To know me is to know that I love honey mustard. I really, really love it. I’ll put it on almost anything (that’s only a slight exaggeration), and honey mustard and salad just go together perfectly to me. Sometimes I want to mix it up with different dressings, but often not.
Therefore, I eat a lot of salad with honey mustard. In the summer, the salads tend to be full of vegetables, especially tomatoes, but in winter, the produce that I most love is out of season. Tomatoes are mealy and hard, summer squash in winter just doesn’t make sense, and everything comes from the other side of the world. My salad standbys don’t work out when it’s cold.
I’ve recently been eating a winter-appropriate salad, though, and I’ve been having second thoughts for a while about my honey mustard love. Let’s face it–honey mustard is basically the unhealthiest dressing of them all. It’s loaded with sugar, and my particular favorite, Ken’s Steakhouse Honey Mustard, is really just flavored mayo. These are facts that I know and accept, but I feel a little guilty about them. “I should want to eat salad with better, healthier, even maybe sweetener-free dressings,” I tell myself. “I like balsamic and olive oil. It should be good enough!” Yet it never, ever is.
Our taste buds change every seven years, so I’m going to make this stop and will slowly readjust my dressing preferences. How? By making my it at home! Salad dressing is one of the simplest things to make, and most types use common ingredients. Typically, all you do is put everything in a mini-chopper/food processor or whisk it for a few seconds by hand. It’s a maximum of a minute of work (mainly finding the ingredients in the fridge and pantry). Plus, when you make it at home, you control what goes in it. You probably prefer to not have 6 grams of sugar and 11 grams of fat (I just checked the Ken’s bottle in my fridge) on your healthy salad. So I’ve come up with a satisfying replacement and a nice, summer-produce free salad.
My winter salad is quite simple, you really don’t need a recipe, and the dressing is a delicious, homemade, healthier replacement for honey mustard. It sort of is honey mustard, but not as saccharine or yellow as the store bought stuff. Leafy mixed greens tossed with the fresh, slightly sweet and tangy dressing and then topped with chopped walnuts and raisins works in almost any situation; it’s a solid lunch along with soup or bread and cheese, and it’s the perfect side for a creamy heap of macaroni and cheese. I like to eat it out of the same mixing bowl that I use for the dressing to make things even easier.
As mentioned, you really don’t need a recipe for this. I feel sort of silly posting about it, but I think it’s too good to not share. Don’t feel like you need to actually measure the ingredients; eyeballing them will bring great results too. And you’ll feel good about knowing what is actually in the dressing and maybe not think about the luscious tomatoes that are months away.
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 ½ teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
⅕ teaspoon honey
2 ½ cups mixed greens
1 palmful walnuts, roughly chopped
1 palmful raisins, yellow or purple
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together vinegar, oil, mustard and honey with the fork you’ll eat the salad with. Once emulsified, add the greens to the bowl and toss to evenly coat the leaves. Add the walnuts and raisins to the bowl, and dig in.