The scene of lots of fiber filled veggies isn’t always mouth watering, but a solid dressing over top can make them so. Making your own salad dressings is as easy as picking a fat source (nuts, seeds, olive oil, and avocado) and another element or two to thin it and bring in acidity, sweetness, and other balancing flavors to whatever suits your palette. This could be vinegar, fresh citrus juice, or a blended vegetable or fruit. Doing this creates a world of opportunity for making your bounty of vegetables even more nutrient dense and delicious.
I’ve been whipping up my own dressings for a few years now after I finally started looking at ingredient labels versus caloric content. Bottled salad dressings immediately took on the unappealing image of chemical goop after reading that ingredient list. I would go as far to say as the standard bottled dressing made it more difficult and unsatisfying to eat salad than it has been since mixing up my own. I think when you have another element of control in making your food taste amazing the experience of eating gains another dimension of enjoyment. Plus, this is just another opportunity for creativity based on whatever you have in your fridge.
This may be trite information, but choosing a creamy dressing like America’s favorite ranch or thousand island to coat your vegetables with seems to defeat the purpose of eating those healthful foods-needless to say if you are just starting out trying to eat your vegetables and this is the only way you can feasibly do it, look for your best natural ingredient based option. Various preservatives and stabilizers that make these processed dressings maintain unnatural longevity are the primary concern; eliminating these is just one more processed food that can be replaced with a whole foods option. Think of how much space you’ll save in your refrigerator door! Your jarred creations will be much more attractive to look at as well as economical.
My salad dressing adventures started simply in mixing a bit of lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Then things got a little creative with a pour of apple cider vinegar in the leftover bits of a hummus container, and now I’m blending up whole vegetables and herbs with nut and seed butters to create super fun and multidimensional flavored dressings. In this recipe, using the squash creates a thick, full bodied consistency that cuts the amount of fat you would have to use otherwise.
(I used all of this for one meal sized salad)
1 green onion
1 garlic clove
1 small summer squash
1 tsp capers
3 tbs soaked cashews
Handful of fresh dill
Squeeze of lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
1/ Chop squash roughly and place in food processor with all other ingredients. Pulse with a very small amount of water to start and add lemon/water to your desired consistency. Serve over top your greens, protein, whatever you like!