Lighten up your summer salads with this refreshing and delicious Strawberry Poppy Seed Vinaigrette! Find out the secret to making this creamy without any dairy!
I don’t know about you but when fresh strawberries are in season, it just screams summer to me. immediately start singing “Summer’s here and the time is right for dancing in the streets” by Martha and The Vandellas. The song is well before my time but having much older siblings, this was one of the songs that were always played in the house. Whether it was on a 45 or an 8-track (totally aging myself here), that era of music was always on.
It’s happy-go-lucky music; simplistic even. It made you feel good. Know what else makes
you me us feel good? This Strawberry Poppy Seed Vinaigrette!
It’s light and creamy without the heaviness dairy imparts on most creamy dressings. It’s light and refreshing as the fresh strawberry flavors just shine so brightly in it! You can’t help but love this dressing. This dressing is an homage to the iconic Panera strawberry poppyseed chicken salad except I infused the strawberries into my dressing, I wanted it to be berrylicious. Because, well… why wouldn’t I?!
The dressing/vinaigrette is super easy to make and it only requires a few ingredients that most of us have on hand. I would say the only special ingredient you may need to buy is the champagne vinegar. You really want to use that as it’s fruitier and not as harsh as regular white or red wine. I’ve not tried it with apple cider vinegar so I’m not sure of the flavor it imparts.
The secret to making this creamy without dairy
EMULSIFICATION simply put. We all have heard the phrase “Water and oil don’t mix.” Well, technically they can and do when you emulsify them.
To emulsify something is when you force 2 incompatible (immiscible) liquids together in a homogenous solution. We can break down the oil into teeny-tiny little droplets and suspend them in the water liquid. Using a blender, whisk, or food processor, you build up a force that breaks apart the oils, dispersing it into the watery liquid and allowing the emulsifiers to combine it all together in one delicious combined liquid. The emulsifiers are these particles that get along with both oil and water as that’s exactly what they are made of; part water and part oil.
The Trick to making this dressing
The biggest trick/chef tip I can give you on this recipe and pretty much any vinaigrette is slow and steady wins the race. What I mean is when you are ready to add in your oil, you must stream it in slow while whisking/blending/processing the rest of the liquid. You need that constant force/motion yo counterbalance the addition of the oil.
What to serve with this recipe?
I’m a huge fan of salads for this recipe as it pairs beautifully.
- Summer Berry Salad
- World’s Best Salad
- Spinach Albacore Salad
- Strawberry Spinach Salad with Candied Pecans
Strawberry Poppy Seed Vinaigrette (dressing) Recipe Tips:
- By blending this dressing, it not only purees the strawberries, but it also emulsifies the oil and vinegar into a smooth and creamy dressing.
- For those that monitor their gluten intake, this dressing is naturally gluten-free, If you want, you can always swap the honey for agave nectar to make it vegan.
- You can store this Strawberry Poppy Seed Vinaigrette (dressing) in a sealed jar the refrigerator for several days. It may separate slightly but all you need to do is shake it up to get it all homogenous
- In a blender or food processor add the shallot, strawberries, vinegar, honey, mustard powder, & salt and mix until combined.
- With the blender/food processor running, slowly add the oil in until the dressing is emulsified (comes together).
- Add poppy seeds, stir and refrigerate until ready to use. transfer to a covered container and store in the fridge for several weeks. The dressing will separate as it sits; shake to recombine before using.
If you cannot find champagne vinegar, you can use white wine vinegar. I highly recommend this one!