Photo by Jen Chan via Flickr

I don’t know about you, but it has taken me a little while to get on the New Year’s Resolution train this year. Yes, it’s the middle of February but what better time than now to start right?! Salads are a great way to reach your daily vegetable goals and make you feel energetic throughout the day. Here is a list of ingredients to keep in your pantry/fridge so that you can mix up your normal salad routine and keep that healthy resolution.

Stock up your pantry:
Apple cider vinegar
Balsamic vinegar
Red wine vinegar
White wine vinegar
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Colavita from Italy and Columela from Spain are my favorite reasonably priced brands found in most grocery stores)
Kosher salt
Peppercorns for your pepper grinder
Maille Dijon Mustard (both Originale and Whole Grain)
Garlic (jarred and minced if you really want to save time)
Dried herbs (oregano, basil, dill, parsley, rosemary)
Dried cranberries
Nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans, pistachios)
Goat cheese, mozzarella or really any of your favorite cheeses

A basic salad dressing is easy to mix up once you have the basic recipe. There are three main components needed to make a good salad dressing: acid, oil and some sort of emulsion agent. Once you perfect a basic recipe like this red wine vinaigrette, you will be able to make tons of different dressings to go on many combinations of greens, veggies, nuts, dried fruits and proteins.

Red Wine Vinaigrette
Makes 1 cup
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Combine vinegar, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper in a bowl. Set aside and let rest for at least 10 minutes. While whisking, slowly drizzle olive oil into the bowl allowing the ingredients to form an emulsion. Add your favorite greens, veggies, nuts, cheese, etc. Toss and share with family or friends.

—Amy Matlock