Piling on produce and tossing in whole grains, beans and a sprinkle of nuts is a sure bet for a nutritious salad. But a fatty dressing can load your dish with extra calories.
Instead, make your own dressing so you can control the ingredients and explore a huge variety of healthy and delicious possibilities.
Start with a healthy fat as a base. Options include olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil or even fancier walnut, avocado or almond oil.
Then add an acid such as vinegar (balsamic, white or red wine, rice or cider vinegars work well) or citrus (lemon, orange or lime juice). To make a basic vinaigrette use a ratio of 2:1, oil to vinegar/juice. Other 100 percent fruit or vegetable juices taste delicious in a vinaigrette dressing, too.
For creamy dressings, whisk in a touch of plain low-fat yogurt or a teaspoon of reduced-fat versions of mayonnaise or sour cream. Then add other seasonings, like herbs, spices, garlic, salt and pepper, to taste and shake it up. Homemade dressings keep in the fridge for a week or more.
Research suggests that potential cancer-fighting compounds, such as beta-carotene found in veggies like carrots and broccoli, are better absorbed by the body when you consume a little healthy fat along with them.
Here are two recipes for flavor-rich healthy dressings.
The toasted walnuts give this dressing its intensely savory taste. Serve over mixed greens or you can drizzle it over steamed vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower or carrots.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place walnuts on cookie sheet and toast in oven for 12 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes. In blender, combine olive oil, lemon juice and sage. Add cooled walnuts to blender. Purée to desired consistency; season to taste and serve over fresh salad greens, or steamed vegetables.
Makes 6 servings (1 Tbsp. each).
Per serving: 112 calories, 12 g total fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 1 g carbohydrate, 1 g protein, 0 g dietary fiber, 0 mg sodium.
A creamy, cool topping, this dressing tastes good on roasted vegetables or hot portobello mushroom sandwich. Refrigerated, it will keep up to one week.
In blender, purée cucumber, yogurt, olive oil, feta cheese, cumin, dill, salt and pepper together. Tossed with greens; serve.
Makes 12 servings (2 Tbsp. each).
Per serving: 38 calories, 3 g total fat (1 g saturated fat), 1 g carbohydrate, 1 g protein, 0 g dietary fiber, 45 mg sodium.All active news articles