Friday, May 30, 2008

Healthier, Less Expensive - Make Your Own Salad Dressings!

A lot of the information I read about high fructose corn syrup is not 'good news'. For one, before they started using it foods for human consumption it was used to fatten animals...that is exactly what I do NOT need! It's in all sorts of foods I wouldn't expect to find it in, including salad dressings. So, for health reasons, we started exploring making our own salad dressings. Turns out it's a moneysaver too.

Once we figured out we were going to do this, I saved the salad dressing and barbecue sauce bottles. Even the ones with the 'squirt tops' can be cleaned out - I just pry out that inner cap and wash the bottles. If you don't have old salad dressing bottles, you can use canning jars or recycle jars from other foods (olive jars, etc.)

Here are a couple of recipes for dressings we like. Note that one of them calls for catsup, and most catsups have - you guessed it - high fructose corn syrup in them. So, you can either start making your own catsup (which I will be doing once we finish the last bottle we have on hand) or just know that you're on your way to 'better'. That's where we are right now - as we use up things like salad dressings, catsup, barbecue sauce, we are learning to make them at home, from ingredients we can pronounce.

Russian Dressing

This is sort of like a 'catalina' type dressing, but with a little more 'oomph'. To me, the worcestershire is a bit strong - you might want to make it with half the amount, taste it, then decide if you want more. This recipe is very slightly modified. I got it from the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook, the one that was new in 1982.

If you're making this into an old salad dressing bottle, pop in a funnel and add the dry ingredients first. In a jar, it doesn't matter. Combine all the following in a bottle or jar:
2/3 c. salad oil (I used olive oil)
1/2 c. catsup
1/4 c. sugar
3 T. lemon juice
2 T. worcestershire sauce
2 T. vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
2 T. water
1 t. onion powder
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. paprika

Shake, shake, shake. Chill. Shake before serving. Makes 1 3/4 cups. Little Sweetie LOVES this stuff!

And I love this one. It's also a wonderful marinade.

Asian Dark Sesame Dressing

Dark sesame oil is not for cooking - it's for flavoring. You'll find it in the Asian aisle of most supermarkets, or in Asian stores. If you add toasted sesame seed to this dressing, it is fabulous. Sesame seeds are less than $4 for a 2 lb. bag in Asian and Indian stores in my area, so we can afford to put them in everything! Also, rice vinegar is sweeter, and....weaker?....than the vinegar we use for pickling and for many dressings and sauces. It's a little more pricey, but you don't use much. Once you buy the few ingredients you might not have on hand for this dressing, you can make many, many batches of it!

Combine the following in a bottle or jar:
2 T. brown sugar
2 t. soy sauce
1 T. dark sesame oil
1/4 c. salad oil (I use olive oil)
3 T. rice vinegar
2 t. toasted sesame seeds (optional, but awesome)

Just like the last recipe - shake, shake, shake! Chill...and shake before serving. Makes about half a cup. Don't be afraid to double or triple the recipe if you like it!

Those two are the current favorites - I hope you like them too! If y'all like these and want other recipes for other types of dressing, let me know and I'll post more, OK?


stacey said...

i would love more salad dressing recipes, especially low fat ones!

desert said...

the second one sounds awesome, i think i will try it as a marinade for some chickenbreast.
you rock!
can't wait for you to post more.

Toni Toni Toni said...

That Asian dressing sounds amazing!! My absolutely favorite salad dressing is so simple. Olive oil, white balsamic vinegar (so good if you can get this, it's so worth it), salt and pepper. I could seriously drink this stuff!

tenthingsfarm said...

I'll have to try that some time, Toni! D, if you use it as a marinate, toss in some fresh green onion too - it really adds a nice flavor! Stacey, I'll see what I have in my recipe stash for you!

Hugs, y'all!

desert said...

the dressing toni wrote about is pretty much a standard dressing for everything in germany. try it with some fresh tomoatoes from the garden, some thinly sliced onions, and fresh basil...HEAVEN !!


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