Salads. I have mixed feelings about them. Ever heard the saying “No good story ever started with someone eating a salad?” I kinda concur. Salads can be so…blah. As a health foodie, I’m all too familiar with craving vegetables (roasted zucchini cravings: they happen), but even so, it’s extremely rare that I crave a salad. I’ve never been one of those girls to go to a restaurant and order a salad without this, without that, with the dressing on the side. Um, no. First of all, could you be more cliché as a woman? Secondly, ew. I like health food, but that doesn’t mean I want to eat a plate of leaves (as my brother refers to most salads).
When it comes to salads, if I’m going to make it my entire meal, it’s gotta be loaded. But I can totally chow down on a simple side salad, too. Mixed greens and nothing else. BUT, and this is a big but, the dressing has to be awesomesauce. Like, it better be bursting with flavor. A fresh and delish dressing can turn any boring salad from a total nay to a total yay.
Enter: Sweet and Spicy Oregano Vinaigrette. This dressing is super tangy and flavorful. It made my brother (yes, the guy who calls salads plates of leaves) ask for more. He devoured a huge bowl of mixed greens because of this stuff, which is sorta a big deal around here. If you’re not a fan of spice, you can go easy on the cayenne pepper in this recipe, or even omit it completely. This dressing is also great because it’s ridiculously simple to whip up. I’m not a fan of salad dressing recipes that require me to sautée onions or blend anything. Isn’t one of the biggest reasons for making a salad to not have to cook anything or use a bunch of appliances?
1/4 cup raw apple cider vinegar (I love Bragg’s)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons stoneground mustard
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Cayenne pepper to your liking
A few fresh cracks of black pepper
In a medium bowl, combine all wet ingredients.
As you add the oregano, rub it between your fingertips to break it up and release the fragrant oils. Sprinkle in the cayenne pepper, and add a little bit of freshly cracked black pepper.
Whisk everything together, and let it sit for a while until you’re ready to use it. If you’re going to use the dressing with a meal, I recommend making the dressing first, and letting it sit while you make the remainder of the meal. Letting it rest will allow all the flavors to meld.