Sophisticated Savories

Sophisticated Savories

Friday, June 14, 2013

A few healthy salad-dressing substitutes

A few healthy salad-dressing substitutes

1) Yogurt-Based Salad Dressing
Instead of heavy mayo or sour cream, gravitate towards 0% Plain Greek Yogurt. I enjoy 0% Greek Yogurt because not only it is fat-free, but it has a brilliant creamy consistency which actually resembles, textural-wise, a fatty, heavy cream. How does one "dress-up" the yogurt? Plethora of options. One of my favorite combinations:
1 cup 0% Greek Yogurt (plain)
Juice of 1 lemon
1 bunch cilantro - finely chopped leaves
1 shallot - fine dice
2 tsp cajun seasoning
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Pinch of sea salt (may use smoked sea salt or liquid smoke in order to provide a hint of smoke)

2) Cottage Cheese-Based Salad Dressing
Cottage cheese gives a brilliant "bite" when used as a salad dressing... however, when eaten in it's "natural-state," it is rather chunky. Not exactly a nice consistency when used as a salad dressing. Ergo, used a blender/Vitamix in order to smooth the consistency of collage cheese!
Flavor combination:
1 cup Fat-free cottage cheese
Juice of 1 lemon
1 bunch of dill
1 shallot - fine dice
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
Pinch of cayenne and sea salt
Simply blend all ingredients together and refrigerate.

3) Avocado-Based Salad Dressing
Though high in fat, avocados are composed of polyunsaturated fat - a healthy fat that your body needs in order to thrive. Moderate amounts of unsaturated fats are good for your heart, skin, nails, eyes and hair. A basic avocado-dressing is composed of blending 1 avocado, juice of 1 lemon, 2 crushed garlic cloves, 1 shallot - fine mince, and sea salt. In order to thin the consistency, you may also add tomatoes (no skin) when blending (tomatoes have a high water content).

4) Oil and Vinegar-Based Salad Dressing
The most healthy oil is Extra-Virgin Olive Oil; however, you may also use a combination of flavors: walnut, avocado, grape seed, almond, hazelnut, pistachio, truffle, saffron, basil, chipotle, etc. There are such a plethora of oils that exist these days - enjoy playing with the flavors. As far as vinegars, the same exists - pear, balsamic, lemon, chocolate, blueberry, etc. When purchasing oils and vinegars, be willing to spend more for a better quality... as oil and vinegars are often the "base" of any recipe. Use quality products in order to enhance the flavors of your food. I will often serve salad with lemon juice, oil and vinegar (all in separate containers) on the side, in order for the consumer to chose what flavors they want to pair with their greens.

One of my favorite sauces is beet coulis... incredibly easy to make: simply blend together roasted beets, lemon juice and sea salt. Once pureed, slowly drizzle Extra-Virgin Olive Oil into the mixture, until the consistency is a smooth sauce. I have served this sauce to individuals who swear that they detest beets.. and they actually love the beets served in this manner (and the vibrant color of the pink catches the eye when served in a whimsical presentation).

In terms of a gluten-free salad: I simply combines arugula (great nutty-bite) with chopped romaine leaves. I thinly sliced polenta (gluten-free) and added fresh crab meat (only seasoned with lemon juice and sea salt). A touch of beet coulis and the yogurt-based (with cilantro) dressing (found above) helped brighten the entire plate. Healthy, fresh and full of bright flavors.

"Our bodies are our gardens - our wills are our gardeners." - William Shakespeare

Love y'all dearly!

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