Taking a Healthier Step
Oil and vinegar? At what cost? In this modern day and age, when our schedules are more hectic and busier than ever, it is no surprise that we are all looking for ways to cut down on food preparation time. The preparation of healthy, all natural food takes a backseat to the other things that are going on in our lives and more often than not, in order to make things easier for us, we end up buying food that is commercially prepared. And although these ready-made foods are helpful in ways, they may actually cause us more harm than good, without us even realizing it.
One very good example of our corner-cutting ways is buying ready made salad dressing. Commercially prepared dressings are made with a lot of additives, preservatives, damaged and damaging polyunsaturated oils, and even hydrogenated fats. All these unhealthy substances can be found, and we actually purchase it, without knowing how unhealthy it actually is. Most people look at salad dressing as a complicated mixture and to make the effort to actually prepare your own homemade dressing is too much of a hassle. But contrary to this popular belief, salad dressing is incredibly easy to make. The basic ingredients? A healthy fat, an acid, and an emulsifier if you are aiming for a creamier dressing.
Try this simple vinaigrette recipe and prove it to yourself that making your own healthy salad dressing is a piece of cake: take the juice of half a lemon, squeezing it into a small bowl. This will serve as the acid of the mixture. Next, add in a tablespoon of Dijon mustard, which will be the emulsifier for this dressing. Finally, take a cup of extra virgin olive oil and incorporate it into the mixture; slowly drizzle it into your mixture of lemon juice and mustard while continuously and vigorously whisking. After mixing all the olive oil, all you have to do is season your dressing with salt and pepper and you’ve got yourself a rich and creamy dressing that literally just took less than five minutes to prepare.
Maybe you are wondering what an emulsifier is? What is the mustard for? Well, an emulsifier acts as a binder between the oil and acid (lemon juice or vinegar), helping to keep them together. Aside from Dijon mustard, an egg yolk is another versatile ingredient that is used as an emulsifier; you can even use a combination of the two to make a really rich and creamy dressing. Always remember, though, that you always mix the acid and emulsifier first, followed by any other ingredients, and finally the oil. It may also be a good idea to use an electric mixer instead of whisking the dressing by hand; this will speed up the process and save you from tiring your arm!
This simple recipe is a basic recipe and modifications to this are endless. You can play up your vinaigrette by adding your favorite herbs to the mix, chopping them finely to attain the ultimate flavor. Add some anchovy paste, chopped garlic, or even some chopped capers and you’ve got yourself a Caesar dressing. You can even infuse your dressing with fruit flavors, such as grapefruit juice for a grapefruit vinaigrette or some mashed raspberry for a raspberry vinaigrette. The acid in your dressing can also be substituted and changed; instead of plain old lemon juice, try using balsamic vinegar, or any other flavored vinegar for an interesting change.
So whenever you reach for that packet on the supermarket shelf, think again. With this simple recipe, it makes purchasing those synthetically flavored dressings unnecessary. And with little imagination and creativity, you can come up with unique concoctions that may even be far better than what can be found in the pack. Not only does this recipe keep you away reprocessed food, this proves that delicious, simple food is possible – an invaluable addition to your table.
oil and vinegar, healthy eating, vinaigrette