It’s easy to resort to a familiar bottle of salad dressing or just whisk the simplest vinaigrette with oil, vinegar, and Dijon mustard. Nothing wrong with either one, except maybe that they become tiresome, one-note tastes. And bottled dressings typically contain excess sugar, salt, fat, and preservatives, things you can avoid if you make your own.
When dinners are lighter and fresher during the warm months, it’s a good time to experiment and think of dressings as sauces not just for leafy greens, but for grilled or fresh vegetables, grains, pasta, potatoes, fish, chicken, tofu, and sliced meats. You can even take familiar pastes and dips — pesto, chimichurri, romesco, and harissa — and thin them with vinegar, oil, even water, for a piquant dressing. And for almost any combination, the blender may become your new best friend.