TOTW Tuesday: Make Your Own…

by Ashley on June 18, 2013

Hello! I hope your day is off to an awesome start. I write to you from another hotel room in another city – oh what a crazy life it is.

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This weeks Tip of the Week is a quite simple one. With an ingredient list half a mile long, there are very few pre-made salad dressings that I will actually buy for my home or even order at a restaurant. If you thought by ordering the “Balsamic Vinaigrette” instead of the “Ranch” you were the picture of health, I want you to think again. You are definitely on the right track, considering ranch dressing has far more unhealthy fat than any vinaigrette, but with a few small changes you can do even better.

Check out this ingredient list:

WATER, CANOLA AND/OR SOYBEAN OIL, BALSAMIC VINEGAR (WATER, WINE VINEGAR, GRAPE JUICE), SUGAR, SALT, DRIED GARLIC, SPICE, XANTHAN GUM, MUSTARD FLOUR, DRIED PARSLEY, WITH POTASSIUM SORBATE AND CALCIUM DISODIUM EDTA AS PRESERVATIVES, OLEORESIN PAPRIKA, SULFITING AGENTS.

This is an ingredient list for a store bought balsamic vinaigrette. It starts off okay right? I mean we could all use a little more water and canola oil at least has some omega-3s (here’s to hoping they used the canola oil over the soybean oil but let’s not hold our breath). And I’d at least hope that vinegar would be toward the top of an ingredient list in a vinaigrette, so that’s good. Sugar and salt, well, hopefully it’s only a little bit, but probably not (no wonder the vinaigrette doesn’t taste too bad!). A few spices, thickeners and herbs, pretty normal. And here’s where it gets dirty. Preservatives, “natural or artificial mixture of oils and resin” (taking a guess, I’d bet they went the artificial route – only a guess though) and then sulfites.

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I don’t know about you, but when I’m cooking in my kitchen I tend to leave out the preservatives, artificial ingredients and sulfites. 😉 And today, I want to show you a way to do the same, in both your own home and a restaurant too and also a tip that will help you prepare the best salad yet! It’s about flavor, not things that highjack our tastebuds like sugar and salt.

This DIY dressing is super simple and takes about 5 minutes to throw together.

Homemade Vinaigrette Salad Dressing 

  • 1 tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 2 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 tbsp White or Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp ground flax meal
  • 1 tbsp agave nectar or pure maple syrup (optional, I tend to leave this off but if you like a little sweet then give it a try)
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 tsp dried herbs (I use a mixture of Italian herbs – basil, rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano)
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • Pepper to taste

Now here is the key.

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Place all of these ingredients into the bottom of a large salad bowl (the same bowl you plan on making your salad in). Wisk together the dressing ingredients and then add your lettuce and whatever other salad toppings you choose to that same bowl on top of the dressing. Toss everything together and serve. This makes about about 1/2 a cup of dressing so if you are making a salad for only one, you can pour some of the dressing into a jar or Tupperware for your next salad. By adding your dressing first, each leaf is coated evenly in the dressing.

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And what about when it comes to dining out? If those are the ingredinents in store bought dressing, imagine what all goes into restaurant products. Those dressings have to last for months, please a wide virety of people and be cheap enough for the restaurant budget. And I would guess that a resturant doesn’t put much into their “salad dressing budget” when they have things to sell like steaks and alcohol. So here’s my tip: Ask your server for olive oil and vinegar. Add both to your salad depending on how much you want, and then add a little bit of your own salt and pepper. Easy enough, right? Clean eating at it’s finest. No crazy ingredients or non-ingredinets for you!

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Anyway, I’m headed to see my pups! I hope you have a great Tuesday afternoon!

Good health!

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Susan De Bonis June 18, 2013 at 6:02 pm

Ashley: This may seem weird but it’s really not. As someone who is highly allergic to sulfites, I am always thinking twice, reading, studying, sometimes not eating if I’m not sure about whether sulfites are present or not.

So the weirdness: If the salad looks really fresh, don’t eat it. Sulfites are preservatives and although the FDA strongly suggested that sulfites not be used on fresh salad bars, it has never banned them. So, no salad bars for me and think twice about those salads.

H-m-m-m. Maybe I should start my own blog on traveling with food allergies.

Reply

Ashley June 21, 2013 at 8:31 am

Wow, I bet that’s difficult but it sounds like you manage it well. I definitely agree with you there! Just like when a strawberry is the size of a peach?? Not. natural. at. all! That’s unfortunate that the FDA won’t do more when it comes to that. Oooo, tt sounds like you are on to something – I LOVE the idea!! An interesting and challenging topic for sure!

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