Any salad is enhanced with a dressing which brings the flavors alive and there are as many salad dressings to conjure up as there are different salads to try. However as many people turn to healthier eating all the good intentions of eating a healthy salad can be to no avail if the salad is doused with chemicals, sugars and preservatives.
The healthiest salad dressings are without doubt the ones which you mix yourself and they take very little time to prepare. They can be whisked or shaken for excellent results and if you don’t fancy making one daily they will keep in a bottle in the fridge.
As I live in the land of olive oil I only ever use extra virgin olive oil in my salad dressings, and nothing tastes as good. The health benefits of olive oil are well documented: it is an essential monounsaturated oil which lowers cholesterol and reduces the risk of heart disease. It is full of oleic acid which is now believed to reduce the risk of breast cancer, and is packed with antioxidants.
As an essential part of any healthy diet is healthy fat I never worry about the calorie content of olive oil and use as much as I fancy. It is worth the extra dollars and will work out cheaper than buying commercial dressings with fancy labels describing the artificial sugars and chemicals within.
Anything can be combined with olive oil to make a wonderful salad dressing, or it can be used just as it is. Here is a selection of things you can combine with olive oil to give your salads the perfect and healthiest tastes. If combined with something else such as vinegar use 1 part olive oil to 3 parts vinegar.
1. Olive oil and lemon juice, simplicity itself.
2. Balsamic vinegar, a touch of honey, and olive oil.
3. Dijon mustard, salt and pepper, white wine vinegar and olive oil.
4. The juice of an orange, a touch of honey, and olive oil.
5. Red wine vinegar, olive oil, and pomegranate seeds. Really it goes well with green salad.
6. Roasted garlic, lemon juice and olive oil. Here is a link to roast garlic. http://www.helium.com/items/1821613-how-to-roast-garlic-in-the-oven
7. Olive oil with fresh basil leaves and sea salt.
8. Low fat mayonnaise, mustard, tomato puree, Tabasco sauce, black pepper and olive oil: This is my rich creamy hot indulgence to stir into prawn salads.
9. Sherry vinegar, fresh grated ginger and olive oil.
10.Try herbal infused olive oils which are easily prepared and should be stored in dark bottles out of the sunlight: Here is a link to some ideas for infused oils: http://www.helium.com/items/1828747-how-to-make-infused-oils
Salad dressings are so incredibly easy to prepare and the simplest combination can enrich a salad so the wonderful fresh flavors marry with the dressing. Don’t be afraid to experiment and add seasonings. Always taste as you whisk to see if it needs more oil, vinegar, honey or herbs. If you keep bottles of red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, balsamic and sherry vinegar on hand you will soon discover your own favourites and come up with your own combinations.
Make the most of fresh summer salads by choosing the healthiest dressings. Look out for Greek extra virgin olive oil if you can, as it really is the best.