A little over a year ago I swore off bottled salad dressings. I grew up on Kraft dressing – sticky white ranch, sweet and oily dark-red Catalina, and (my favorite) bright orange French. I’d stopped using those several years before when the tangy orange dressing stopped tasting pleasant to me and just tasted like chemicals. I had been searching for new flavors to love, and had settled pretty strongly on Annie’s Goddess dressing, but then I got two bottles in a row that wouldn’t emulsify properly and were inedibly greasy. I thought to myself, why am I buying this stuff at all? It’s not like making salad dressing is hard.
Rather to my own surprise, I have stuck with this decision (with the exception that I keep a bottle of Hidden Valley Ranch around for dipping pizza crust and mixing with salsa for taco salads). I bought a couple of small, attractive, airtight glass jars to keep my homemade dressings in – and when I’m out, it’s a matter of just a few minutes to make some more.
One of my long-time favorites is this mayonnaise-based honey-mustard dressing. It’s satisfying on so many levels: tangy, spicy, and creamy, but it pours nicely. It goes together in no time and keeps for weeks. I lost the original recipe years ago and just make it by feel, but I took the time to measure last time I made it, so I can share it with you.
This is a very adaptable recipe. Use rice vinegar to make it less tangy, or reduce the apple-cider vinegar to make it thicker. Add more garlic, or remove it altogether. The type of mustard makes a big difference in the flavor. I adore Mutchler’s Dakota Gold, a very hot artisan mustard, but this dressing is great with Dijon or spicy brown mustards as well. Use your favorite!
Creamy Honey Mustard Salad Dressing
Makes enough for 4 to 6 salads. Time: 5 minutes.
1 small clove garlic
1/3 cup best-quality mayonnaise (I use Hellman’s or Best Foods)
1 to 2 tablespoons mustard
1 tablespoon honey
1.5 tablespoons apple-cider vinegar
Place all ingredients in mini food processor and buzz until smooth. Or press garlic into a medium bowl, add all other ingredients, and whisk until smooth. Taste and adjust to your liking. Serve.
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