Having my own garden has always been high on my bucket list. I mean, what’s more ‘One Ingredient’ than growing and harvesting your own food straight from the soil? So when a 100 sq. ft. plot opened up at my local community garden last December, I had to jump on it… even though I had no gardening experience.

Like anything worth doing, there was a huge learning curve, a lot of hard work to be done, and not many results at first. But fast forward 4 months and many YouTube gardening tutorials later, and things have exploded… dozens of sugar snap peas, bok choy, radishes (daikon and red belle), beets, multi-colored carrots, and more salad greens than I could ever use โ€“ handfuls of spicy arugula, bags of fresh kale, bunches of crispy spinach, and a near-infinite amount of baby lettuce.

So, as you might imagine, salads have been on my mind a lot lately. Today I thought I’d share my three favorite simple salad dressing recipes. They are all very different, very easy to make, and add a ton of variety to your salads.

Then, don’t forget to check out some of my garden photos below ๐Ÿ˜‰


Orange Mustard Vinaigrette

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This oil-free vinaigrette is a super-fresh low calorie dressing that adds a ton of tangy sweetness to any salad. It’s super versatile and you would be hard-pressed to find a salad where this dressing doesn’t work well, but I particularly like how it cuts through the bitterness of more intense greens. Pairing this one with a salad of arugula and fresh fruit is perfection.

Makes about 1 cup

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt, to taste

When I said these dressings were simple, I wasn’t kidding. They all follow the same two-step process: 1) Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. 2) Taste, and adjust any flavors to suit your preferences. Done!

For best results, store refrigerated in a sealed mason jar.



Peanut Sesame Dressing

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I use these classic flavors of peanut butter, soy sauce, and sesame in a lot of dishes, and they make a pretty yummy Asian-inspired salad dressing as well. This one is incredible tossed with a salad of shredded cabbage, carrots, green onions, and sesame seeds. It also works well as a marinade for tofu, or just a dipping sauce for fresh vegetables.

Makes about 1 cup

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Once again, the process is the same: 1) Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. 2) Taste, and adjust any flavors to suit your preferences.

Store refrigerated in a sealed mason jar.



Smoked Paprika Ranch Dressing

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Those of you who read my blog regularly will not be surprised to see that I’m using cashews… It is true that 90% of my recipes these days use this ingredient, but I promise I’m not getting kickbacks from the cashew farmers (though, I should really look into that…).

The reason is that cashews make the perfect plant-based cream when blended. Here, we’re turning that cream into a ranch dressing with kicked-up flavors of smoked paprika and nutritional yeast.

This one pairs perfectly with a simple salad of torn kale leaves and sliced green onions.

Makes about 1 cup

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup raw cashews
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
  • Salt, to taste

Here, the process is the same, but the cashews do need to be soaked for 1-6 hours before blending. This adds another step: 1) soak the cashews and drain of their soaking water. 2) Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. 3) Taste, and adjust any flavors to suit your preferences.

Store refrigerated in a sealed mason jar.


And now for some gratuitous garden photos…

Rows and rows of mixed baby lettuce…
Lettuce

So many sugar snap peas!
peas

Very disappointing broccoli – the weather became too hot before real florets could form ๐Ÿ™
Broccoli

These two wild arugula plants are going crazy.
Arugula

One of my favorite ingredients, these green onions are almost ready!
GreenOnions

This spinach is growing faster than I can harvest it.
Spinach

So. Much. KALE!
Kale