Nutrition: salad dressings

Tuesday 08 May 2018

Now for a complete change of pace. We are now in mid-July, the weather has been glorious, and it is a time when salad ingredients are at their best. I thought that I would focus this blog on ‘salad dressings’. They can be very simple to make, keep well in the fridge, and can liven up a salad turning it into something really special.

Helps digestion and adds flavour
Traditionally salad dressings were designed to aid digestion and I suppose that is still true to a degree but the flavours can also add a different dimension to the salad ingredients. The recipes that I have included have all been tried and tested. Some are very light and others add not only flavour but extra nutrition to the salad.

Mustard dressing (but does not really taste mustardy!!!)

This recipe is one that I use a great deal because it is so simple but very tasty. I got it from Gordon Ramsay's Healthy Appetite.

This will keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks. It works well on more robust salads using spinach leaves, or red cabbage finely shredded with carrots and red onion like a slaw. I have also used it brushed over fish before grilling or baking. It certainly livens up a piece of plain cod.

Mix by shaking the ingredients together in a screw top jar:

3 tbsp of olive oil

1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar

3 tbsp of whole grain mustard

Dairy free Caesar salad

A dressing picked up from a cookery course that I went on some time ago.

You will need

½ tsp of mustard powder

2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar

3 tbsp of olive oil

3 tbsp of water

4 oz of cashew nuts

salt and pepper

Put all of the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. The cashews make the dressing smooth and creamy and of course add protein. The dressing could be flavoured even more with some crushed garlic, enough added for personal taste.

Again this will keep in the fridge for a week.

Spicy dressing (a light and easy  dressing from the book called Nourish by Christine Bailey.

I have used it on cold roasted vegetables left over from the night before. It goes well with vegetables like pumpkin, courgette, red onions and aubergine.

You will need

½ tsp of ground cumin

a pinch of paprika

2 tsps or raw honey or manuka honey

juice of 1 lemon

4 tblsps of olive oil

To make simply blend the ingredients together.

Asian Sweet and Sour dressing
A dressing with a definite oriental flavour, which is very pleasant. If you like the combination of sweet and sour you should enjoy this. I use this particular dressing with shredded red cabbage with grated carrot and red onion but also very often with some carrots and courgettes cut into ribbons with a potato peeler. It is also very good when cold chicken or hot cooked prawns are added to the salad.

You will need

½ red chilli finely diced or a pinch of dried chilli flakes for convenience

3 tbsp of rice vinegar

1 tbsp of lime juice

3 tbsp of maple syrup or honey

1 tsp of sesame oil

1 tbsp of tamari or soy sauce

1 tsp of minced root ginger or a pinch of ground ginger

Make the dressing by whisking all of the ingredients together. 

Nut dressing is a much more robust substantial dressing that really becomes an important part of the salad nutritionally. It adds flavour and a creamy texture. (from Christine Baileys Raw food cook book).

This dressing is good with lots of different vegetables that have been cut into julienne strips. It suits vegetables like carrots, peppers (different colours), courgettes and cucumber. Of course it can be used on any salad that you wish.

You will need

3 tbsp of almond butter

1 tbsp of lemon juice

1 tsp of xylitol

2 tbsps of tamari or soya sauce

2 tbsp of coconut butter melted

1 tsp of ground cumin

pinch of dried chilli flakes

80ml of water

To make this dressing simply blend all of the ingredients together. This will keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks but because it contains coconut butter it will set in the jar. When I use it I take a teaspoon of the set dressing and mix it in a cup with a little water to soften it for use.

Citrus dressing (tangy and fresh).This particular dressing is good with a combination of sliced red apple with the skin on, grated carrot, and shredded fennel. It is very refreshing and light.

You will need

2 tbsp of lemon juice

1 tsp of finely grated lemon zest

2 tsps of xylitol or runny honey

4 tbsp of hemp oil or flaxseed oil

1 handful of mint finely chopped

freshly ground black pepper

Again to make the dressing simply blend the ingredients together.

Sweet lime dressing  On a similar note to the citrus dressing this sweet lime dressing is also light but with a little bite. It works well with more robust salad leaves like rocket and spinach or even wilted kale. It can be simply drizzled over sliced tomatoes as a side salad.

You will need

juice of 2 limes

1 tbsp of xylitol

1 clove of garlic crushed

1 tbsp of chopped coriander

2 tsps of tamari or soya sauce

½ red chilli deseeded and chopped

Again put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix together.

Avocado dressing  This last dressing is almost a meal in itself. (Taken from the book The Raw Food Diet by Christine Bailey).  It is very good with wilted kale, cherry tomatoes cut in half, and raw sliced mushrooms.

You will need

2 ripe avocados pitted and skinned

3 tsps of tamari or soya sauce

1 very small white onion peeled and very finely chopped

pinch of smoked paprika

2 tbsp of flaxseed oil

2 tsps of xylitol

juice of 1 lime

Whiz the ingredients together in a blender.

There is quite a selection here. I hope that you try some as they certainly add to a salad. Remember to wash your salad ingredients well. If you do use these and discover other uses for them then do let me know. As I wrote earlier, I quite often use some of them as a marinade for fish before I cook it as well as for a salad dressing.

Blog originally written by Caroline July 2014 – updated April 2020

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