I love those fresh greens from my garden and greenhouse: spinach, lettuce, kale. I’m picking them now, a little late because I didn’t have my usual volunteers (I’m blaming the drought for that) and because my surgeries kept me from getting into the garden and greenhouse as early as I usually am in spring.
But now it’s time for fresh salad, and to go with those lovely, fresh spring greens, you need a special salad dressing. I have one.
Some years ago (2013 to be exact), I made some raspberry- and blackberry-infused vinegars from my own homemade apple scrap vinegar and the pulp from my jam making. I must say, those vinegars turned out beautifully, but I have not used them as much as I thought I would, so I still have some in the fridge, two years old but as delicious now as when I made them. So to honor my fresh spring greens, I dug up my recipe for berry vinaigrette salad dressing. Last time I wrote about this, I used my raspberry-infused vinegar, but this time, I used the blackberry-infused vinegar. And all I can say is: WOW! Here is the recipe, with links to instructions for making your own infused vinegars. I hope you will try this recipe, because I know you’ll enjoy it.
Raspberry or Blackberry Vinaigrette with Chia Seeds
(makes about ¾ cup)
2 tablespoons of minced onion (I like red onion in this)
¼ cup raspberry-infused vinegar or blackberry-infused vinegar
2 tablespoons of honey or agave syrup
½ teaspoon dry, powdered mustard or prepared Dijon mustard
½ cup olive oil
2 teaspoons chia seeds
Mix all ingredients in blender or food processor (if using food processor, you can mince the onions with it) or with a whisk in a bowl. The mustard will help to emulsify the dressing, but it will separate slightly, so it should be shaken well before using. If you like a sweeter dressing, add more honey or agave one teaspoon at a time until the sweetness level is right for your taste buds.
Now, if you don’t have any raspberry-infused vinegar, and don’t want to make it, for whatever reason, you can make this dressing without it. Simply substitute white wine vinegar or even rice vinegar for the raspberry-infused vinegar, and for the honey or agave, substitute raspberry jam or preserves. Again, taste your dressing to see if you’d like it sweeter. My version isn’t very sweet, as I don’t happen to care for sweet salad dressings.
Update: When I started looking for recipes for raspberry vinaigrette salad dressings, I noticed that they all contained poppy seeds. I have nothing against poppy seeds, but I don’t keep them in my kitchen. However, I do have chia seeds on hand and am working on ways to incorporate them into more dishes (oatmeal and puddings, for example). So I thought, why not? At the time I decided to put chia seeds into this vinaigrette recipe, I didn’t know that chia seeds release a substance that thickens liquids. This actually makes them perfect for a salad dressing, because they keep the dressing thick and emulsified. In other words, they give the mustard, the traditional emulsifier for dressing (emulsification, put simply, is the smooth mixture of fats and liquids) a helping hand. This salad dressing won’t separate on you the way most vinaigrettes do. And the chia seeds are high in Omega-3 fatty acids, good for your heart and other body parts, so it’s all to the good to incorporate them into as many dishes as you can.
Eat your spring greens with some delicious berry vinaigrette dressing with chia seeds. It’s all good for you!