It's spring, which means fresh salad season is gearing up! Whether you're hitting a local farmers market in southeast Michigan or growing your own veggies garden style, a salad's the perfect way to bring it all together. But if you're taking the trouble, why not go the distance and skip the store-bought salad dressings for a homemade version? Metro Parent turned to Traci Bahlman, director of catering sales for Holiday Market in Royal Oak.
"With anything, if kids are involved in the process, they're going to be a lot more likely to eat it," she says. "They're invested in that dressing, and they're not going to turn their nose up to it!"
Dressings only take a handful of ingredients. For your young chef to help whisk them together, try an oversized, stainless steel "moon bowl," which is shallow and open. And, to avoid overload, Balhman suggests drizzling the dressing onto the salad before serving and tossing with tongs.
"You'll be surprised how far it goes." Or try a Weight Watchers trick: Put a little bowl of dressing by each plate. Dunk your fork in, then stab the greens and bite.
Ready to get dressy? Try these two Holiday Market recipes. (When they were young, Bahlman's daughters helped make the vinaigrette every evening!)
Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette
- 3 Tbsp. dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup raspberry balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup salad oil
- 1/2 cup virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbsp. fresh tarragon (or 1 tsp. dried tarragon, rubbed)
- 1/4 tsp. white pepper
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- Mix all ingredients – except the salad oil and olive oil.
- Using a whisk, drizzle in olive oil, whisking until it emulsifies. Repeat this process drizzling in salad oil. Continue whisking until there is no separation of oil and vinegar.
- Adjust dijon for emulsification and adjust salt and pepper to taste.
- Enjoy on salads – especially with mixed greens, blue cheese, dried cherries and roasted nuts.
Lemon Yogurt Dressing
- 1 quart low-fat plain yogurt
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp. minced shallot
- 2 Tbsp. minced chives
- 2 Tbsp. honey
- 2 Tbsp. salad oil
- Salt to taste
- Nutmeg to taste
- White pepper to taste
- Cayenne pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients except salad oil; then drizzle oil in slowly while whisking dressing to incorporate. Season to taste. Yields one quart.