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Salad Days: Two Vinaigrettes You'll Love

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Salad Days: Two Vinaigrettes You'll Love

Author: Sara Ryba, R.D., C.D.N.

You’d probably guess that, as a nutritionist, I’d love salads. And luckily I do. They’re one of my favorite things to order on most menus. But in order for me to love a salad, I’ve got to love the dressing, and finding a tasty dressing that is low in calories and fat is not that easy.

As a kid, my favorite dressings were blue cheese and Russian. I would dip cherry tomatoes and cucumber slices into Russian dressing and eat them as if they were candy. However, as I grew up and (sadly) had to start watching my weight as well as my cholesterol levels, I came to appreciate the flavor of lower-calorie vinaigrettes. And now they are my favorite dressings. (Though, truth be told, I still love to splurge on a really thick blue cheese every once in a while!)

Below you’ll find two of my favorite vinaigrette recipes. The ingredients are quite simple; however, I do find that a mini food processor really helps to thicken and emulsify the vinaigrettes, making them seem more like restaurant-quality dressings. Mini-prep processors aren’t very expensive and are well worth the investment.

Strawberry Vinaigrette

Makes 6-8 servings

This light pink dressing is so pretty to look at and works well on a spinach salad or mixed baby greens with crumbled goat cheese.

Ingredients:

  • 5 strawberries, cleaned, stemmed and roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme (You can substitute ½ tsp dried thyme if fresh isn’t available.)
  • ¼ small red onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp water
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 4 tbsp olive oil

Directions:

Add the strawberries, thyme, onion and water to a small blender or mini-prep food processor. Pulse until the mixture is well combined and almost smooth. Add the vinegar and pulse again until well combined. Lastly, add the olive oil, very slowly, about one tablespoon at a time and blend for 20-30 seconds between each tablespoon of olive oil. You will see the dressing thicken up. Give it a taste, and season with salt and pepper if desired.

Nutrition info per serving:

  • 70 calories
  • 8 grams fat
  • 1 gram saturated fat
  • 1 gram carbohydrate
  • 1 gram sugar
  • 0 grams protein

Classic Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

Makes 6-8 servings

This salad dressing works well on almost any salad and as a marinade for chicken. I am always playing around with the ingredients and adding different herbs for a new culinary flair. I’m sure youll love it, too.

Ingredients:

  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 4 tbsp olive oil

Directions:

Add the garlic, mustard and water to a mini food processor or blender. Pulse until almost smooth; add the balsamic vinegar and honey and blend for another 20-30 seconds. Lastly, add the olive oil, very slowly, about one tablespoon at a time and blend for 20-30 seconds between each tablespoon of olive oil. You will see the dressing thicken up. Give it a taste, and season with salt and pepper if desired.

Nutrition info per serving:

  • 80 calories
  • 8 grams fat
  • 1 gram saturated fat
  • 3 grams carbohydrate
  • 2 grams sugar
  • 0 grams protein

Do you have a favorite healthy salad dressing? Please share it with us below!




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