Fit with Fave - Common Sense Changes for Better Eating - Girl of Cardigan

Sometimes I wonder what I’m trying to accomplish with the titles of these blogs.

Hello and welcome to FWF, week 14, in which we take a peek (it’s getting worse, isn’t it) at your salad dressing and decide that we can do better.  Salad is a pretty big part of your life now, after all, and dressing is a pretty crucial part of your salad experience.  WE’d best do it right.  So here’s your dare:  Stop buying salad dressing.

gulp.

You heard me.

Let’s look in your fridge.  Do you have some soy sauce in there?  Some mayo or veganaise?  A little yogurt?  How about the cabinet?  Some olive oil?  A little balsamic and red wine vinegar?  Some salt, pepper, sugar?  Yup.  You, my friend, have everything you need (maybe buy a lemon or some lemon juice) to whip together a dressing in no time.

And here’s the real catch – I’m not going to tell you exactly what to do.  Start by experimenting with oil and vinegar – can you get used to eating salad with a bit of olive oil and some balsamic?  If yes, awesome, there’s your home base.  If not, mix it up.  See what happens when you mix a little mayo into some soy sauce, or a little lemon and olive oil and a splash of honey, or just about anything else!  This is the safest, easiest way to figure out what the different spices, sauces, and oils in your kitchen actually taste like and actually do, and since you only need a little, you can screw up with no real consequences.  Start with a simple base (olive oil, a dollop of mayo, a dollop of yogurt) and season, mix, and add until you’re happy.  Want spice?  Mince some chipotle chiles and sneak them in there.  Love garlic?  Put it in everything!  The possibilities are only as limited as your imagination, and no entire meals are in jeopardy.  Everyone is a winner.

Here are some fun things to play around with:
Juice (apple, cranberry, grape?  Who knows!)
Cayenne pepper, chilies, jalapenos, and, of course, tons of garlic
Asian or hispanic sauces, like soy sauce, sesame oil, a touch of salsa, etc.
Yogurt and veganaise – love creamy salad dressing?  You can do that too!
Fresh herbs, like dill, basil, chives, or mint
Fruit purees or syrups or sweetners (just a little goes a looooong way)

Take your time weaning yourself off of your store bought thousand island, ranch, and blue cheese.  Maybe do some sleuthing and look up recipes for your favorite classic dressings, but remember that you are free to look beyond the typical seven or so your Denny’s waiter will offer you – you can do anything you want.  Wow.  Great power.  Great responsibility.

Go forth and be great.  Whisk on.  Kiss the bottle buh-bye.  Experiment, play, grow.  Live a little.

love.

  • Reply Laura Thurston August 19, 2013 at 9:09 pm

    OR don’t use any salad dressing and really taste what you are eating! Salad dressing is a treat for me once in a while.

    • Reply Noel August 20, 2013 at 11:48 am

      Hey Mom, I was going to add this comment further below, but since you brought it up… a lot of the health-promoting phytochemicals in vegetables, especially leafy greens, are fat soluble, so you need to eat them with a fat of some sort to realize the full health benefits. The best way to do this is nuts, so either just chop some nuts up and toss them on the salad, or make a salad dressing with a nut base. I’ve been experimenting with tahini and peanut butter-based dressings, but any nut butter could be really good. Of course, if you’re eating your salad with other items that have fat in them that works too. 🙂

  • Reply Nina August 19, 2013 at 9:15 pm

    I love me some homemade salad dressing. Tahini, soy sauce, garlic, black pepper, olive oil, sesame oil and balsamic or rice vinegar. YUM. I also like to make salad dressing with lots of mustard in it. Oh, and garlic. Did I mention garlic? I love garlic.

    • Reply karyn August 20, 2013 at 8:10 am

      Yes yes delicious!!

  • Reply Jeannie August 20, 2013 at 6:42 am

    Even easier than whisking… I always just throw a bunch of ingredients into a smallish mason jar and shake it up. I find that it’s easier to mix it all, especially when using sugar or honey. I also use a lot if Dijon mustard, cause I’m into that sort of thing. You gave me some great ideas to try!

    • Reply karyn August 20, 2013 at 8:08 am

      Yes! That’s a fabulous tip, and, duh, how could I forget Dijon mustard? Yum!!

  • Reply Lucas September 2, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    I don’t even have recipes for my favorite dressings. Olive oil, balsamic, salt and pepper is added to greens in that order, just enough of the liquids to dapple every surface, then a tiny bit of salt and really bear down on the pepper.

    Garlic and olive oil too, 1 clove, enough oil to dapple, mix, voraciously consume.

    Sometimes I will venture into cigarette land (uh, funny autocorrect there, I wrote vinaigrette), but usually I wish I’d just kept it simple. Unless I make homemade buttermilk ranch (with coconut based kefir in place of buttermilk), that’s always a semi disgusting delight.

  • Reply Jessica September 5, 2013 at 10:31 am

    Ooo. I like the comments here. I will have to try something with a peanut butter base and some dijon. Maybe not together. We’ll see. 😉
    My prob: I love a basic vinaigrette – olive oil & balsamic, maybe a splash of red wine vinegar – but I feel like the olive oil gives it a bitter taste. We are using good quality olive oil and balsamic. Anyone using a different oil for the base? Sesame is good, but definitely more of an asian taste….

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