May 2010 Archives

Mustard Vinaigrette Recipe

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I rarely buy salad dressing from the store since my close friend Chelsea taught me to make my own years ago.  I use this dressing for every kind of salad and I think it makes a great dressing for pasta with roasted summer vegetables. 

A salad dressing becomes very personalized in no time at all.  Once you learn to make one basic recipe, you will adjust it to suit your taste almost without thinking about it, and indeed, if you make your own frequently you won't need to think about it at all or look up recipes.  It will become second nature. 

If you don't already have a favorite mustard vinaigrette, try this one!  I use my favorite stone-ground spicy brown mustard but many people prefer the sharper bite of a Dijon mustard; use what you love best because mustard is the star of this dressing.

Chelsea tends to make her dressings in batches just large enough for her needs each time, I prefer to make enough to put it in a bottle and use it for a few different salads.  This recipe will make one full bottle of dressing.  I often double it so that I have two bottles premade.  This dressing will last indefinitely in the fridge due to the vinegar and mustard content, though it will thicken with the cold and may need to be warmed to be poured.

Mustard Vinaigrette Dressing

Ingredients:
1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 tbsp mustard
3 roughly chopped garlic cloves
1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper


Method:

Add all the ingredients to a tall sided bowl or very large measuring cup and then blend them together really well using an immersion blender.  I like using the immersion blender for this dressing because it emulsifies the oil enough to thicken it and make it creamy. 

To make by hand:
Instead of roughly chopping the garlic, if you want to make this without a blender, I suggest chopping the garlic very fine first or crushing it well in a mortar and pestle.  Then add all the ingredients to a medium sized bowl and whisk them well.  This method will not create quite as thick and creamy a consistency but the flavor will be just as wonderful.

Variations: Chelsea sometimes likes to add a teaspoon of sugar to her dressing to round out the sharpness of the vinegar, you might like to try it her way to see what you think, many dressing have sugar in them for this reason.  I prefer mine without but it's worth experimenting.  My preferred herb for dressing is thyme but there are many dried herbs that are just as good in this dressing.  One suggestion to try is: 1/2 tsp each of thyme, marjoram, and basil.   


This recipe is gluten free: if the vinegar is gluten free, red wine vinegar usually is but if you have Celiac's it is wise to be sure.  You can use an apple cider vinegar as a substitution.

This recipe is Vegan
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Navy Bean and Dandelion Green Salad Recipe

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I love cold salads made with navy beans (very small white bean) or cannelini beans (a bigger white bean favored in Italian food) because they have a mild bean flavor which pairs perfectly with many summery herbs and vegetables.

This salad is best made in early spring when you can pick very young dandelion greens which are the most tender and least bitter.  If you're interested in making it now, look for brand new dandelion plants amongst the bigger ones or simply limit yourself to the smallest inner leaves.  You only need a handful.

I cook my beans from dried, rather than canned, but either will do perfectly well.  Because I make my own I always add a chopped onion and some thyme while the beans are cooking (you can see a bit of cooked onion in the picture).


Navy Bean and Dandelion Greens Salad Recipe
serves 6

Ingredients:

4 cups cooked navy beans (or 2 16oz cans)
1/4 red onion diced very small
1 handful of minced dandelion greens
1/4 cup prepared mustard vinaigrette*
1 tsp salt

Method:

Mix all of the ingredients together well.  That's it.  It's more of an assemblage than a method. 

May be served room temperature or cold.


*Use your own favorite home made vinaigrette or use my recipe for mustard vinaigrette.

Variation:  when in season you can add one whole chopped cucumber or a large tomato.  Other herbs can be added as well such as parsley (I'd use a tablespoon of minced fresh parsley) or fresh chopped thyme (I'd use a teaspoon) or basil (I'd use a 1/4 cup julienned).


This recipe is gluten free: provided the vinegar you use in the dressing is gluten free.

This recipe is vegan.



Here are some other articles you might be interested in:

Dandelions (Taraxacum officinale): Plant Profile

Mushrooms, Dandelion Greens, and Pasta in a Cheese Sauce

Mustard Vinaigrette Recipe


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