Create Salad Dressing with Olive Oil

radish watercolor painting
Radish, Kale, Parsely in watercolor by Leora Wenger, 2011

It is customary to eat foods with oil on Chanukah. However, one is not obliged to eat fried foods on Chanukah. Yes, yes, I will be serving latkes (potato pancakes) as well as sufganiyot (doughnuts, usually jelly doughnuts but we leave out the jelly). For this post, however, we will be creating salad dressing with olive oil. That way, one can fulfill the custom of eating foods with oil in a healthy manner (yes, first cold pressed olive oil, uncooked, is actually good for you). And why do we eat foods with oil on Chanukah? Because of the little vial of oil found in the Temple in the days of the Maccabees – the vial was only supposed to light the menorah for one day, but miraculously, it lasted for a whole eight days (thus, eight days of Chanukah).

So here are some salad dressing ideas:

  • Olive oil, raw apple cider vinegar, sea salt, turmeric, pepper and garlic powder
  • Olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper
  • Ilana-Davita’s Sweet and Tangy Dressing (balsamic vinegar, olive oil, sweet chili sauce, salt and pepper)
  • Rachel: crushed garlic, dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, dried oregano (if your kids don’t mind “green stuff”) and olive oil
  • Rachel: lemon juice, cumin, salt and pepper, and olive oil
  • Olive oil, honey, mustard, a little orange juice and a little vinegar, salt and pepper.
  • Ilana-Davita: balsamic vinegar, olive oil, soya sauce, lime juice, salt and pepper
  • Sandy: Cilantro or basil in the blender with vinegar and olive oil.

Get the idea? How do you dress your salad? If you comment and it fits the olive oil category, I’ll add it to the list.

Simple Summer Salads

salad bowl watercolor
Salad Bowl watercolor on paper, June 2011 by Leora Wenger

Thanks to all who participated in the simple summer salad hunt. The treasures are many!

Vegetable Salads

Whole Grain Salads

Ingredients that might work in a salad

  • Croutons, homemade croutons
  • Raisins, craisins
  • Steamed cauliflower or brussel sprouts: both taste good cold or room-temperature the next day.
  • Grated carrots
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Fresh herbs: parsley, basil, dill, oregano
  • Lettuce: romaine, green leafy, red leafy
  • Spinach leaves
  • Endives, raddichio
  • Purslane

Carrot Salads

Beet Salads

  • Beets: If you are in the kitchen anyway, boil some fresh beets. They take 1.5 hours to cook (quicker with a pressure cooker), but most of your work time is spent cutting the ends of the beets off before cooking and peeling after cooking (10 minutes). You can mix them with cucumbers, olive oil and dill right before serving.
  • Cooking Manager: Marinated Beet Salad with Ginger and Garlic

Potato Salads

Light Meal Salads

Bean Salads


Fermented Salads

  • Sauerkraut
  • Pickles – you can pickle any vegetable: cauliflower, parsnips, turnips, beets, garlic, radish or cucumbers

Salads with Cheese

  • Cooking Manager: Greek Salad with Feta Cheese and Olives
  • Baroness Tapuzina: Baby Lettuce Salad with Pears, Blue Cheese and Candied Walnuts
  • Robin’s Watermelon Salad:

    Prep Time: 15 minutes / Total Time: 15 minutes
    • 1/2 cup lemon juice
    • 1 tsp. tequila, optional (I left this out)
    • 2 Tbsp. honey
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • dash white pepper
    • 1/8 tsp. tabasco sauce
    • 1 medium-sized watermelon, cut into cubes
    • 1 cup 5% Bulgarian cheese, cubed (or feta or Roquefort)
    Mix first 6 ingredients in small bowl and stir to dissolve honey. Taste for seasoning, cover, and chill for 1-2 hours to blend flavors.
    To serve, mix watermelon and cheese. Pour sauce over and mix well.

Notes from friends:

“For an Asian slaw…include pickled ginger & mint”

“Orzo salad -orzo, diced cucumber, sliced scallions, diced oil-cured olives, chopped fresh mint, olive oil and lemon juice.”

