Friday, February 18, 2011

Dress It Up

I've been trying to add more leafy greens into my diet. But I find an undressed salad unappetizing. There is no need to eat something that is bland just because it is lower in fat that way. In fact, the dressing on you salad, if it is properly prepared, can help you digest and assimilate the nutrients in the leafy greens, help keep you more satiated between meals, and make this healthy choice a meal we relish instead of dread. The problem is that so many of the dressing available at the local super market contain highly processed, denatured vegetable oils (often soy, cottonseed or corn which have their own set of health consequences), as well as preservatives, msg, sugar or high fructose corn syrup. Thankfully you can still find a few bottled dressings on the market that don’t contain those weird ingredients (Caldwell's for example)

In my experience homemade salad dressing is simple, really yummy, and much more frugal and nutritious than anything you can buy in the store. Salad dressing is one of the best ways to get raw olive oil into the diet.

Here is a good basic salad dressing:
1/2 cup raw apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1-2 farm fresh egg yolks (for emulsification)
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
plenty of sea salt and black pepper
1 – 1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil

In a canning jar or bowl combine vinegar, mustard, egg yolks, garlic, and seasonings. Mix well.
While whisking, slowly drizzle in about a cup of the olive oil. Taste the dressing with a lettuce leaf and if it is too tangy for you continue to add olive oil.
Transfer to a pour able container (or leave in a pint or quart jar) and refrigerate until needed. Shake before serving. Keeps for at least 1 1/2 weeks in the refrigerator.

There are lots of variations you can do with the basic dressing like adding herbs, balsamic vinegar, yogurt or parmesan cheese. The raw egg yolk can be a bit intimidating especially since most of us are not used to using raw egg yolks. I wash the outside of the eggs before using them to ensure that no bacteria are on them. I think the results are most satisfactory when I use the egg yolks. Plus with the egg yolk, raw cheese, and good fats it is a super nourishing top to any salad.
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