I don’t know about you, but I don’t like commercial salad dressings, even oil-based ones. Without naming specific brands, many are:
- Not made with extra virgin olive oil! Some are made with one or a blend of canola oil, soybean oil, or corn oil. Soybean and corn oil contain omega-6 polyunsaturated acids, which are too abundant in our diet. Too many of them throws the balance between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids off, contributing to inflammation. On the other hand, olive oil is a monounsaturated acid that lowers inflammation.
- Made with one or more sweeteners, like sugar, high fructose corn syrup, or juice concentrates (more sugar)
- Made with natural and/or artificial flavors. What are they? Could they cause food sensitivities for some people?
- Made with artificial color. Who needs that? Again, could they cause food sensitivities for some people?
- Made with fillers, such as cornstarch, especially in light or fat-free versions.
- High in sodium.
- Lacking taste: I find them diluted and watered down. That might be good if you like to drench your veggies in as much liquid as you can without adding too many calories. I prefer less dressing quantity and a much stronger flavor.
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Eating whole unprocessed foods isn’t that difficult. Make this batch of homemade dressing and store it in the fridge for a couple of weeks. The olive oil will solidify in the fridge because there are no stabilizers in the dressing you make at home. All you need to do is to leave the dressing on your kitchen counter for 10 minutes, shake well, and then drizzle.
This recipe is simple. Just grab a measuring cup, measuring spoons, and a glass jar. I crushed the garlic using a mortar and pestle. If you don’t have one, you can use a garlic press, chop them very finely, or use garlic powder. In this recipe, I used balsamic vinegar. If it’s not available, you can use apple cider vinegar. I usually use apple cider vinegar when I’m making Middle Eastern salads.
You can use this dressing to marinade chicken or shrimp before grilling. Who needs to spend money on a commercial marinade that’s full of artificial flavors? Not me!
Basic Olive Oil Salad Dressing and Marinade
- 1 medium garlic clove, crushed
- ¼ c extra-version olive oil
- 2-4 tbsp balsamic vinegar (4 if you like sharp zesty taste, 2 if you like milder dressing)
- juice of 1 lemon ~ 4 tbsp
- ¼ tsp ground mustard
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- ½ tsp dried oregano or crushed thyme leaves
- Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk.
- Pour into a glass jar. Store in your fridge for up to 2 weeks.