The ratio for a vinaigrette is typically 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar or lemon juice, etc..
Make a quick avocado dressing by combining half an avocado with a cup of vinaigrette in a blender or food processor. Process until smooth.
When substituting yogurt for sour cream in a dressing, use a little less vinegar, as the yogurt is naturally acidic.
Fruit juices such as pineapple, orange or mango can be used as salad dressing by adding a little vegetable oil, a dash of nutmeg and honey if desired. Delicious on fruit seafood, or mixed greens.
Cook pasta for salads very al dente. This will allow the pasta to absorb some of the dressing and not become mushy.
To unmold a Jell-O salad, place the bottom of the mold into hot water; hold for about 5 seconds. With fingers, lightly press edges of Jell-O to help it begin to separate from the mold. Put a large serving plate over the top of the mold. Hold plate in place and invert the mold then lift to release Jell-O salad onto the plate.
Hot pasta can be combined with vinaigrette, but cool at least to room temperature before adding herbs and vegetables to keep them from wilting.
New potatoes are best for potato salad, but if they aren't available, use boiling potatoes.
Chill the serving plates to keep your salad crisp longer.
Potatoes will absorb more dressing if you dress them hot then refrigerate.
To thoroughly dry macaroni for salad, pour drained pasta into a large paper towel-lined pan; roll the macaroni around a bit to get all of the liquid out.
When making potato salad, marinate still-warm potatoes in a little vinegar and oil; this will add flavor to the finished salad. Or, dress the potatoes while still quite warm, then refrigerate to cool quickly.
To prepare iceberg lettuce, remove outer leaves then dislodge the core by slamming it down on a hard surface. Remove core by twisting it out then run cold water into core area to flush out excess dirt. Turn lettuce over, shake out excess water, and separate leaves.
If making pasta salad, cook until very al dente; the pasta will then be able to absorb some of the dressing and remain firm.
When using long noodles, rinse with cold water to remove excess starch to prevent clumping.
To mix greens with less mess, refrigerate in a plastic bag. When ready to serve, toss with the dressing in the bag, then transfer to individual serving plates.
Main Dish Salads