The Reason You Should Be Adding MSG To Salad Dressing

Salad dressing can make or break a salad. Too much of it renders the greens soggy. Too little of it makes every bite dry. But just the right balance, along with thoroughly mixing everything together, elevate a salad with perfect consistency and flavors.

You're likely familiar with ranch, Italian, blue cheese, and Russian dressing. But the variety of salad dressings extends to other parts of the globe. In Japan, for instance, wafu is used to add flavorings of onions, soy sauce, ginger, and rice vinegar to vegetables via Whiskware. Or, in the Middle East, dressings often have tahini, which is a marriage of hulled sesame seeds and oil, according to Food Network. Other flavorful foreign dressings may consist of maple syrup (Canada), coconut cream (Suriname), and Dijon mustard (France), per Whiskware.

Hopefully, this may spark some ideas for making homemade salad dressings, which, for the most part, are quick and easy to whip up. As Start Cooking mentions, all you need is some oil (like olive or sunflower oil), acid (balsamic vinegar or herb-infused vinegars are popular choices), and seasonings. Creamy components like yogurt or mayonnaise may also be utilized. And for even more flavor, throw some MSG in there (via Bon Appétit). Now, this might seem like a strange choice at first, but we've found a few reasons why MSG and salad dressings are a match made in heaven.

MSG enhances umami

According to Ajinomoto, umami can be found in aged cheese, mushrooms, anchovies, cured meat, and plenty of other foods that are commonly associated with the term "savory." It's also a basic taste, along with its sour, sweet, bitter, and salty family members, and stands out from the rest of them because it lingers on the palate.

So how do umami and MSG correlate? Well, as Bon Appétit explains, MSG seems to level up those umami flavors in salad dressings. There's more savoriness and balance among acidic and fatty elements of dressings, which makes the salad, as a whole, that much better.

In terms of how much MSG to add, this depends on whether you'd like to add MSG to the dressing or the salad. But in short, a little goes a long way. Bon Appétit suggests one teaspoon of MSG for their jalapeño ranch recipe. For a salad, Lifehacker relies on a good old-fashioned sprinkling directly on the greens and veggies. Up to four shakes of the MSG container should suffice, then mix away before adding the dressing.

So next time you whip up some homemade salad dressing, be sure to use a little MSG to enhance the depth, balance, and flavor profiles of your favorite salad.