Light Balsamic Salad Dressing

The first day of Spring has arrived and with it comes the opening of the Vancouver Farmer’s Market on March 21.  Our downtown market is Southwest Washington’s #1 visitor attraction, home to over 250 vendors, and the second largest in the State of Washington.  It is always fun to go out and find some local offerings for your dinner, and everything just tastes better when you have hunted and gathered from the market stalls and carried it home in a Farmer’s Market  bag.  I am not sure what will be available this early, but I am guessing there will be some spring greens for salad.

This is a very versatile salad dressing recipe from Today Show nutritionist Joy Bauer.  It only takes a few minutes to make and will keep several weeks in the refrigerator.  It is low calorie, (59 calories in 2 tablespoons), and unlike the bottles you can buy at the store, has ingredients that you can pronounce.  Put everything in a jar, close the lid tightly, and shake.  You can store it in the same jar and just shake it again before you use it the next time.


1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon garlic powder

I have been making this for several years now, and it is my go-to dressing of choice.  I like to leave the honey out, because the balsamic vinegar is sweet enough.  You can toss a big bowl of salad with 4 tablespoons of dressing. Once you have the basic mixture, you can dress it up by adding chopped fresh herbs or other seasonings, like Mrs. Dash, or other mixed dry seasoning blends.  Be creative and add in or substitute other ingredients to suit you mood, or your meal.

Sometimes I will make an entire batch, taking the basic recipe and swapping out some of the ingredients.  I also like to put a small amount of the basic dressing in a bowl and enhance it by stirring other things in.

some other variations: 

– white balsamic instead of red
– rice vinegar
– cider vinegar
– miso paste
– sesame oil, soy sauce
– lemon or lime juice
– stone ground, or other mustard
– pureed, or smashed berries or jam
– mashed avocado
– finely diced pickled vegetables or peppers 


You will like this so much and find it so fast, easy, and healthy that you will wonder how you ever lived without it.  Maybe you can find a fun vinegar or oil at the Farmer’s Market?  There is a mustard I have bought there that is made with kombucha, and it was really good when I mixed in a small amount.   Whatever you do, take a break from your spring cleaning, and get out and do something fun with your family or a friend.   Enjoy!

Donna Ferguson

Donna Ferguson

I love to cook, garden, and write about all the things in Vancouver and the Northwest that make life so great.

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