When you sit down to a bowl of beautiful organic greens and raw veggies or spinach topped with nuts and strawberries, or whatever your favourite green salad consists of, it is so important that the dressing you toss your salad with needs to be healthy. Most store bought salad dressings are not, what I would consider, the perfect choice. Far from it. They may be convenient but that does not make them good for you.
Store bought salad dressings are made in bulk in huge volume. They are made up of inexpensive and poor quality ingredients. The base is usually an inferior oil such as canola, corn, sunflower or soy oil. These oils may contain genetically modified organisms nowadays. These oils become rancid quickly. They may have already been rancid before they were turned into a dressing.
Store bought dressings always contain some form of sugar and trust me, it is the most inferior form of refined sugar. This sweet addition is a good weight promoter. If you read the label on store bought dressings they usually state one serving is one tablespoon. How many times do you measure out one tablespoon to dress your salad with? Not too often, I’m sure.
These salad dressings also have chemical additions for emulsification, shelf life, flavour enhancing and appearance. These chemical additives are very TOXIC to the body.
Making your own dressing is such an easy kitchen task and you can add the many good quality, fresh, chemical free, organic, health promoting elements. A homemade dressing needs a base, an acid and a thickening agent.
When I make my dressings I use ORGANIC health promoting oils such as extra-virgin olive oil, hemp seed oil, avocado oil, flax oil, pumpkin seed oil, walnut oil or sesame oil as the base. Sometimes I blend two of these oils together depending on the flavour I’m looking for. Then for the acid I use good quality vinegars such as Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar, coconut vinegar, balsamic vinegar, red-wine vinegar, white balsamic or Ume plum vinegar or fresh squeezed lemon, lime, orange or grapefruit…. depending on the type of salad I will be dressing. Good quality vinegars and citrus juices are great for your digestive system. For the thickener, I quite often use a couple of teaspoons of Dijon mustard or omega 3 packed chia seeds . I always add minced garlic and/or finely minced shallot and salt and pepper.
Here is an example of a vinaigrette that I make often and keep in the fridge for frequent use on our green salads. It goes great on greens and veggies but is really tasty on a bowl of greens with cranberries or diced fresh pear or strawberries, red onions and chopped walnuts. The possibilities are endless.
I add the following to my processor and blend it all until it has emulsified into a thick dressing.
A double batch of my Balsamic Vinaigrette:
6 tablespoons good quality Balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons Manuka or raw, unpastuerized honey
1 small shallot, minced
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil (or healthy oil of your choice)
Remember, those store bought salad dressings add unwanted calories, toxic chemicals, refined sugar and inferior oils to your salad. Don’t spoil a good thing. Make your own dressing. It only takes a few minutes and you are taking in good, healthy nourishment.