We eat a lot of salad all year, but this time of year it seems especially good. Not because we have our own homegrown veggies yet, but we know they are coming, so all salads have some anticipation added, which seems to make them taste even better.
Obviously, we don’t have a whole lot of local produce this time of year. There is some around, and I think the nearest big Farmer’s Market in Ithaca opened this past weekend, but the local stuff available is hard to grow in these colder months, so it’s very expensive, and that is hard to justify in the budget these days.
Fortunately, we have some really tasty salad dressings to elevate that supermarket produce, and Creamy Feta Cheese Salad Dressing is one of our favorites. It is tangy and rich, and the feta cheese adds the perfect salty bite.
Buttermilk is a great addition to creamy salad dressings, for a couple of reasons. That tangy flavor makes it seem richer, even though buttermilk is actually very low in fat – cause it’s what is left after you make butter, right? Even the supermarket cultured buttermilk is low in fat, but still very thick and creamy – perfect for salad dressing!
You can choose to use either Greek yogurt or sour cream – I prefer the sour cream, because I think the buttermilk is tangy enough, and for me, yogurt almost makes it too sour tasting. Greek yogurt is certainly more in vogue, so if you like it better, then by all means, use that.
Today, I made this dressing in the blender, but you can just stir it up by hand, or, as I often do, use a deep narrow container and an immersion blender.
The rest of the ingredients are pretty straightforward – I would not suggest using a reduced fat mayo in this, because I don’t care for any of them that I have ever tried, but low fat sour cream works well. And white wine vinegar is worth tracking down, because it has a mellower flavor that balances nicely with everything else.
- I large garlic clove
- 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 1 cup buttermilk, well shaken
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- 5 ounces crumbled feta cheese, divided
- Peel the garlic clove and place in the jar of the blender.
- Measure in the white wine vinegar and salt, and cover with the lid.
- Pulse about 20 times, until the garlic is pulverized, scrapping sides of jar as needed.
- Add the pepper, yogurt or sour cream, mayonnaise, buttermilk and half of the crumbled feta.
- Run the blender on medium speed for about 30 seconds to mix the ingredients.
- Add the oregano, parsley and remaining cheese, and replace the lid.
- Pulse the blender about 5 or 6 times to combine everything well, but leave some of the cheese in small chunks.
- Serve over the salad of your choice, or use as a dip for vegetables or chicken wings. Store in the refrigerator.
This stuff is so tasty – great on any combination of salad ingredients. We love it with hot chicken wings or as a dipping sauce for fries or veggies. Or chicken tenders. Or chips. Anything, really.