Dress me up!

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Okay, I’m talking salads here!

Let’s face it, the salad dressing can either make or break the salad. While the perfect dressing can turn even the most basic salad into a delicious masterpiece, the wrong dressing on the other hand can turn the most beautiful salad into a deal breaker. Boo!

A good salad I must say really comes down to what you dress it up with. So many people claim to hate salads, and yes for some, salads are an acquired taste if they’re used to eating dead, over-cooked food all day long. However, I personally think the people who hate salads are the same people who are dousing their salad in store-bought salad dressing or who perhaps equate salad with iceberg lettuce and a few chunks of unripened tomato. I think it’s suffice to say that the majority of bottled salad dressings out there just don’t make the cut. All it takes is to flip that store-bought dressing over and check out the long list of ingredients that read like a science experiment. Yikes – no thank you!

As I mentioned in an earlier post, the equation for making a really tasty salad dressing is really quite simple. Basically all bottled salad dressings are comprised of the three following tastes:

Acid + Fat + Sweet = Salad Dressing

If you’re buying store-bought there’s usually a number of additional additives in there as well, but if you’re making it at home you just need to make sure that you have these 3 key tastes covered. Next you can get creative with high quality sea salt, fresh herbs, garlic and spices to dream up any number of combinations.

Let me break it down:

Acid = Lemon or lime juice, apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, etc.

Fat = Extra Virgin Olive Oil or if you have a fatty ingredient in the salad such as an avocado you can forgo the oil all together as the avocado will act as the fat and give it a creamy consistency. Oil on top of avocado is really quite unnecessary especially for people who are trying to lose weight. Although these are both “healthy” fats, there is no need to double up where you don’t need to!

Sweet = Natural sweetener of your choice (stevia, raw honey, raw agave, etc). Just remember that these natural sweeteners with the exception of stevia are still “sugar” so they should be used in moderation. If you’re eating a lot of salad and making your own dressings, which let’s face it you should be, then all that sugar (albeit natural) can really add up. Stevia is great for people who are watching their sugar intake and is the only natural sweetener that doesn’t feed yeast. I know I go on about stevia a lot but honestly I have found it to be one of the best tools for eliminating sugar from the diet.

Oftentimes my clients tell me that they don’t add sweetener to their salad dressings. What these people often don’t realize though is that practically every single bottled dressing contains sugar in one form or another, even if it’s artificial. This is the reason why when they make the switch to an oil and vinegar prepared at home it’s not long before they start to feel like something is missing (the sweet component) and go reaching for the store-bought dressing again because they don’t truly enjoy their homemade version.

Here are three super easy + delicious dressings that will make you fall in love with your salad;)

#1 Basic Dressing

* This is my “go-to” salad dressing of choice because it’s the quickest to prepare. I love this dressing on a salad topped with avocado or goat cheese. In either case I omit the oil.

Here’s the Basic Dressing in action topped on my favourite – Avocado Salad pictured below and Guacamole salad that I shared over on Joyous Health.

Ingredients

Juice of 1 lemon or approx 1/3 cup of Apple Cider Vinegar (depends on the size of your salad)

Stevia to taste (or natural sweetener of choice)

1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil (optional)

Feel free to add fresh herbs, garlic, sea salt, etc.

Mix it up and pour over your salad.

#2 Classic Creamy Tahini Dressing

* This recipe makes approx 1 cup. Feel free to add your choice of fresh herbs or spices (i.e. cayenne) to change-up the flavour. This is a great one for those who love cream-based dressings but want to avoid the dairy.

**If you want to keep your food combinations straight, this dressing is best paired with vegetable salad. Feel free to throw some additional raw nuts or seeds into the mix (you likely won’t need it though as this dressing is pretty filling on its own) or some dried organic fruit if you desire. No avocado or cheese though if you are food-combining!

Ingredients

½ cup of raw Tahini (sesame seed paste)

½ cup of lemon juice (approx 2 x lemons)

1 tbsp of Tamari ( or ¼ tsp of sea salt)

1 clove of minced garlic

¼ cup of pure water

Stevia to taste or ½ tsp of raw honey (optional)

Pinch of cumin (optional)

Whisk all ingredients in a bowl or mix in a blender for a smooth consistency.

This dressing is also great as a dip and can be used in place of hummus. It basically contains the same ingredients as hummus minus the dense chickpeas so makes for a lighter (well-combined) alternative.

Who doesn’t love raw veggies with a tasty and delicious dip? Betcha can’t eat just one!

#3 Honey Dijon Dressing

This dressing pairs really nicely with a goat cheese & roasted-beet salad as pictured below.

Ingredients

½ cup of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice

1 heaping tbsp of Dijon mustard

1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil (optional)

1 clove of minced garlic

Sprinkle of sea salt

1 tsp of raw honey (or 4-5 drops of liquid stevia)

Mix well and serve over your salad.

For more salad love check out my earlier post here.

Here’s to dressing those salads to impress!

xo Elaine

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2 thoughts on “Dress me up!

  1. Pingback: How to get out of a veggie rut | Elaine Brisebois | Nutritionist

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