The Simple 2-Ingredient Dressing For A Quick And Easy Salad

Between washing produce, chopping it, and wrangling together all your different ingredients, whipping up a salad can involve a good amount of prep work. But when it comes to your dressing, you don't need a long list of ingredients to make a tasty mixture. The main components that give a vinaigrette flavor are olive oil and vinegar — typically around three parts of the former per one part of the latter. And for those days when you don't have any vinegar on hand, you can simply sub in your favorite briny liquid instead.

Chances are, you have some type of brine in your fridge, whether it's from a jar of pickles or olives. While it won't replicate the flavor of vinegar exactly, this liquid packs a salty, tangy punch and includes all the notes of whatever food is packed into it. Plus, many brines use vinegar already, so you're getting a boost of extra flavors in just one ingredient. When mixed with olive oil, you end up with an immediate makeshift vinaigrette — and as a bonus, you have a reason to use up that leftover liquid in the jar, instead of just tossing it out.

Match your brine to your meal's flavors

The beauty of this two-ingredient dressing is that you can pick what flavors you'd like to lean toward, based on the type of product you're using. For example, the liquid from a pepperoncini jar will make for a spicy, tart dressing, while the juice from a pickle or caper jar will focus more on salty and tangy flavors (or sweet ones, if you use bread and butter pickles). Olive brine will pair beautifully with olive oil; jars of kimchi will produce a spicy, umami-filled dressing; and the juice from packed cheese will add a richer, more savory taste.

An everyday salad that calls for a vinaigrette is the obvious way to use your two-ingredient dressing, and this one definitely has enough flavor to make eating vegetables more enjoyable. But you don't have to stop there — it will work well on a variety of sandwiches like an Italian sub, a roasted Caprese, or one loaded with sprouts and avocado. The olive and pepperoncini-based dressings also make for easy Italian-style marinades. Use your kimchi-based version for Asian fare, or reach for the pickle-based creations for a variety of proteins. You won't miss complicated dressings when you taste your final dish because these two ingredients (brine and oil) make a tasty dressing on their own. That said, feel free to add Dijon mustard, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, dill, thyme, parsley, chives, lemon juice or zest, maple syrup, or honey if you have the time.