Different types of raspberry dressing can include acidic vinaigrettes for salads, sweet-savory sauces for meat, and simply sweet toppings for pancakes, waffles, and other pastries. All three kinds of raspberry dressing generally have real raspberries as their base, even though their flavors are all very different. Any one of these sauces works well as a summery addition to a cold summer salad, grilled meat dish, or a breakfast or brunch. Frozen berries can also provide a base for these recipes in winter.
One of the most common types of raspberry dressing is the raspberry vinaigrette. The acid sweetness of the berries often mixes well with apple cider vinegar and balsamic vinegar, especially fruit-flavored varieties. Citrus juices, such as lemon, lime, and orange, often make an appearance in raspberry vinaigrettes, as do spicy mustards and vanilla or plain yogurt. Some recipes call for specific measurements of each ingredient, but home cooks may improvise by tasting, mixing, and adding ingredients until the dressing tastes right to them.
Raspberry vinaigrette dressings often go well with green, summery salads that include fruits, nuts, and salty cheeses. Baby spinach, butter lettuce, and young dandelion greens work well as the base. Strawberries, blueberries, cucumbers, celery, tender peas, and shallots may be part of the salad as well, in nearly any combination. Nuts, like almonds, pistachios, walnuts, or cashews, often cut the acidity of the rest of the salad with their warm nuttiness. Goat cheese, Parmesan, and feta cheese are generally salty and strong enough to stand up to the flavors of a bold raspberry dressing.
Meats — like pork, turkey, and chicken — often benefit from a drizzle of sweet-savory raspberry sauce. The tart sweetness of the berries generally complements the subtle meaty flavor of these lighter meats. Raspberry dressing typically brings out the smokiness in grilled meats and the savory crispness on the outside of baked or seared pieces. These raspberry meat dressings usually include balsamic vinegar, garlic, thyme, chives, salt, and black pepper. The meat may be marinated in the dressing, simmered in it, or simply drizzled over it when the meat is served.
The third type of raspberry dressing is almost always very sweet and pairs well with everything from cheesecake to breakfast pastries to ice cream to angel food, pound, and chocolate cakes. This dessert-style raspberry dressing is usually little more than raspberries, sugar, and cornstarch or powdered gelatin blended together in a food processor. Cooks may also prepare a more rustic sauce by crushing the berries with a wooden spoon so some of the berry pieces are visible. Honey, stevia, or sucralose may replace the sugar to create a low-calorie dressing.