Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Honey-Chipotle Vinaigrette

One of my favorite things to make and eat is salad. I could eat salad all day, every day if I could, with the exception of for breakfast. I have not really found a good breakfast salad as of yet, but stay tuned! To me, the hallmark of a great salad is a really fantastic dressing. Bottled dressings, while usually sounding great based on the description on their labels, often are disappointing when it comes to flavor. Making your own dressing is both simple and quick, not to mention it will truly make your salads shine. I love whipping up unique, tasty dressings, tossing them with fresh salad fixings, serving it to even the biggest salad skeptic and then sitting back and watching them convert to my side of the salad debate. Salad is awesome. I converted Paul. He never once ate salad during our entire time in college - and we had a pretty awesome salad bar in our cafeteria. Now, he actually looks forward to my salads. The difference is in the dressing.

Speaking of fantastic dressings, this Honey-Chipotle vinaigrette is no exception. I whipped this up on a whim, inspired by my love of pairing chipotle peppers with sweet fruits and vegetables. I was compiling a make-your-own taco salad bar for dinner, including seasoned taco meat, tomatoes, corn, black beans, diced avocado, crushed tortilla chips, cheese, salsa, and sour cream. I decided to make this vinaigrette last minute because I did not really want to load my salad down with sour cream and cheese. This proved to be one of the best decisions I have made in a while since this vinaigrette was the perfect compliment to the salad. Paul could not stop complimenting me as he ate his salad, his greatest compliment being: "You really should start bottling your dressings. This is awesome!"

So despite the horrific lighting, I decided to snap a couple photos and share the recipe here! Yes, I am using tiling samples to prop up my plates. We are currently selecting tile to use for our kitchen backsplash and I just need to pull the trigger already and start installing it. My goal is to have it finished by this weekend and get us one step closer to finishing our kitchen remodel. We are so close! It's just finishing up with some of the details now that all the big stuff is done.

But back to the dressing. This can be customized to your taste. If you want it a little sweeter, add more honey. If you want more of a kick, add more adobo sauce or puree an entire pepper. This paired great with a full loaded taco salad but also was snappy enough to dress up a plate of simple greens.

Honey-Chipotle Vinaigrette

3 T red wine vinegar
3-4 T honey
1 teaspoon salt (add more or less to taste)
1 tablespoon adobo sauce (from a can of chipotle peppers)
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon oregano
14 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup light olive oil or vegetable oil (if using olive oil, make sure it is very neutral in flavor)

Add the vinegar, honey, salt, water, adobo sauce, cumin, garlic powder, oregano, and pepper to a blender. Turn the motor on to blend. With the motor still running, drizzle in the oil until the salad dressing comes together and emulsifies.

Serve immediately or store covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

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