Homemade Low fat/cal salad dressing
It's warm now, and I want to eat lots more fresh veggies. But without sugar-laden bottled dressings and without adding a lot of oil to my diet.
I can toss out, for starters, the simplest - a little oil and any type of vinegar or citrus juice, salt and pepper. But sometimes I'm looking for more than very lightly dressed greens, and you can't really make a lot of dressing this way and keep it lean.
We frequently add a little balsamic and evoo to some fruit jam to get a fruity component, and then put dried fruit, cheese, and pumpkin seeds in with our greens.
Sometimes I blend up some cherry tomatoes and use that as a base to add oil and vinegar to. That way I can dress my salad more liberally and still keep it lo-cal.
What are your favorite salad dressing recipes?
Understand that oil is the highest calorie thing per unit of volume you can eat - it's pure fat, 120 calories per tablespoon. (Butter has 80% of the calories, by contrast).
Heavy and sour cream have half the calories per unit of volume. Light sour cream and then yogurts have half that, et cet.
So, all other things being equal, unless one likes sweet or very tart dressings, using lower-fat dairy products gets you a much lower calorie count (albeit perhaps a higher cholesterol count, but that's only an issue for a minority of people).
This is my standard dressing, (I don't really measure, so you'll just have to play by ear):
white balsamic vinegar
some olive oil
jarred pesto sauce (usually from TJ, which is where the white balsamic vinegar is from)
and, a few variations on the pest:
TJ's (again) eggplant/red pepper spread
dijon mustard and some minced garlic
Simple and not no-fat, but depending on amount of olive oil and pesto used, can be easily low fat.
i LOVE white balsamic, better than the dark stuff most of the time. i agree the one from TJ's is good and reasonably priced; however, recently I bought a bottle of white organic balsamic from Whole Foods (3.79) and LOVE it even more! it's got a more rounded, sweet, warm flavor than the TJ's version, which is a little more bitter.
Posted this elsewhere recently. The fatless dressing would work on many things:
Thai "Tiger Cry" salad is startling to say the least. I posted this in Recipes in Feb. (too stupid to do link thingy):
Searching for Tiger Cry on CH produces many results, but not one single recipe that I could see, so here’s mine (a very basic version). Perfect as a light lunch dish or part of a larger meal/buffet. Pretty low on fat too, if you trim the meat well. I’m in the UK but I’ll try and provide US notes if I can. Also some in the US might be used to more meat, but in reality 10oz should be enough for two people. A couple of chicken breast fillets, poached for 20 mins and then cooled and sliced could replace the beef.
Juice of 1 lime (2 limes if you like)
One fresh chilli, seeded and finely sliced. Your call on how much to use!
Small handful of fresh coriander (cilantro?), chopped
1 or 2 teaspoons sugar (any sort)
1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
1 tablespoon Thai fish sauce (maybe a little more)
Sirloin steak. Approx 300g/10 oz weight after trimming of fat. Rump steak would be fine.
Salad: 1 cos or 2 little gem lettuce roughly sliced, 2 or 3 medium tomatoes cut into wedges and about 6 spring onions (scallions) cut into 1/2 inch bits.
1. Mix the first six ingredients to make the dressing.
2. Get a frying pan/skillet/grill pan nice and hot, add a little oil, and cook the steak. 2 minutes each side is enough for me. Allow to cool a bit (5 minutes or so) and slice into thinnish ribbons. Between 1/4 and 1/8 inch thick should be fine.
3. Mix the salad ingredients and arrange on a serving plate. Roughly drape the sliced beef on top and spoon over the dressing. Serve.
4. This can be served with the beef warm or cold, and just alter the amount and proportions of the dressing ingredients to suit your tastes. If you need carbs, place some cool cooked noodles on the dish before the salad.
re: Robin Joy
Yum!!!! Thank you Robin.
I like a dijon dressing with tad of evoo and rice vinigar and package of splenda (or sugar if you don't like). I use less oil and add water to thin it out.
I love Bragg's amino too - for everything, makes a nice quick saute too. They make a nice cider vinagar too.
It's truly too bad that walnut oil is so expensive in America these days, but maybe you've got a magical source for this or other good-tasting healthy nut oils. Our standard vinaigrette is good not just on greens but on fish and chicken as well: 1 tbsp walnut oil,
1 tsp up to 1 tbsp raw sugar, 2-3 tbsp rice, sherry, or cider vinegar (depending on how vinegary you like your dressing), 2 tbsp coarse dijon mustard, recently-opened. Zoom all of this up in your blender of choice, and then add 1/4 cup each of chopped fresh chives and chopped fresh dill (or sub tarragon for dill).
This may seem like more oil and/or sugar than you're looking for, but the nice thing about a good nut oil is that a little goes a long way, taste-wise. And at least the sugar and oils are of the best possible variety. You could also do your exisiting trick of using fruit jam for the sweet component in this...
A tbsp is not too much in my book. What I avoid is the dressings that ask for 1/3 to 1/2 cup of oil, and oil is 70% if the volume of the entire recipe. I should have added that my son has a nut allergy, so we do avoid all the nut oils. But it sounds like a perfectly good recipe with any other vegetable oil, or even toasted sesame oil. Thank you for the idea!
Fat Free Sour Cream or Non Fat Total Yogurt makes a good creamy dressing base.
I love the simple combo of balsamic vinegar, Bragg's amino acids, and sometimes a little mustard, a little lemon juice and garlic salt. If you like just the simple combo of balsamic and bragg's, you can boil them down a bit til it gets syrupy and more salad coat-able.
I use Greek yogurt as a base (thinned with a bit of milk or water) to make creamy dressings like ranch.
I also will often just take a bottle of regular Girards' champagne vinaigarette or Girard's Old Venice dressing, and just pour off most of the oil. You have to pour it a bit more lightly since the flavor is more concentrated. I suppose you could add a touch of water to thin it out a bit,
Roasted red peppers, roasted tomatoes, or purees of fruit such as raspberry or strawberry can add body and a delicious unique flavor to a vinaigarette (without adding many calories).
I saw a bottle of Annie's Naturals artichoke parmesan salad dressing, and was inspired by the idea to try to create something similar by using the ingredients listed on the bottle. Pureed artchokes should give it good body and flavor, as well as parm cheese, the rest is apparently lemon juice, garlic, parsley, and salt (I'll add pepper too!)... and sour cream, which I think I will leave out to make it lighter.