Cooking Questions: Salads and Dressings Article -
Add a Comment

Cooking Questions: Salads and Dressings

Browse our collection of frequently asked cooking questions for advice on preparing salads and dressings.

  • How can I prevent the fruit in my gelatin salad from sinking to the bottom of the mold?

For best results, wait until the gelatin is semi-firm--about the consistency of cold egg whites--before pushing in the fruit and other ingredients like nuts and marshmallows. They will stay right where you put them.

  • I want to take pasta or potato salad to a picnic. Is this safe?

Any type of pasta salad or potato salad should be kept well chilled until you are ready to serve it, whether it's made with oil and vinegar dressings or the wrongly maligned mayonnaise. The true culprits in cases of food poisoning are the potatoes and pasta: they're the perfect warm, moist, neutral environments in which bacteria thrive. Since it's not a picnic without pasta or potato salad, pack them in a cooler and keep your salads safe to eat.

  • What is the secret to making a good, homemade vinaigrette?

Start with two parts oil for every one part vinegar. Taste, and adjust the proportions to satisfy your taste buds. Extra-virgin olive oil, toasted sesame oil, hazelnut oil, and walnut oil are all bold-flavored oils, and you can get by with using much less oil while still adding superior flavor if you choose a bold one. To add that all-important zing to the dressing, try cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, white wine vinegar, red wine vinegar, raspberry vinegar, or even lime or lemon juice. Round out your dressing with salt and pepper, a teaspoon of sugar for balance, and perhaps a dash of red pepper flakes, a little bit of crushed garlic, a dab of mustard, or anything else you think will make your vinaigrette distinctive.

  • Can I substitute another vinegar for sherry vinegar in my dressing?

Yes. Vinegar in salad dressings adds a dash of brightness and enhances flavors. It should be fine to replace one with another. The best choices to substitute for sherry vinegar in a salad dressing are probably the wine vinegars (red, white, champagne) or balsamic and cider vinegars. Rice wine vinegar is a bit less acidic, more mild; so if you substitute with rice wine vinegar, add a bit more vinegar.

  • What is arugula?

Arugula is a slightly bitter, aromatic salad green with a peppery mustard flavor, long popular with Italians. Recently, American palates have been catching on to its assertive flavor. Also called rocket, roquette, rugula, and rucola, arugula (which resembles radish leaves) can be found in specialty produce markets and many supermarkets. It's sold in small bunches with roots attached. The leaves should be bright green and fresh looking. Arugula is very perishable and should be tightly wrapped in a plastic bag and refrigerated for no more than 2 days. Its leaves hold grit and must be thoroughly washed just before using. Arugula makes a lively addition to salads, soups and sautéed vegetable dishes. It's a rich source of iron as well as vitamins A and C.

