How Brian Anthony Makes a Healthy, Easy Salad 🥗 Dressing

Brian starred in "The Taste" for ABC, a hit reality competition where he was mentored by judges Nigella Lawson and the late Anthony Bourdain; the first of its kind for the network.


Brian Anthony, Nigella Lawson, The Taste, 2013, Season 1, January, ABC, Cooking, Reality Show, Cooking Competition
Brian gets busted for trying to sweet talk the judges (Nigella Lawson) while BEING judged in the dreaded "hatch"!

So as a friend of Brian’s, (Hi - I'm Rebecca and a contributor to Brian's blog and work with him on his upcoming projects for 2021) I’m very lucky to have gotten to enjoy his cooking up close. He’s the chef I never knew I needed so badly.


Brian Anthony and pal Rebecca (Writer) at Pump Restaurant!
Brian Anthony w/ pal Rebecca (Writer) @ Pump Restaurant!

He’s had a MAJOR impact on my salad dressing skill and success, and as a vegetarian I eat a lot of salads, so this is highly significant.


I used to be so bad at whipping up an easy salad dressing that my boyfriend actually declared he hated balsamic vinegar. I would literally just pour it on my salad. So I don’t blame him.


Today, it’s once again welcome in his salads because now I know how to use it in moderation and incorporate other key ingredients to make a healthy salad dressing that also tastes great.


So anyway, what Brian taught me MAY be super basic but to me, it was absolutely life-changing.


Here’s how to make an excellent salad dressing at home, the Brian Anthony way.


Let's break it down, shall we?? (All of these ingredients you most likely already have in your pantry - and a lot of the herbs are optional!)

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup good-quality balsamic vinegar

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard or Dijon

  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon dried or fresh basil (dried will be a more concentrated flavor)

  • 1/4 thyme (dried preferably)

  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1 teaspoon finely grated Parmesan cheese (optional)


1. The first secret to making a truly great homemade salad dressing: Mustard.


This can be Dijon or any other kind of mustard. (I honestly don’t care, all mustard is created amazing.)


Add your preferred mustard amount to olive oil, whether EVOO or just regular virgin olive oil, and vinegar (choose your favorite) -- then beat with a whisk to emulsify.


TAKE AWAY TIP 2:

If you are worried about calorie count and sugar content, you can just sub in Apple Cider Vinegar. It's cheap at #TraderJoes and it has a ton of health benefits such as...


HEALTH BENEFITS OF APPLE CIDER VINEGAR

  • is a natural laxative and it can improve digestion;

  • lowers blood sugar levels;

  • improves insulin sensitivity;

  • increases satiety and helps people to lose weight;

  • reduces belly fat;

  • lowers cholesterol;

  • lowers blood pressure and improves heart health


Brian Anthony, The Taste, ABC, 2013, Reality Show, Cooking Competition, Singer, Billboard Recording Artist
Brian hard at work and sweating bullets during "the cook" on The Taste reality cooking competition - ABC.

2. The other key trick Brian taught me is this: Add some herbs! 🌿


It had somehow never occurred to me to add herbs/spices of any kind to a salad dressing. What can I say, I’m a creature of habit. 🤷‍♀️


You can add fresh basil or dried or use the prepared kind from a squeeze tube, dried basil, dried oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, and even dried thyme or rosemary if you’re feeling adventurous. (I am usually not.)


*ProTip: The herbs you use in the dressing should match the herbs you are using in your main dish if the salad is going to be a first course. If you are making rosemary potatoes, use rosemary in the dressing. If you are cooking roast chicken with lemon and thyme as the main, you could use lemon zest and dried thyme in the dressing.


Whip the ingredients together with a fork or a whisk until you reach the stage where the dressing has fully emulsified and comes together like a smooth, glossy, homogeneous mixture and you almost see the dressing coating the back of your spoon. A sure fire and FAST way to achieve emulsification that is fool-proof would be to add the ingredients to a Mason jar with a lid, then shake up the jar vigorously!


And that’s that. Life = changed. Forever.


Brian Anthony, The Taste, Season 1, January 2013, Reality Show, Cooking Competition, Nigella Lawson, Anthony Bourdain
Brian Anthony feeling the heat while interviewing during The Taste, ABC - reality cooking competition.

Stay tuned for an upcoming post in which we distill the ingredients for a good salad -- because while a good salad dressing is imperative, an excellent salad to put it on is even more important.


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