Thursday, December 13th

cooking oilsWhether you are making your own salad dressings and marinades just because they taste better than the store-bought ones, or because you like to be assured that only the best ingredients go into them- the fact is that home-made salad dressing ARE better than the bottled ones.

Download and print recipe here!

It is rare to come by a bottled dressing that tastes fresh- this is because the oils are usually not of the highest quality. In nutrition, it is absolutely essential to eat the best fats and oils that are available. And yes, these dressings all have calories in them. (After all, calories = energy AND flavour) The QUALITY of your oils and fats is so much more important than the quantity. So the good news is, you can stop counting calories!

Another reason to have great home-made dressings on hand is that when your veggies taste amazing, you will eat more of them! That’s right- plain lettuce appeals to rabbits. We tend to gravitate towards lettuce when it is slathered with some tangy sauce.

Ingredients

Choose the best ingredients (first-pressed oils that are fresh, lively spices and herbs…) and refrigerate your dressing once it is made. The dressing or marinade will last for at least a week and up to a month in the fridge.

You will notice that each recipe has some fat and some acid. This is what makes a balanced dressing in general (but not absolutely)- 3 parts oil to 1 part acid. Obviously weaker acids like orange juice,compared to say apple cider vinegar- will change this ratio.

Equipment

An immersion or stick blender is very helpful. A regular counter-top blender works fine too. Mason jars of 500ml and 1 liter are what I use. My immersion blender fits into the wide-mouth ones, so I can make the dressing right in the jar without any other dishes.

Some folks like to use those pour-spout glass bottles. I find them hard to clean, and thick dressings sometimes stick in there, so they are not very practical. Choose a plastic squeeze bottle if you like that convenience.

 

Essential Salad Dressing

Makes about 1 cup

This is my go-to dressing. It is called ‘essential’ because of the essential fatty acids that flax oil gives it. The flavour of flax is mellowed with olive of sunflower oil, but the golden colour of flax shines through in this sunny dressing. I use this for cooked, cooled grain salads like on quinoa salads, red rice salads or on millet (do not heat this dressing though!), bean salads, any lettuces and even for sliced cucumber and radish salads. Feel free to get creative by adding herbs, sun-dried tomatoes, capers, wasabi or a touch of sweetener.

Clear Brain Fog!

Omega 3s found in flax oil help maintain healthy nervous and brain functioning!

 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1/3 cup flax oil

2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil or unrefined sunflower oil

1 tsp dijon mustard

1 clove garlic, grated or minced (optional)

pinch chili flakes, cayenne or black pepper (optional)

pinch salt

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Creamy Miso-Sesame Dressing and Marinade

Makes about 1 cup

This dressing adds interest to cooked greens, especially kale, spinach or mustard greens. It is also brilliant on romaine and endive. You can even use it as a marinade for roasted veggies like peppers, zucchini and eggplant.

 

2 Tbsp miso (I use Genmai miso)

1 Tbsp tamari or soy sauce

2 Tbsp tahini or any other seed or nut butter

3 Tbsp brown rice vinegar

2 Tbsp mirin (or a touch of maple syrup if you don’t have/want mirin)

1/4 cup water

3 Tbsp toasted sesame oil

 

Put all into blender and blend till smooth.

 

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Berry Nice Dressing

Makes about 1 cup

If you are lucky enough to have access to wild berries, highlight them in your salad dressing. Out here on the west coast of Canada, we have salmon berries, blackberries and wild raspberries amongst many more. Even frozen berries work here, so you can also enjoy this tasty dressing year-round.

 

½ cup fresh or frozen berries (blueberries don’t lend the best colour by themselves. Add red or black berries to blueberries for best colour.)

1/3 cup red wine vinegar (or balsamic, or white wine vinegar, or apple cider vinegar!)

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

½ cup flax oil

2 pinches of sea salt

Put all into blender and blend till smooth. This keeps until the expiration date of your flax oil.

 

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Honey Mustard Roasted Garlic Dressing (Creamy)

Makes about 1 cup

This dressing gets its creaminess from emulsifying roasted garlic rather than egg yolks. I use a version of this dressing for vegan and egg-allergy creamy dressings like Caesar dressing and tartar sauce.

 

1/4 cup lemon juice or apple cider vinegar

1/3 cup flax oil

2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil or unrefined sunflower oil

1 Tbsp grainy mustard (or whatever your favourite mustard is)

1 head garlic, roasted

2 Tbsp raw liquid honey

To roast garlic, cut off the tip of the end that the shoot comes out of and drizzle a bit of oil into the head of garlic. Heat oven to 350F and roast for around 1 hour, until the cloves are soft and fragrant. Unwrap and cool head of garlic and squeeze the roasted garlic out (like toothpaste out of a tube).

Blend until creamy.

 

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 Cashew ‘Ranch’ Dressing

Makes about 1 cup

This recipe works as a dip if you make it thicker, or as a dressing if you thin I out with more water. It is great to get the fat straight from nuts, as pressed oils (even the best oils), are somewhat oxidized and therefore not as healthy as getting fast straight from the whole source. This recipe is a crowd pleaser and a party favourite! It also happens to be dairy free.

 

1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for 2 hours or up to overnight. Drain and rinse.

3 Tbsp good dried or fresh dill

1 clove garlic, grated or minced

Juice of 1 lemon

about 1/2 cup water

 

Put all ingredients into blender.

Blend until creamy.

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Strawberry Balsamic Basil Dressing

Makes about 1 cup

Strawberries love balsamic and basil! Play up this fun dressing over arugula leaves or over cooked spinach with some sliced strawberries and basil leaves to garnish.

 

1/2 cup strawberries, washed, hulled and halved. Frozen berries work too.

1/3 cup very nice balsamic vinegar (or use raspberry vinegar for a treat!)

1 cup extra virgin olive oil or unrefined sunflower oil

2 pinches of sea salt

A few turns of fresh ground pepper

1 small handful basil leaves

Put all into blender and blend till smooth.

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Citrus Ginger Dressing (light)

Makes about 1 cup

This dressing is perfect for delicate greens like butter lettuce, young lettuce leaves or anything you want to just heighten the flavour of, but not weigh it down or mask it.

 

Zest and juice of:

1 lemon

1 lime

1 orange

1 Tbsp finely grated ginger

Optional- some chives, parsley, cilantro, dill or tarragon (about 2-3 Tbsp chopped)

1/4 cup unrefined sunflower or olive oil

 

Put all ingredients into blender.

OR just shake it up in a jar before serving. 

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