Summer has arrived and we’re eating salad nearly every day.  We made salads even healthier a few years back when we gave up bottled salad dressing and switched to olive oil and vinegar, but I revisited this issue a few months ago when we were planning the food for our wedding.

We’ve grown to love olive oil and vinegar, but I felt pressured to offer more variety to our guests. Since I’m too lazy to make salad dressing under normal circumstances, this was certainly going to be the case the day of our wedding!

After reading labels on every brand at our large natural foods supermarket, I realized that there are still NO commercial brands that meet my approval. The worst of the bunch contain all sorts of sugars, artificial flavorings, and preservatives. But even the best of the bunch are based on soybean or canola oil – neither of which is fit for the human body. No amount of organic spices can compensate for how terrible these oils are! Even the one marketed as “Oil & Vinegar” contains these very low-quality oils. I just couldn’t bear the thought of having our loved ones drenching their lettuce in oils that will lead them to heart disease. So we had to make a choice. Offer another vegetable side dish or an alternative to these dressings.

We settled on a traditional salad dressing – olive oil and vinegar. We bought two different varieties of tasty olive oils – one from Italy, the other from Spain. Then had both balsamic and raw apple cider vinegar to pair with them (a squeeze of lemon is another good option). Our guests added a little salt and pepper if they needed ever more flavor. In the end I think this made our salad seem a little fancier than a value-size ranch dressing would have and we were able to share our value of real foods with the people closest to us.

So next time you stop for groceries skip the entire dressing section and buy yourself bottles of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Then enjoy salad with the freshest of ingredients.

P.S. The great thing about oil and vinegar is that most restaurants will also have these on hand if you request them, so don’t be shy about asking!

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