Summer Salad Watercolor

salad bowl watercolor
Salad Bowl watercolor on paper, June 2011 by Leora Wenger

Thanks to everyone who inspired me to paint by responding to my Simple Summer Salad Hunt. Results of the hunt (and feel free to add more salad ideas to this post) will be posted next week. A funny anecdote on this painting: my husband was trying to figure out if we have bowl that looks like this blue starred bowl. I told him no, I just made it up. Poetic/artistic license.

What kinds of ingredients make a great salad?

Simple Summer Salad Hunt

I am looking for links to wonderful summer salads or spreads (vegan or pareve, please) – I plan to do a post next week with a list of these salads. Here are two examples to wet your appetite:

Thank you!

No Cook Pea Salad

red onion
Red onion at Highland Park Farmer's Market

I love the idea of a side dish that requires no cooking. You might want to make this in the summer, but as winter approaches, fresh vegetables may not be as abundant. This pea salad can be accompanied with squash or rice.


  • 8 oz. frozen peas
  • 1 clove garlic
  • first cold-pressed olive oil – enough to coat the salad
  • 1 half red onion, chopped (or use a sweet vidalia onion)
  • sea salt, to taste
  • 1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley or cilantro
  • optional: pepper, allspice or cumin
  • optional: shredded carrots – 1 large carrot or a handful of baby carrots

Put the frozen peas in a container. Crush the garlic clove, and add it to the top. Put in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve it (the peas will need several hours to defrost). When you are about to eat, coat with olive oil. Add the chopped onion, herbs, salt, optional shredded carrots and any spices you desire, such as cumin or allspice. Stir and serve.

Peas with Potato Salad

peas with potatoes salad - red onion, sage, no mayonnaise
Look, Ma, no mayonnaise!

I realized after years of making potato salad that what I really like is when the potatoes and hard boiled eggs make the salad creamy, but the peas and red onion are what I love to eat. I came to this conclusion one weekend when I only had potatoes left in my salad (because I had picked out and eaten all the peas), and all I needed to do was add more peas, another hard boiled egg and some olive oil and I had more of the salad I had made on Friday.


6 oz. frozen peas (or cut string beans or both)
3 yellow potatoes (or any potato that becomes creamy when cooked)
1 tsp. sea salt
olive oil to coat the potatoes
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar (or use one fresh lemon, squeezed)
1/2 chopped red onion (or use a sweet vidalia onion or scallions)
1/4 cup cut fresh sage or fresh dill
pepper to taste
2 hard boiled-eggs

How to make the potato pea salad

Take the frozen peas out of the freezer and put in a bowl. Boil the potatoes in water for about 40 minutes. After 30 minutes, add the eggs to the top so they can cook along with the potatoes. When the potatoes are tender (or starting to crack), cut them up and put them in the bowl with the peas. Sprinkle olive oil to coat. Put the hard boiled eggs aside in cold water. Add sea salt and pepper to taste. Add chopped onions and mix. Peel and chop the eggs into pieces. Add apple cider vinegar, chopped eggs and fresh herbs to the salad. Mix and serve. You can double the size of the recipe, if you like.

As we have a three day holiday of Rosh Hashana coming up this week, this is an easy recipe to make the day before the holidays or even on the holiday, if you plan to cook. You just need to make sure you have the ingredients.

