Between the heat and trying to eat in healthier ways, I have been making and eating a lot of salads. Mostly created with spinach and/or arugula. Today a co-worker and I were talking about salads and I mentioned that I make my own dressings to keep calories down while accentuating flavor and healthiness.
There are many ways to create variations on this basic recipe. Vary the herbs, the amounts, or the type of acid and the flavors can be tailored to your taste or to match your meal or even your wine. This is the basic go-to version that I make.
One caveat, I never measure any of the ingredients when I make sauces, dressings, oils, or whatever, so just taste as you go. It would be difficult to mess this up unless the proportions get way out of wack. It is basically just a combination of acid, olive oil, herbs and spices.
Into a food processor toss in a couple of large pieces of garlic or a tsp or so of garlic confit and pulse a couple of times. Add a nice handful of arugula and fresh basil along with a little less than a 1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes. Pulse again.
Next squeeze in the juice of four limes and add the zest of 1 lime. Add a few grinds of pepper and a pinch of salt. At this point add a healthy squirt of honey. Turn on the food processor and start to slowly drizzle in about a cup of olive oil. This mixture is likely to be a bit thicker than most people prefer, so slowly drizzle in some rice wine vinegar until you reach a consistency that you like. Salt and pepper to taste.
There is no limit to the variations you can come up with for this recipe. Substitute mustard for the honey for fewer calories and less sweetness, or use both for more tanginess. Or use lemon juice or apple cider vinegar instead of the lime juice. Use cilatro instead of basil, and add a jalapeno and some toasted cumin. Or try cilantro and a tbsp of toasted sesame oil with a spoonful of peanut butter and a tiny splash of fish sauce for an Asian taste. The only limit is your imagination.