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Three salad dressings with a side of honesty

Salads. The healthy-and-mighty of all meals. The snooty accompaniment to a glass of rosé. The veritable rainbow on your plate.
In Fran Lebowitz’s words, a salad is not a meal – it is a style.
Well, as long as ‘style’ includes a fair amount of mud under one’s fingernails – I couldn’t agree more with Fran.

Sure, it’s fashionable to eat a salad – but there’s a certain panache to going down on all fours in wet mud, rummaging through fresh lettuce pods every morning and wondering what you’re going to dress them in. While it’s far from the fashion statement that salad has come to symbolise, growing your own food definitely is a style of its own.





There are many categories of salad snobs – the ingredient minimalist, the chop-it-right evangelists and the brigade of dressing-goes-first, but the only consensus between the salad factions is that you don’t actually need packaged dressing.

A homemade vinaigrette made from basic ingredients lives just as happily on your refrigerator door, not to mention it’s a whole lot cheaper than those bottled all-natural goo that they pass off as dressing.

Basic Vinaigrette
It’s as simple as ‘one part vinegar to three parts oil’.
You can use regular bottled vinegar or balsamic or apple cider with extra virgin olive oil or sesame or canola oil.
Dissolve a bit of Dijon mustard and salt in the vinegar, mixing with a whisk, then add the oil slowly until you have an emulsion. You can bottle this for up to a week.
Before adding it to your greens, whisk in one clove of garlic and some roasted sesame.

TBH, contradictory to popular belief that oil and water don’t mix – the salad dressing requires you to do just that – whisk two otherwise incompatible liquids to a point where they agree to hang out together. The technical term for this anomaly is as mentioned above, an “emulsion”.


Honey, mustard and curd: Because we’d be remiss without some dahi on our plates
2 tbsp yogurt
1-1/2 tsp honey
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp mustard
Mix it up with a clove of garlic, roasted sesame or sunflower seeds.
TBH, it tastes far more complex than what it actually is.

Thai Peanut Butter Dressing
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tbsp (unsweetened) peanut butter – if you happen to have a sweet one, just skip the honey)
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame/olive oil
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp cold water
1 tsp fish sauce
¼ tsp crushed peppers (opt)

Pairs well with: Lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes and boiled eggs. You can also throw in some bean sprouts and spring onions.

The 'everything-goes' salad bowl
Whatever veg that’s still fresh: Lettuce, cucumbers, spring onions, bean sprouts, tomatoes
A nut: Roasted Sesame seeds / sunflower or watermelon seeds / sliced almonds / chopped walnuts / roughly crushed peanut
A fruit: Apple / kiwi / grapes / oranges / pretty much any fruit that’s a bit tart.
Something fun: boiled, poached or sunny-side-up eggs / bacons / sausages / some cheese 



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