Japanese Noodle Vegetable Salad with Peanut Sauce

udon noodles broccoli carrot scallions

Adapted from Japanese Foods that Heal: Using Traditional Ingredients to Promote Health, Longevity, and Well-Being by John and Jan Belleme

Ingredients for the Salad

12 oz. udon or soba noodles (recipes called for soba and I used udon, in the hopes my kids would like this – no luck, but I loved it)
2 cups of small broccoli florets
1 cup of sliced cabbage (recipe said use napa cabbage; I used savoy cabbage)
1 large carrot, cut into thin matchsticks
3 green onions (scallions), thinly sliced
optional: 1 kirby cucumber, peeled and sliced (I skipped this)

Spicy Peanut Sauce

1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup warm water
2 tablespoons peanut oil (I used olive oil and sesame oil instead)
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
3 Tbsp. shoyu (Japanese soy sauce)
1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. rice vinegar (I skipped this)
1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. fresh lime juice (I used fresh lemon juice)
1 Tbsp. mirin (Japanese rice wine – delicious condiment, if you can get some)
1/2 tsp. dried red pepper flakes (I used hot pepper sauce instead)

How to Make the Noodle Vegetable Salad

Cook the noodles in a large pot of boiling water. Stir to prevent sticking. Cook until tender but firm. Drain. Rinse with cold water. Set aside in large bowl.

Steam the broccoli until bright green and tender-crisp. Remove, then steam the cabbage and carrot sticks. Add to noodles. Add the scallions and cucumber to noodles as well.

Mix all the peanut sauce ingredients in the food processor. Puree until smooth. Add to the noodles and toss gently. Serve.

Crunchy Quinoa Salad

Quinoa Salad with Carrots, Kale and Almonds
Quinoa Salad with Carrots, Kale and Almonds
I got this recipe for crunchy quinoa salad from Klara. In my own style, I changed it a bit. You can do the same when you try it.


  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1.5 cups water (I used leftover broccoli broth)
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • handful of shredded kale
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds
  • 2 chopped scallions or 1 small sweet onion (I used a chopped sweet onion)
  • 1/4 cup mekabu
    (tiny wakame – use whatever seaweed you have available – Klara’s recipe used arame; you probably need to soak it first)

Dressing, optional:

  • A few tsps. tamari
  • A few tsps. mirin (rice wine – Eden makes one with an O-K – a specialty product that is DE-licious)
  • 1/4 tahini (I didn’t use – I don’t like tahini, but maybe you do)

Soak the nuts earlier in the day. Rinse the quinoa, cook it in water or broth, add a bit of salt. Shred the carrots and put them on top of the almost cooked quinoa. Ground up the nuts. Put shredded kale and all other ingredients on top and cook a bit more until the kale is soft.

May be served served warm or at room temperature. Enjoy your quinoa salad!

Pressed Salad

Pressed Salad: cucumbers, radishes, kale, lettuce
Cucumbers, radishes, kale, lettuce waiting to be pressed

Why press a salad? According to macrobiotics, a pressed salad makes the vegetables easier to digest. It is a way of preparing the vegetables without any cooking.

At first I thought I would need to buy a salad presser to press a salad, but then after an email from Klara convincing me to try putting a heavy bowl on top of the salad I came up with this homemade version of pressing:

My method of pressing: plate, vegetables, bowl and heavy jug of water on top
My method of pressing: plate, vegetables, bowl and heavy jug of water on top

How to Press a Salad

Gather up some vegetables. Here are a few suggestions:

  • kale, chopped or torn into pieces
  • cucumber, sliced (my understanding is peel if it is not organic, you can leave peel on if organic)
  • radishes, sliced (they will be less sharp after pressing)
  • lettuce, torn in pieces
  • sweet onion, chopped
  • parsley, basil or another fresh herb

Put your vegetables on a plate. Sprinkle with sea salt (or whatever salt you have). You can put on some apple cider or rice vinegar, too, according to some recipes (I just use salt). Put whatever heavy objects you need on top of the vegetables for an hour or two or three. The vegetables should soften and release some water, too. You can rinse off the salt and drain any excess water.

Lemon juice might be tasty as an addition, too. Enjoy.

The definition of a pressed salad, from Changing Seasons Macrobiotic Cookbook, by Aveline Kushi and Wendy Esko:

“Very thinly sliced or shredded fresh vegetables, combined with a pickling agent such as sea salt, umeboshi, grain vinegar, or shoyu, and placed in a special pickle press. In the pickling process, many of the enzymes and vitamins are retained while the vegetables become easier to digest.”