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Jan 20, 2008 06:03 AM

Really Dietetic Salad Dressing

Any good, simple ways to dress a salad with no or very little oil, and no sugar (with or without artificial sweetener)? Please give specific amounts, or ratios of ingredients.
Thanks very much!

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  1. For me, salad dressings come in three versions: silky dressings with about a 4 or 5 olive oil to vinegar ratio, creamy dressings like blue cheese, and then really tart vinegar dressings. I love all three and sometimes the tart, vinegar dressing can be the best. I often just put all the ingredients in the salad bowl, do just a splash of olive oil, squeeze half a lemon over the salad, then do quite a few shakes of red wine and white wine or champagne vinegar. With a lot of salt and pepper and good, fresh salad ingredients, you have a terrific salad. You could easily eliminate the oil as well.

    If you want something more specific, take a mason jar (or however you like to prepare a dressing), do a couple of Tablespoons olive oil, 1/4 cup mixture of the vinegars,the lemon juice, maybe add a teaspoon or tablespoon of course ground mustard (I like a healthy dollop) and some herbs, particularly thyme leaves. Chopped shallots and garlic add flavor as well. You can chop them and let them sit in the vinegars and lemon juice for about ten minutes before adding the oil and the seasonings. When everything is added, shake it all up and taste it, adjusting the ingredients for your own taste. This doubles easily (or triples) and will keep for a week or more in the fridge.

    Also, just a hint of cream, even a teaspoon, can bring it all together without adding many calories at all.

    1. Is tahiini dressing ok? I use tahini (1TBL), soy sauce (1tsp), lemon juice (1TBL), olive oil (only 1/2 TBL) - then add water to thin it out to our liking.

      1 Reply
      1. re: lexpatti

        While delicious, tahini is very high fat/calorie. *sniff* That's a good idea, though, the thinning w/ water (the ultimate diet food!) I'll have to give that a try.

        My go-to dressing is now good-quality balsamic vinegar. It's not very good on iceberg, but I like it on mesclun, arugula, leaf, etc.

      2. There is also just plain fresh-squeezed lemon juice, or something like rice vinegar.

        1 Reply
        1. re: brittle peanut

          I think a mild vinegar is the way to go -- requires so much less oil! I think doing a white wine vinegar with mustard and lemon, you might not need oil at all to make it have a creamy texture.

          Personally when I'm doing true-dieting, I just put salt and pepper on my salad. It works better than you'd think.

        2. To save on fat, I take xanthum gum mixed with water to make a thickened mix that will replace the oil. I then sub that thickened water for the oil in any regular vinaigarette recipe. I also have been known to pour off most the oil from Girard's brand champange vinaigarette and then fill the bottle back up with the xathum gum thickened water.

          Xanthum gum is a thickener used in commercial bottled salad dressings to add thickness of texture and I believe it also helps to keep oil from separating in some. In bottled reduced or non-fat dressings they typically use xanthum gum, water, and corn syrup to help sub for the oil.

          I probably should stick my answer in the thead "things you eat yourself, but wouldnt serve other people" I find the flavor and texture great and don't miss the oil at all, but I would worry about serving it to other people!

          For creamy dressings, try using nonfat or 2% fat Greek yogurt thinned with a bit of milk or water to replace the aioli or sour cream base, and add whatever seasonings would go into your recipe to make ranch, blue chees, etc.

          I also sometimes just sprinkle on a good champange or red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper, sprinkle of garlic powder and oregano (or whatever dried herbs strike my fancy) and some parmesan or feta cheese. This really will be enough for a salad with good quality fresh ingredients.

          1. A dollop of Dijon mustard, grated fresh ginger, minced garlic, pepper, hot pepper flakes or minced fresh jalapeno, a few tablespoons of fish sauce (this really rounds it out without oil), maybe 1/2 cup malt vinegar (my current odd favorite- but use what you like) and just a tablespoon of olive oil. Shake up well in a jar. Leave your salad a little wet if you want as this is very tart. I love it with a little protein like lean broiled beef bits and a few small avocado chunks. Dinner many nights.