Posts tagged herbs and spices

Salads and Salad Dressings

Often when I “diet” or try to eat healthier, I find myself eating more produce.  More vegetables, more fruits, etc.  Salads are a natural option… but what if I only have two or three “salad” ingredients?  What if I don’t have lettuce?

And what about salad dressing?  That’s where the calories in a salad comes from, but it’s also where most of the flavor is as well.

Some things I’ve learned.

Salad: Even if you only have two ingredients, you can easily make a really awesome salad.  Even if one of the ingredients is not lettuce.

  • Spice up your salad with SPICES.  Rosemary, Dillweed, Garlic, Salt & Pepper, Sage, Thyme, etc.  Don’t go crazy–stick to one, maybe two spices, but it will add a ton of flavor and few (if any) calories to your salad.
  • Who needs lettuce?  One of my favorite salads is sliced Avocado in Balsamic Vinegar… Or avocado and tomatoes, tomatoes and cucumber, etc.  Once, I had *some* lettuce, but not enough for a “salad,” so I used basil leaves as flavorful filler lettuce leaves.  That turned out to be one of the best salads I’ve ever made.

Dressing:  A good dressing can make or break your salad, and also your caloric intake.  Do you know how incredibly easy it is to make your own salad dressing? And generally, they taste a whole lot better than store bought dressings… at least if you’re getting light dressing (nothing beats Ken’s Bleu Cheese in my world.)

I started making my own dressings when I had run out of balsamic viniagrette.  It’s just balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and spices right?  Pretty much.  You can make your own dressing by mixing anything acidic with anything oil-based.  Add herbs and spices for a twist.  Examples include:

  • balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt & pepper
  • lime juice, olive oil, cilantro
  • lemon juice, olive oil, and sage
  • red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt & pepper

Simple, right?  Well…  there are a lot of calories in Olive Oil…  and what if I’m craving a creamy dressing… like ranch… ?  Easy.  You could of course buy some light ranch at the store (*vomits* ever notice how disgusting those are.  Ew.)  Or…  use light sour cream instead of olive oil.  Most dressings are mayonnaise based.  I learned in making dips for parties that most of the good ones have a mayonnaise/cream cheese/sour cream base.  And usually… you can switch up which of the three you’re using.  Whenever I make spinach dip and it calls for mayo, I substitute sour cream.  It works wonderfully when making your own salad dressings.  A personal favorite…  Cilantro, lime, sour cream.  Nom nom nom.

Oh–and if you are craving ranch–I’d recommend a 16oz container of reduced fat sour cream and one of those Ranch Dressing packets.  Light, creamy, and delicious.

 

(Sorry, I forgot to take a pic until after I’d started eating…

This salad is:

  • Baby mixed greens & spinach
  • Cherry/Yellow cherry tomatoes from my garden
  • Cucumber from my garden
  • Red pepper
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Dillweed
  • Balsamic vinegar, reduced fat sour cream, salt & pepper dressing

(with a glass of ice water.)

 

Advertisements

Comments (4) »