Don't waste a healthy salad by slathering it with trans-fats, sugars, and fillers.
It's getting hot outside and if you are like me, that means cooler meals and side dishes, like salads, are sounding better and better. Salads are such a great way to get fiber-dense, vitamin-rich, fresh veggies into our diet. All that fiber leads to feeling fuller longer with a lot less calories and provides a "scrub-brush" effect on our guts, allowing for better nutrient absorption. BUT...you can negate all those positive benefits if you are slathering your salad with processed oils and/or creamy, sugary junk.... ICK. If you don't believe me, spend some time on the bottled salad dressing aisle and read the labels. You'll see hydrogenated oils, corn syrup, and many ingredients you simply cannot read or tell me what they are. For the most part, if you can't read the word and don't know exactly what it is, your body doesn't need it.
So, how can you make your healthy salad taste great?? First, have you tried salting and peppering your salad and splashing some high quality vinegar and olive oil on it? If not, start there. Better yet, instead of vinegar, try squirting some fresh lemon. YUM!
If that is a little too basic and you are looking for a pop of flavor. Try this recipe. This is my go-to dressing recipe and I use it on all kinds of things...marinade for chicken, pasta salad, cucumber and tomato salad, a finisher for grilled or baked fish.... you get the idea.
- 2 cloves of garlic
- tsp Kosher salt
- tsp black pepper
- tsp Dijon mustard
- 5 TBS good vinegar (White Balsamic is my favorite but red wine vinegar or Balsamic are also great)
- 4-5 TBS Olive Oil
Crush and chop your cloves of garlic. Add salt and pepper and use a wooden spoon to mash into garlic, creating a paste. Stir mustard into your garlic, salt, and pepper paste. Add vinegar and mix well. With a whisk (or fork) slowly drizzle in your olive oil while constantly whisking so that your vinegar mix and olive oil emulsify, creating a silky, blended dressing.
Use this sparingly... it's strong flavor will brighten your salad but is overpowering if you use a lot. Keep it in your fridge in a jar or sealed container for up to a week. (If the olive oil solidifies in the fridge, set it out on the counter bit before wanting to use it and shake it well.)
Now that you've got it, experiment a little. Want a salad to go with your pizza night? Use red wine vinegar and add some oregano. Want a salad to go with an asian themed meal? Use rice wine vinegar, a couple of drops of sesame oil, and maybe some fresh ginger. Are you adding fruit to your salad? Add a little fresh orange juice with your vinegar.. Maybe Greek? Add olives, oregano, and some roasted red peppers... the combinations are plenty and the ratios are easily modifiable to make salads that are not only healthy, but you'll look forward to eating.
Happy, healthy summer salad-eating.