Who doesn’t like a well-dressed salad? I know I do. But, sometimes you have to consider that the number of calories in each tablespoon of salad dressing can undo the healthful impact of salad and other greens that may accompany your meal. So, what do you do? To cut calories, forgo the creamy salad dressings. Avoid processed salad dressings. Even if they’re prepared as “light” or “fat free,” these salad dressings may still have more calories in each tablespoon than, say, Italian dressings and vinaigrettes.
You can do more to cut back on the calories and trans fats in your salad dressings by using olive, canola or sunflower oils. Ratchet up your use of herbs and flavored vinegars to give your low calorie salad dressings that extra punch. Balsamic vinegar is an excellent flavor enhancer and, like other vinegars, easy on the waistline. I also like herb-enhanced olive oils, so feel free to throw some fresh-from-the-garden, basil, thyme, hot peppers – whatever works – into your next jar of olive oil. Sometimes, you can sprinkle a few chopped nuts or fresh parsley on top of your dressing or vinaigrette to give your salads some extra flavor and texture. I also recommend that you consider adding fruit, like orange, tangerine, grapefruit, among others, to your homemade salad dressing for some added zest.
Ready for your next salad? Try these zesty and delicious low calorie salad dressing recipes. Sure to make your next salad a family-favorite!
Balsamic Vinaigrette Extraordinaire
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp light brown sugar (optional)
1 clove garlic, pushed through a garlic press (optional)
¼ tsp fresh parsley or other herbs
1/2 tsp salt (sea salt optional)
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
In a medium bowl whisk balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, brown sugar, garlic, parsley, salt, and pepper until well-combined. Slowly add olive oil and whisk until smooth.
Zesty Lemon Squeeze Vinaigrette
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp of juice from freshly squeezed lemon (or lemon juice from bottle)
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
3/4 tsp fresh thyme (or dry)
1 clove garlic, minced or pushed through a garlic press
3/4 tsp coarse salt (or sea salt)
1 pinch of black peppercorns (or black pepper)
In a medium bowl, whisk olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, thyme, garlic, salt and black pepper. Chill slightly. Serve at room temperature. Whisk or stir just before serving. Use chopped, fresh parsley as garnish. Chopped walnuts or hazelnuts would also work in this light dressing.