will keep in fridge for weeks.

Ponzu dressing

Ponzu is a delicious and refreshing Japanese dressing that combines soy sauce and citrus

Combine 1/3 cup lime or lemon juice, 1/3 cup soya sauce, 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, 2 teaspoons sesame oil, 2 teaspoons sugar or mirin and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (e.g. canola, rice-bran or soy). Makes approximately 1 cup, will keep in fridge for weeks. 

Red wine vinegar dressing

A classic dressing great for any type of salad

Combine 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar, juice of ½ lemon, 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 teaspoons runny honey and 1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard. Makes approximately ½ cup, will keep in fridge for weeks.

Creamy dressing

I use this dressing in coleslaws and potato salads. It is much lighter than using plain mayonnaise, and much nicer too I find!

Combine ¼ cup mayonnaise (I like to use Japanese kewpie mayonnaise), ¼ cup natural unsweetened thick Greek yoghurt, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard and the juice of ½ lemon. Makes approximately ½ cup.

Soy and Hoisin Dressing

This is an incredibly useful dressing for any Asian style noodle dishes or salads. The hoisin adds a characteristic sweet and subtle spiciness.

Combine 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce, 1 ½ tablespoons sesame oil, 1 ½ tablespoons soy sauce and 1 ½ tablespoons rice vinegar. Makes approximately ½ cup, will keep in fridge for weeks.

Basic sweet chilli dressing

This is a delicious dressing that I use in my smoked chicken and mango salad – it brings the flavours alive!

Combine 2 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce, 3 tablespoons lemon or lime juice and 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Makes approximately ½ cup, will keep in fridge for a week.

Asian sweet chilli dressing: add 2 teaspoons fish sauce and 1 teaspoon sesame oil to the basic sweet chilli dressing. Makes approximately ½ cup, will keep in fridge for a week.

Honey mustard dressing

This is another classic dressing, like the red wine vinegar dressing, great for any type of salad

Combine 3 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar, 1 ½ tablespoons runny honey, 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil and 1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard. Makes approximately ½ cup, will keep in fridge for weeks.

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