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Bring on the greens: salad dressing – Carol McFarland

Updated: Jun 10, 2021

This time of year is magical. The lilacs and wildflowers are blooming all over the PCW region, spring crops are coming up and we are getting excited for our first CSA share of the season tomorrow. There was some lovely butterhead lettuce at the Moscow Food Co-Op a few weeks ago from the Moscow Urban Farm.

This, and some lettuce that I picked up at Lifeline Farms on my trip to Montana last weekend, (*I love getting cheese from these guys, they are doing some cool things over in Victor, MT over on the farthest border of the PCW region) inspired me to start thinking about spring salads! Spring is time for the nutrient dense, cleansing and energizing buffet of all things green and I intend to take full advantage. I’m growing some on my porch and have a feeling that my fridge will soon be full of them from my trip to market/CSA share.

I find it really handy to have some salad dressing on hand that is versatile enough to go on an array of substantial dinner salads. There are two levels of complexity to this salad dressing depending on which direction you want to take it.

The core of the Salad Dressing recipe is:


Vinegar, lemon/lime/citrus juice, wine – something or a combination of them

Salt and pepper

*Note: all of my quantities in this recipe are to taste, this is where your personal style and audience’s taste come in

Mix with a whisk, hand blender, vitamix, fork or whatever you like

You can have this, as is, for a very simple and healthy salad dressing- Or, you can…

Take it to the next level with several variations that can be mixed and matched to taste:



Crushed Garlic

Sirracha or similar chile sauce


Herbs – I use thyme a lot and fresh parsley or rosemary, combining an Italian herb blend with tahini can mimic Ranch dressing

Fresh/frozen berries

Dried figs or similar

There are so many options here and it is a great opportunity to get creative and experiment with what you like. Throw in some pureed passionfruit, whatever you have on hand that makes you happy. I will often do a little test batch of a recipe to start; then if it turns out to be a good one, I can make a bigger batch and use it as a standalone dressing or a foundation dressing to adapt and build on as I use it. Also, depending on what I’m throwing into the mix I use my hand blender, or a different option like my Ninja to a level of smoothness and/or oil emulsification, that works well for whatever I’m including it with.

*Often, for pourability of salad dressing I will add water to desired thickness

You can see one of my favorite combos is:

Camelina oil, apple cider vinegar, mustard, sirracha, garlic, and tahini with salt and pepper-

I have been using this combo a lot lately for a variety of salads and have also added ginger and thyme to a recent concoction. I reused a mustard squeeze bottle and my bag from Lifeline to take a lovely picnic salad.

What combo do you use for your favorite dressing? What do you put it on? Where do you find your spring greens? Lettuce know below…

With Gratitude- especially to Shane McFarland for always helping to clean up the mess I make!

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