Padma Lakshmi Just Revealed The Secret Ingredient In Her Salad Dressing

Adding a salad to your meal is a fast way you can try to bump up its nutrition, making sure you get some added fiber, hydration, and vitamins at your meal. But using the same store-bought salad dressing every time isn't just boring — it can also add tons of sodium, sugar, and cheap oil to your meal. When people find out what's really in their salad dressing, they may decide to make it from scratch, but not every DIY salad dressing recipe is made equally. Luckily, Padma Lakshmi just shared her tip for making memorable salad dressing, and all it takes are a few drops of her secret ingredient to transform a classic vinaigrette.

When making salad dressings, one might start with a traditional vinaigrette recipe, which calls for a ratio of 1 part vinegar and 3 parts oil (via Simply Recipes). There's often a bit of mustard added, which helps emulsify the dressing, along with salt, pepper, and any other seasonings. But if you sometimes find yourself getting tired of the same traditional vinaigrette, Lakshmi has a secret ingredient for you to try.

Lakshmi's secret salad ingredient

In response to a Twitter post asking for a "unique and unexpected and interesting salad dressing recipe," Padma Lakshmi divulged her secret. She said that she adds pure orange oil to her salad dressing but cautioned that because of its powerful flavor, you only need to add a tiny bit to your recipe to make a big impact. "I use a few drops (no more than 1/4 teaspoon) in the dressing for my carrot & coriander salad," she shared.

Orange oil is sometimes also used as a substitute for fresh orange zest. It has a bold, pungent orange flavor (via King Arthur Baking). The oil is made by cold pressing the orange rinds to squeeze out their essential oils. Orange oil wasn't the only ingredient Lakshmi recommended adding to salad dressing, though. She also loves yuzu juice, from the Japanese citrus fruit. "Yuzu is wonderfully tart and floral...I use it in my spinach & black plum salad," she said in another tweet. Between orange oil and yuzu juice, it sounds like Lakshmi has never made a boring salad dressing in her life.