Since we went WFPBNO (Whole-food, plant-based, no added oil) here, it's been a learning curve to figure out how to make a salad dressing that was tasty, fit the WFPBNO requirements, had the right 'mouthfeel' and wasn't difficult to make. I've been through a lot of variations, some better than others, but I believe I've finally hit on the right one.
These are just the start! I'm already thinking of a couple others that I can add!
Above: Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette
We prefer a vinaigrette to the thicker, creamier salad dressings because they're so nice and light. Creamy isn't hard. If that's what you love, just add your preferred flavor components to either my Vegan Oil-Free Mayonnaise or my Vegan Oil-free Heavy Cashew Cream. It works great, and they'll last in the fridge for at least a week to ten days.
I made a really good creamy dressing the other day - in a flash! - using some of my pepper sauce ( Whole Foods Olive bar Marinated Peruvian peppers + cherry tomatoes + food processor) and my Vegan Oil-free Heavy Cashew Cream. It was amazing.
Above: Creamy Peruvian Pepper dressing.
The nice thing about creamier dressings, is that they 'cling' to the salad components. So, if that's what you're after, I've given you the road map. Either my Cashew Cream or Mayonnaise would be killer with frozen avocado, for example. Herbs. Or, go Thai with a bit of Thai Red Curry paste. Why not Indian with just a bit of curry powder? See how that works? You don't need a refrigerator filled with sad half-empty, goopy bottles of salad dressing. Just have the Cashew Cream or Mayonnaise - then make something wonderful and different every night!
But back to vinaigrettes.
I've been making my own vinaigrette dressings forever. Learned the 'right' way to do it in France. Vinegar, Dijon mustard (an emulsifier that binds the oil and vinegar), fresh lemon juice, herbs, salt and pepper and extra virgin olive oil. I guess, my way is okay, since the kids in France always ask me to make the vinaigrette these days. But, leaving out the oil? That was a puzzle to be solved.
If you're new to this WFPBNO thing, you're probably puzzled about leaving out the oil. I always believed that oil - 'good' oil - was necessary and healthy. Olive oil in particular. It all comes down to what you're comparing that oil to. I'd read all about the benefits of the Mediterranean Diet, back in the day. And, since olive oil is a feature of that diet, I assumed, like many others, that it was 'healthy'. Not so much. Yes, EVOO is healthy - only when compared to other oils - and the real health benefits of the Mediterranean Diet actually come from the fruits, vegetables, legumes and grains that are a large part of the diet.
Any sort of oil has been shown to cause a constant and significant decrease in endothelial function after meals. You can watch an interesting video about oils, produced by Dr. Michael Greger on his website, NutritionFacts.org. And, there is considerable discussion about added oils in the Netflix documentary, The Game Changers.
Adding plants to a fatty meal has been shown to decrease the damage done by the oils. But, why add oils in the first place? Especially considering that they don't contribute anything other than calories? Pourable oils are highly refined and stripped of the fiber and other nutrients to be found in their original 'packages' - olives and nuts, for example.
Perhaps, now, you understand my mission to develop salad dressings/vinaigrettes without added, pour-able, highly refined oil. I get any 'oil' or fat from the nuts, seeds, fruits (avocado).
Here are my three favorite oil-free vinaigrette dressings for you:
Oh, and BTW: I love these 8.5-ounce swing-top bottles! They're just perfect for these dressings!
Oil-free Balsamic Maple Vinaigrette Recipe
Oil-free Herbed White Balsamic Vinaigrette
Oil-free Maple Miso Vinaigrette
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