Quick Links

Jul. 8, 2009 8:30 pm
a great vinegerate is one made with just lemon, flax seed oil and brags amino acid. it is such a delight. a lemon to about 3 tablespoon or less oil and then about two squirts of brags. Brags amino acid is made of soy beans and is very salty...but awsome taste specially with this recipei. so you must go with less brags and adjust it to your taste buds, because a little of it goes a long really is very potent and salty. you could add pepper or any other spice you like to it for taste, but do try it plain at first. it goes well with salads or as a dressing for anything...rice, vegetables and such.
Sep. 6, 2009 7:40 am
what can i use in place of shredded parmesan cheese in a salad
Mar. 11, 2010 7:48 am
You can use any kind of hard cheese, mild to strong in a lettuce salad. The sky is the limit.Grate it, chunk it, whatever consistency pleases you.
Mar. 11, 2010 11:24 am
depending on the dressing, feta cheese is GREAT in salads... throw in some cranberries and YUM!!!
Gloria Ann 
May 11, 2010 2:36 pm
I make homemade ranch dressing using hellmans mayo and buttermilk and seasonings of course. Does anyone know what to add so the dressing doesn't get watery when you add it to the salad. Store bought ranch doesn't get watery but mine does.
Dec. 24, 2010 10:04 am
I would think the salts are extracting the water from the iceberg lettuce. So, omit any salt allowing the diner to add their salt when served.
Dec. 24, 2010 10:12 am
Question: How can I hide or mask the bitterness from yellow onions used in a mayo based coleslaw. I tried fresh lemon juice with no luck. Also sugar.
Feb. 1, 2011 8:36 am
Does balsamic vinegar get better with age, or does it go bad after being opened for a long time?
kathy m 
Mar. 24, 2011 3:25 am
How do I make oil for Italian subs?
Apr. 20, 2011 5:01 pm
What is a good substitution for red wine in an entree recipe?
May 14, 2011 6:30 pm
Question: Can I blanch broccoli and store it overnight in the fridge without it getting limp?
Sep. 2, 2011 12:44 pm
Is roasted red pepper the same a jarred pimento?
Sep. 9, 2011 8:45 pm
Mar. 22, 2012 2:16 am
How can I make a "healthy" Raspberry Vinaigrette" dressing?
Mar. 24, 2012 5:18 am
I've always heard that with mayo-based dressings (which I don't eat myself because I don't like mayo), when it comes to food poisoning, it's the eggs in the mayo that are the problem. I haven't heard about the pasta and potatoes creating the warm, moist environment necessary for bacteria to breed. At first that sounds plausible. But, pasta salads and potato salads (with the exception of German potato salad) are served cold, so how can they be to blame.
Apr. 12, 2012 9:48 am
We want to have a pasta bar for our daughters Grad Party. Figuring about 200. Need tips on how to keep the pasta warm with out it getting dry or mushy. Please help
May 18, 2012 5:33 pm
can I use greens from my garden radish for anything?
Jun. 25, 2012 10:36 am
Thank you for the information on this subject. Lots of people need it.
Jun. 28, 2012 1:22 pm
I need a good hi protein substitute in place of rice or pasta. Any good idea's.
Jul. 12, 2012 9:53 am
i am making potato salad and was wondering if it safe to boil my eggs along with the potatoes? ( i cook my potatoes for five mins and then turn turn off and let them cook the rest of way i also do the same for hard boil eggs)
Nov. 27, 2012 10:08 am
It's time I asked this because it happens every time with my egg salad, chicken salad & tuna salad. I made egg salad yesterday & today it is runny. The same thing happens to the others I mentioned. I only use Miracle Whip & mustard, salt & pepper. I DO NOT like mayo. I always wipe the eggs well, yet they have this watery mess in the container. Help.
Jul. 30, 2013 6:48 am
I ordered a jar of anchovies in salt. I thought I'd get a dry pack, but instead they are floating in liquid. The ingredients say only anchovies and salt. Is this the way they should be?
Apr. 22, 2014 10:51 pm
What weight is a bunch of rocket ?
Go Pro!

In Season

Fresh Summer Meals
Fresh Summer Meals

Enjoy the bright days of summer with easy recipes.

Do Healthy Your Way
Do Healthy Your Way

Low-fat, low-carb, paleo, vegan. Get recipes for your lifestyle.

Subscribe Today! Only $7.99
Subscribe Today! Only $7.99

Delicious recipes, party ideas, and helpful cooking tips! Get a year of Allrecipes magazine for just $7.99!

Related Videos

Dannon Caesar Salad Supreme

Say hello to nutritious salad dressing without sacrificing taste.

Black Lemon Chicken Salad

Here’s a simple roast chicken dish that’s bursting with flavor.

Garden Pasta Salad

Watch how to make a spiral pasta salad with garden fresh veggies.

Most Popular Blogs

Read our blog

Recently Viewed Recipes

You haven't looked at any recipes lately. Get clicking!
Quick Links: Recipe Box | Shopping List | More »
Argentina  |  Australia & New Zealand  |  Brazil  |  Canada  |  China  |  France  |  Germany  |  India  |  Italy  |  Japan  |  Korea  |  Mexico

Netherlands  |  Poland  |  Quebec  |  Russia  |  SE Asia  |  United Kingdom & Ireland  |  United States