Feeling a bit bored with salad? This Red Pepper Jelly Salad Dressing will be a game-changer! It will bring fresh, delicious life to just about any salad and is fabulous drizzled on grilled chicken, pork, shrimp, salmon...
Scott and I spent a week on the coast of South Carolina earlier this month celebrating our anniversary (45 years!). Our children gave us a really nice gift certificate to a great restaurant near where we were staying. We loved our special anniversary dinner and ended up going back to the restaurant several more times that week. Everything was incredibly delicious, but we both were crazy about their Watermelon Salad with Red Pepper Jelly Dressing.
The salad sounded really intriguing on the menu but the first bite had us astonished with the bright fresh flavors. The salad itself was fabulous, but the dressing? Oh my! I had to mind my manners (after all it was our anniversary) but I could have lifted up the bowl and drank it to the last drop.
After tasting the salad and knowing that I would HAVE to recreate it, I quizzed the waiter a bit when he returned to the table. He gave me a few good clues and when we returned home, I tinkered around for a few days with the ingredients.
I had a nice stash of our Strawberry Habanero Jelly so I was all set to work on the dressing. The waiter had indicated it was a pretty simple recipe so I kept it that way. For vinegar, I went with a white balsamic and added garlic, Dijon and two types of oil.
I was thrilled when I tasted the final rendition and feel like I've gotten pretty close to the original delicious pepper jelly dressing. We've been enjoying this delicious dressing on lots of salads as it seems to bring fresh, bright flavor to just about any type of greens.
It takes less than 5 minutes to make a batch of this Red Pepper Jelly Dressing. As quickly as you can throw the ingredients in a blender and whirrrr it together for 15-20 seconds, you're done! I actually throw everything in a wide mouth jar and use my immersion blender as it's fewer dishes to wash.
The dressing keeps well in the refrigerator so I've been doubling the recipe. That way, when we're hungry a delicious, healthy salad isn't far off.
What types of salad go with this dressing?
Just about anything! I'll be sharing the fabulous watermelon salad soon, but don't stop there. This pepper jelly dressing takes greens of any kind (field greens, bib lettuce, arugula, watercress, baby spinach...) and elevates them to an elegant side salad. It pairs well with cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, peaches, pears, apples, celery, avocado... see what I mean? Just about anything.
Do I have to have homemade pepper jelly to make this dressing?
Nope! It is delicious with any of our homemade pepper jellies, but it will also work well with purchased jelly. A red pepper jelly makes a really pretty dressing but again, if you have a good pepper jelly that's green or gold or orange, go for it! They will all be delicious.
So are you ready to "up" your salad game? Pick up some pepper jelly and make a batch of this delicious dressing. I think you'll love it as much as we do! On top of that you'll be all set for the fabulous Watermelon Salad coming up!
Cafe Tips for making this Red Pepper Jelly Salad Dressing
- As mentioned above, this recipe calls for two types of oil - olive oil and a neutral-flavored oil. Why? Although I love olive oil and cook with it a lot, it can have a strong flavor. I didn't want the delicious flavor of the pepper jelly to be covered up, hence I went with half olive oil and half neutral-flavored oil.
- What's a neutral-flavored oil? There are lots of them, probably the most popular being grapeseed, sunflower, avocado, canola and vegetable oils.
- You can use a blender, food processor or immersion blender to make this Red Pepper Jelly Dressing. If you don't have any of those you could try warming the pepper jelly in a saucepan or in the microwave until it's thinned out. Then combine all the ingredients in a jar and shake well.
- The directions for this recipe instruct to combine all ingredients except the olive oil and blend well. Then add the olive oil and pulse a few more times. This is because if you blend olive oil too much, it can take on a bitter flavor.
- If you prefer a thinner consistency you can add a tablespoon or two of water to the dressing.
Thought for the day:
For God so loved the world
that he gave his one and only Son,
that whoever believes in him
shall not perish but have eternal life.
What we're listening to for inspiration:
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- ⅓ cup red pepper jelly
- 3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
- 1 clove fresh garlic chopped
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ¼ cup neutral-flavored oil
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Combine all of the ingredients except for the olive oil in a blender or food processor. Blend until well combined. Add the olive oil and pulse just a few more times. (You can also combine all the ingredients except the olive oil in a wide-mouth jar and blend with an immersion blender. Then add the olive oil and pulse a few more times until combined.) If the dressing is thicker than you like, add water, 1 tablespoon at a time and stir to combine, until desired consistency is reached.
Store in a airtight container in the refrigerator. Will keep well for a week to 10 days.
See Café Tips above in the post for more detailed instructions and tips to ensure success.