Ladies and gentlemen, I have met my salad dressing match.
It’s not cultured or exotic or terribly exciting, and it’s not even photogenic (hence the atmospheric picture of bowls), but it is DELICIOUS, and I cannot urge you enough to make it. Now. Seriously. I can only describe it as perfectly satisfying and complex–the umami flavour is off the charts (hence satisfaction) and the salt-factor, for those who like things a bit salty, is well-balanced.
The other half of this salad situation is the salad itself, which I will describe here a little and you can go in whatever direction you like. Just know that I think this salad needs three categories of ingredients: grains, vegetables and seeds. Which is sounding pretty doable, right?
Your base layer should be a warm mix of cooked grains, like quinoa, spelt berries, or a rice blend, or a mix of some of these, plus lentils if you want to add protein. I use a quinoa/sprouted brown rice blend that I make in my rice cooker for the week and use for this salad every day. I heat this layer if it’s cold from the fridge because that’s how I first tasted it, but if you don’t mind cold grains, do your thing.
Secondly, your veg layer. I use: shredded kale and lettuce (romaine), shredded carrots and beets, sometimes diced avocado and sometimes diced cucumber. Sometimes also sliced green onion.
Lastly, the seeds–I favour sunflower here. (You could also go nuts; cashews are great, or even peanuts, though they will more heavily influence the flavour of the salad.) But pepitas might work well too; I’ll get back to you on that.
–You can also add cubed tofu, or if you’re so inclined, cooked chicken or other meat. Or chickpeas. Mmmm.
And once you’ve got your bowl layered, it’s time for the magic part.
So here it is–the recipe that changed my salad days forever. It’s a huge batch, but we had no problem finishing it within a week, and it keeps in the fridge for quite a while. If you’re not sure you’ll love it, make half. Some people don’t use as much oil as the recipe calls for, but I’d advise trying it this way first. And of course, add more of anything to taste as you go.
Adapted (a little) from Whitewater Cooks Glory Bowl Dressing
1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1-2 tablespoons water (optional)
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups neutral oil, like grapeseed
2 tablespoons tahini paste
Blend all ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth, reserving the tablespoons of water until you’ve tasted the dressing to see if it’s needed–it just thins it a little and softens the flavour. Pour a few glugs over your salad and mix it all up. Refrigerate leftovers in a jar.