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5 Creamy Dressings to Zhush Up a Simple Vegetable Salad

5 Creamy Dressings to Zhush Up a Simple Vegetable Salad
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Even if a fresh vegetable salad is the de facto poster food for healthy living, it’s rarely the most exciting thing on the table. Moreover, whenever it makes an appearance, most Pinoys gravitate towards a go-to dressing: Thousand Island. At the minimum, you can make Filipino-style Thousand Island dressing with mayonnaise and ketchup. Some add onions, pickled relish, or chopped eggs for texture and hot sauce for spice.

As delicious and versatile as Thousand Island can be, there are other creamy dressings to make homemade salads more crave-worthy. Here you’ll find five of the easiest ones to give a shot. They have all the qualities that Pinoys generally look for in good sauces: bold yet balanced flavors, deep umami, and smooth, satisfying textures.

Creamy Dressings for Your Vegetable Salad

Spicy dashi

While vegetable salads with mayonnaise are nothing new, giving them a Japanese flair will elevate those familiar flavors. To make your spicy dashi dressing, mix Lady’s Choice Real Mayonnaise with sriracha, instant dashi, sesame oil, rice vinegar, salt, and pepper. You can work with a 1:2 ratio of sriracha to mayo and adjust according to your desired spice levels. Whatever you do, don’t skip the dashi— the key to that unmistakable umami.

Dairy-free ranch

Much like Thousand Island dressing, ranch is an American invention loved everywhere in the world. Its core components are buttermilk, mayonnaise, garlic, onions, herbs, and lots of spices. But to make a dairy-free version, whisk together oil, egg, white wine vinegar, and the same set of flavorings as the original. This medley of ingredients makes for a zingy sauce that pairs well with fresh veggies.

Modern Caesar

Traditional Caesar dressing uses an emulsion of olive oil and eggs to achieve its iconic creaminess, but mayonnaise works in a pinch. Opting for mayo also lessens the risk of health issues from consuming raw eggs. Caesar dressing is similar to ranch in tanginess but is much more garlicky. It's also deeply savory, thanks to the addition of anchovies. If that gives you pause, don’t worry — the garlic and lemon juice offset the fishy flavor.

Creamy chickpea

Adding a few squeezes of lemon juice and extra olive oil turns silky-smooth hummus into an ultra-rich yet healthy dressing. While you can get ready-made hummus from delis and Mediterranean joints, it's also easy to make from scratch. You just need canned chickpeas, tahini, and garlic for the base. Add filtered water to thin your hummus out to be more dressing-like. Since chickpeas are a complete, plant-based protein, this one will instantly make your salad heartier and more filling.

Peanut sauce

This sauce originates from Indonesia and is a fixture in many other Asian cuisines, like Thai and Singaporean food. In the Philippines, peanut sauce contains peanut butter, brown sugar, soy sauce, minced garlic, and crushed peanuts. It is commonly eaten with lumpiang sariwa but works well with any simple salad. Get something a little closer to the Indonesian version by adding ginger, lemon or lime juice, and chili flakes to the base.

The Simplest Vegetable Salad Ingredients 

You can make a salad out of anything you have available. By definition, salads are a mix of dressed veggies with add-ons like meat, nuts, and fruits to make them more substantial. You don’t have to be constrained to raw vegetables, either — you can use roasted, stir-fried, sun-dried, and even pickled veggies in your salad. The possibilities are endless. But if you’re looking for an uncomplicated place to start, stock up on these three: lettuce, tomatoes, and onions.

Romaine lettuce is one of the most used greens, providing a crisp, refreshing base for building salads. Tomatoes are vibrant and juicy and come in various cultivars, from sweet cherry to heirloom. Lastly, onions are incredibly versatile: have them raw, caramelized, or fried — they always taste different depending on how you prep them. The best part is lettuce, tomatoes, and onions all work in almost any vegetable salad recipe, so they’re great, reliable basics to have in your kitchen.

Ready to love homemade vegetable salads even more? Take your pick from any of these creamy dressings, whip up a good batch, toss your veggies in it, and find yourself even more excited about your salad than the mains.

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