Making your own gluten free salad dressing may just be the easiest thing you can do. And it makes so much sense. Why keep a half dozen bottles of manufactured dressings in your fridge, when a few items from your pantry will make you a tasty sauce that you know has quality ingredients.
From there, you’re only as limited as your imagination.
Get a bottle or jar that will hold about 1 ½ cups (350ml) of dressing
½ c (120ml) white wine vinegar or fresh squeezed lemon juice or ½ and ½
1 c (230 ml) olive oil
1 tsp (5 ml) dijon mustard
1 tbsp (15 ml) honey
Salt and pepper to taste
Put all the ingredients in a bottle or jar. Shake vigorously until it emulsifies. Taste to make sure the seasoning and texture is right and adjust if necessary. If it’s too oily add a little more acid. If it makes you pucker a little too much then it needs a little more oil. Shake again and enjoy. Your gluten free salad dressing will keep in the fridge. The olive oil will solidify a bit but that’s okay. Just take it out a few minutes before you’re going to use it.
French dressing: same as above but eliminate the Dijon and add about ¼ cup (60 ml) of ketchup.
Lemon dill dressing: Use ½ c (120ml) lemon juice, no vinegar. Add ½ tsp (2-3ml) dry dill weed. You can keep the honey and mustard or leave it out.
Lime Vinaigrette: Substitute the lemon juice above with fresh squeezed lime juice. Very nice with a mixed greed salad including some spinach for crunch and avacado for extra healthy fat and nutrition. Top with toasted pine nuts or slivered almonds.
Creamy dressings are mayonnaise based. Here’s one that is nice on broccoli salad or coleslaw:
1 c (230 ml) mayonnaise
½ c (120 ml) white sugar (you can substitute honey if you’d like to avoid the sugar)
2 – 3 tbsp (30-45 ml) white vinegar
Whisk the mayonnaise and sugar together. Whisk in 2 tbsp vinegar. If it’s too thick add a little more vinegar. It should be just thin enough to run off the spoon but thick enough to stick to the vegetables.
Variation: add ¼ c (60 ml) of ketchup for creamy French dressing
So you want to buy a couple of bottles to keep on hand. Okay, I’ll forgive you. But there is just so much to choose from, how do you know you're making a healthy choice? Here are a few things to keep in mind:
We all have our favourite brands, so if you're not sure about yours, check their website or email them.
I'm pretty confident with Kraft's labelling practices. Not all their choices are gluten free but if you check the label you should be fine.
I'm also a Rene's fan. They have an allergy guide, and their Caesar is gluten free.
You would think a salad is a pretty safe thing to order in a restaurant, but that’s not always the case. Be sure to let your server know your needs. More and more people in the restaurant business are becoming familiar with gluten and can help you choose items that are gluten free. Sometimes they’ll make up a dressing for you or alter the salad a bit to take out the offending ingredient. The key is, don't assume that just omitting the croutons will make your salad gluten free. Ask about the dressing and any other garnishes like candied nuts, grains, crispy toppings.
Just ask, don’t be shy.