If you use a screw top jar, you can just add your ingredients and shake. Easy. If you want to use fancy ingredients like herbs you can use a blender or small food processor to grind it all up. Otherwise it’s elbow grease and a mortar and pestle (or just a knife and a chopping board!). Chopped or crushed herbs make a great addition, though they will go a bit manky so you'll have to eat it a bit faster. No hardship there.
Here are some ideas for each of the elements you need…
Acidity: citrus juice, apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, rice wine vinegar, red wine vinegar
Salty: soy sauce, salt
Oil/emulsifier: sunflower oil or any other kind of vegetable oil, sesame oil (just a dash for flavour), mayonnaise (or our vegan mayo recipe here) if you want a creamy dressing.
Most chefs will suggest a 3 or 4 parts oil to 1 part vinegar ratio. We find this a little too greasy and usually go closer to 1 to 1. It’s up to your taste, but especially if you’re adding other flavours and seasonings you might find you don’t need much oil.
Here’s an example of an easy dressing…
Fill a clean, screw top jar one third full with the oil of your choice. Add salt, pepper and other spice flavours that you like. We quite often add French mustard and grated garlic but if you were going for an Asian theme you might add sesame oil and ginger. Next add your sweetness – we use about a tablespoon home-made mulberry jam if we’ve got some. Then slowly top the jar up with an acid of your choice. Try a mix of lemon juice and apple cider vinegar. Keep shaking your jar and tasting it till you get the ratio of oil to acid just right. This will keep in the fridge for quite a few days. We usually have two jars of different dressing on the go at once.
If you’re going for a creamy style dressing for a ceasar salad or potato salad, try a few tablespoons of our vegan mayo blended with a few leaves of rocket, spinach or some leafy herbs like parsley, basil or coriander. You’ll have yourself a green, creamy dressing that’s delicious!
So, start experimenting - you can always add a little more of this or that, or start again if it doesn't work!