Ahhh spring is approaching, celebrate the turn of the season with lighter, more colorful and healthy food. Those vegetables need to be dressed with care! Bring out the delicate flavors and nutrients with simple and natural ingredients. It doesn’t take great knowledge or a food chemistry lab to enhance your favorite gala of greens! We have two dazzling, mouthwatering yet easy recipes but first, let’s discuss this go-to bottle that we may need to reconsider this year.
Nothing kills the delicate flavors of a fresh salad like unnatural and “factory” ingredients.
We are all becoming more and more aware of the strategies of processed food companies…. having to use their complete arsenal of low grade/refined fats and oils, copious amounts of salts, sugars, sugars and more sugars, fake flavors, caramels (deemed toxic in California) and colors to make store bought salad dressings have appeal.
Flip over your bottle or packet and really look at what you are eating or feeding your family.
- Canola Oil and/or Soybean Oil: These are both cheaper and less flavorful and less healthy than olive oil and are usually the dominant ones in commercial dressings. If the label says, “Made with Extra Virgin Olive Oil”, it means that EVOO is in the dressing, but is not always the primary oil and do we know the farms or regions of this Extra Virgin Olive Oil? IS it fresh? Because if it is not fresh you are probably not receiving health benefits. Most Soy and Canola oils are GMO.
- MSG: Flavor enhancer that though believed to be safe for most people, is so powerful at enhancing flavors, that it just tastes fake.
- Fat-free: Not an ingredient but a “claim” on the label that should serve as a warning sign to avoid it. High quality fats (like olive oil) enhance the taste of the salad, so you’ll eat more of your vegetables! Moreover, fat soluble vitamins, such as vitamin A, found in spinach and carrots, need fat molecules to be absorbed. No fat, no absorption of Vitamin A. Fat-free dressings usually contain more sugars and carbohydrates, more thickeners and more flavorings. Good Fats are Good for the body and the nutrient absorption.
- Potasium Sorbate: A preservative. Homemade dressing will keep for weeks in your cold fridge but will not keep for months in a warm warehouse or grocery shelf.
- Polysorbate 60: An emulsifier that keeps the ingredients together. Shaking homemade dressing also keeps the ingredients together.
- Caramel Color: We encounter it so often that we don’t even notice it. Colas have it, so does imitation maple syrup, some condiments, many balsamic vinegars (NOT Vrisi36, we are caramel free!), brownish colored salad dressings, many breads and packaged baked goods and almost all brown liquids sold on a shelf. Problem is – it’s toxic, in large amounts, or over time. It contains a contaminant 4-methylimidazole that is known to cause cancer. California has officially listed it as a toxic ingredient (as of January 2011), and there is a proposal to ban it or require labels to state that it is known to be toxic.** Other countries and states are looking into this labeling requirement, (although big money companies fight labeling requirements.) If it doesn’t hurt us why does it matter that it is on the label
- Natamycin: acts as a preservative or antifungal (Banned at Whole Foods, if you have this in your product, Whole Foods will not sell it)
- Calcium Disodium EDTA: preservative; prevents air from spoiling food products, known to cause skin reactions and GI upset. It us currently under investigation by the FDA for mutagenic or reproductive effects.
- Sodium Benzoate: preservative, research links to hyperactivity and behavior problems in children
Those are more, so why even bother with serving that stuff? Make your own, so easy.
Back to basics, back to mother nature, all natural and all flavorful. Creamy, dreamy, tangy, intricate and sophisticated and did we say EASY? No excuses with this one, ditch that store bought dressed to kill bottle for an easy go-to, healthy alternative for you and your family.
1/4 cup plain Fage Greek yogurt
1/4 cup Vrisi36 balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup Vrisi36 olive oil
2 T honey
salt & pepper, to taste
Combine all ingredients in a bowl or jar and shake or whisk until combined and
smooth. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Also fresh, crushed garlic clove
may be added. Adjust to desired consistency by adding more yogurt.
You may use Viris36 Oregano Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil and omit the dried oregano.
Remember this is a guide. You may like more honey, or thicker (add more yogurt)… Add and delete to your taste’s delight!
Easy Lemon Vinaigrette
1 small jar (use a recycled jar, I always save jars from everything)
1 lemon (lemons produce three to four Tbs. juice)
Vrisi36 Extra Virgin Olive Oil (double the amount of lemon juice)
Salt (optional) and Pepper
Squeeze lemon juice in jar, add oil and shake. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. That’s it.
What’s your favorite healthy and homemade dressing? [gravityform id=”1″ name=”Vrisi Contact Form”]