Let’s Talk Salad Dressing

The one piece of advice every single “diet” or “healthy lifestyle”–regardless of origin or pseudoscientific status–can agree on is that you must eat more vegetables to get healthy, lose weight, clear your skin, clear brain fog…whatever.  Like my Dad say, “Salad is the most important meal of the day.”OK.  Got it.

It’s too easy to start eating more veggies and salads at every meal.  I even eat salads for breakfast.  But what of the creamy/vinegar-y/tangy toppers we know and love?  Most commercial salad dressings are full of crap in all senses possible.  Let’s take Hidden Valley Ranch dressing, a rich and delicious staple of my childhood.  Oh, and they’ve got the cutest commercials…what’s not to love?

“Vegetable oil, egg yolk, sugar, salt, buttermilk, spices, garlic, onion, vinegar, phosphoric acid, xanthan gum, modified food starch, MSG, artificial flavors, disodium phosphate, sorbic acid, calcium disodium EDTA, disodium inosinate and disodium guanylate”


Um…yeah.

What’s more, even most “organic” or “all natural” dressings are full of some crazy sh*t, too.  For our first Whole30, The Man and I scoured the aisles of Whole Foods in search of an acceptable salad dressing.  Even the ones without ant crazy additives seemed to be canola or soy based…oy vey.

If you’re like The Man, you’d just throw your hands up and star eating your salads sans dressing and call it good.  Me?  I refuse to admit defeat.  I know the guys over at Whole9 would probably be utterly disgusted with my inability to give up something so Neolithic as salad dressing, but what can I say?  I just can’t palate raw greens without a little…something.

For the longest time, I would just toss some fresh-squeezed orange juice or balsamic (lemon juice is too sour for me) on my salads, then it was plain tahini or home-made baba ghanoush for a while…and they were all well and good but I’m the kind of person who appreciates options…which is why I’m sharing the next two recipes with you.

I may have mentioned The Man’s and my Sunday-yoga-followed-by-lunch-at-Whole-Foods habit.  Whole Foods, despite its vegan agenda, has a pretty legit salad bar and I haven’t had a dressing I didn’t like.  It kills me that you can’t buy their in-house dressings, but luckily they have all the ingredients right there on the labels for you to see.  I was inspired by two of my favorites, tweaked them a little to make them Paleo-friendly, then made about a gallon’s worth of each through trial and error before I found the perfect combo.

Tahini-Date Dressing

10-12 Pitted Dates, chopped
2 c. Boiling Water
1/3 c. Rice Vinegar
3 T Nutritional Yeast
1 Garlic Clove
1 t grated fresh ginger
1 t black pepper
1/2 c. Tahini

Soak dates in boiling water for 15 minutes.  Toss dates, 1 c. of the hot soaking liquid, and all other ingredients into a blender and blend on high until smooth.  Makes about 2 1/2 cups of dressing.

Creamy Balsamic Dressing

10-12 Pitted Dates, chopped
2 c. Boiling Water
1 c. Balsamic Vinegar
3 T Nutritional Yeast
1 Garlic Clove

Soak dates in boiling water for 15 minutes.  Toss dates, 1/4 c. of the hot soaking liquid, and all other ingredients into a blender and blend on high until smooth.  Makes about 1 1/2 cups of dressing.

*Note:  I save bottles and jars (from salsa, tomato sauce, etc) and keep my dressings in them.  Recycle!

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