The Simple Trick For Turning A Sandwich Spread Into Salad Dressing

From greens, proteins, and bread that's been turned into croutons, salads and sandwiches have more ingredients in common than meets the eye. Of course, you'd never put mustard straight on your salad, right? But, with a dash of creative thinking and effort, you can transform most sandwich spreads, like mustard, into a salad dressing.

Sandwich spreads range from sweet and tangy to rich and creamy and everything in between. Their versatility in both flavor and texture makes them ideal for a salad dressing base. The key to this lunchtime magic trick is liquid. Whether it's olive oil, water, or citrus juice, adding a cooking liquid to a sandwich spread loosens up its density and gives it a looser texture that's indistinguishable from restaurant quality or store-bought salad dressings.

If you're a sandwich aficionado, we don't have to tell you that any spice, seasoning, and herb can make its way into a hero, hoagie, or submarine, regardless of the condiment that ties it all together. The same rings true for a sandwich spread salad dressing, ensuring that your options for jazzing it up with flavor are never limited. 

Sandwich spread salad dressing flavor combinations

Sandwich spreads come in many shapes, sizes, and flavors. Luckily, even the most unique condiments are easily transformed into salad dressings. Starting with one of the most common sandwich spreads of all, mayonnaise makes a deliciously creamy and rich-tasting salad dressing. When combined with olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, and a dash of salt, pepper, and garlic powder, mayonnaise goes from spreadable to silky. Take things up a notch by introducing your favorite herbs — peppery basil or citrusy parsley are two great options.

Mustard fans rejoice because you can turn Dijon, honey, or old-fashioned mustard into a versatile salad dressing in no time. If you're working with Dijon, thin it with maple syrup and apple cider vinegar to enjoy a tangy, sweet, and slightly spicy dressing. If you are a honey mustard fan, use red wine vinegar and grapefruit juice for a predominantly sweet yet zesty dressing. Classic mustard mixed with white wine vinegar, olive oil, and salt and pepper is a no-frills dressing that pairs well with many salads.

Newsflash: not all sandwich spreads are savory, and your favorite fruit jam is a secret weapon for a great homemade dressing. Shake up some jam with olive oil, red wine vinegar, and a dash of honey for a fruit-forward dressing that balances umami-forward salad ingredients. Of course, you can't mention jam without peanut butter. Use soy sauce, lime juice, sesame oil, and honey to fashion a peanut sauce-inspired salad dressing.

Tips for making sandwich spread salad dressing

Making salad dressing from your favorite sandwich spread requires more creativity than expertise. However, keep a few simple tips in mind while preparing your dressing to maximize its place in your salad. 

The texture can make or break a dressing. Some salads call for a creamy, thick sauce, while others benefit from one that's light and pourable. Depending on your desired texture, you'll need to adjust the amount of liquid in your sandwich spread dressing — thinner dressings need more liquid, and thicker dressings require less.

Are you introducing herbs to your salad dressing? Unless you're following a recipe that requires you to heat the herbs, opt for fresh aromatics over their dried counterparts to get that bright, freshly-picked-from-the-garden appeal. In a pinch, dehydrated herbs can work, but because they have a concentrated flavor, use one-third of the amount you would use of fresh. 

If your sandwich spread bottle is almost empty, use its container to make the dressing. Just pop the lid open, add your chosen ingredients, shake, and pour over a salad. Otherwise, you can use a re-sealable glass jar to rattle and emulsify the ingredients. If you have a hard time emulsifying the ingredients, a blender can help.

Finally, don't be afraid to think like an artist when crafting your sandwich spread salad dressing. From pickle juice to freshly chopped jalapeños and chopped nuts, the sky's the limit. Just don't forget to taste as you go!