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Homemade fat-free/low-fat salad dressings


Malawry
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I work as a chef feeding a sorority house. My girls are enjoying the homemade vinaigrettes and ranch dressing I've been feeding them but some of them want something a little lighter or better yet fat-free. I'm open to trying some things. Today I made a low-fat honey mustard dressing which tasted great but was way too thin...I used vegetable stock instead of oil, and added a little sour cream to make it creamy. I make chicken stock but don't want to put it in dressings, since many of the girls are vegetarian. What else can I do to give these dressings more body? I'd rather not spooge them full of fat-free yogurt (ick).

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Rice wine vinegar-seasoned or unseasoned as you like-makes a great "base" for lowfat, nonfat, spa dressings. Mild enough not to be overpowering. add a little lemon juice and/or balsamic, a touch of evo or veg stock and ready to roll. Also puree w fresh herbs for herbal vins.

For body try pureeing with tofu-sounds gross but works. Also look at bean pastes, you won't need much. Mock creme fraiche from buttermilk is another "low fat" alternative.

Sounds like you/they want a creamy dressing with out the baggage :(no fun there.

hth, danny

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This may sound gross, but bear with me.

One of my favorite dressings is grapefuit juice and goat cheese. (Came about after having a salad with a grapefruit vinaigrette and, obviously, some goat cheese.) Sometimes I just make the cheese/juice into its own dressing. Gets very creamy.

Since goat cheese isn't low-fat, I'm thinking you could try neufchatel and add something tangy -- maybe a little more acid -- to mock the goaty taste. Add some chopped tarragon.

amanda

Googlista

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I've made passable ranch dressings using low fat tofu....just stick in the blender with some rice vinegar and dijon, a pinch of salt. It turns out pretty good.

For more ideas, check out Dana Jacobi's book: Soy!

It has lots of great ideas for tofu: you don't even know that it's in the dishes.

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You might check out the book A New Way to Cook by Sally Schneider -- she has some great ideas for lowfat/nonfat dressings (and all kinds of sauces).

Some ideas to experiment with:

Dijon mustard is a great thickening and flavoring agent in lowfat dressings.

Try lowfat or nonfat yogurt as a base for "creamy" dressings -- especially with fresh herbs. And if you want something thicker, just drain the yogurt for a few hours and you'll end up with a cream cheese like consistency.

The rice vinegar idea is a good one. Also, balsamic vinegar (the cheap sort) is a good choice for vinaigrettes because it's so much sweeter than other varieties it needs a lot less oil to balance it out. Orange juice and balsamic is a good combination for low fat salad dressings.

If your girls like oriental style dressings, you can do great things with hoisin, soy, rice vinegar and a little tiny bit of toasted sesame oil for texture and flavor.

Finally, I don't think chicken broth is the way to go with dressings -- I've tried a couple of recipes that call for it but found them to be very odd tasting -- all the sudden the chicken flavor becomes very apparent.

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from one of my Eating Well Cookbooks here are some tips for reducing fat in salad dressings:

1. use tea

use equal amounts of strong brewed Earl Grey tea, EVOO, and wine vinegar or lemon juice, the recipe also adds dijon, garlic and herbs

2. mellow vinegars

basalmic and raspberry vinegars need less oil because they are less acidic

3.fruit juice or nectar

they list apricot nectar or orange or cranberry juice as the best choices

4.buttermilk or cottage cheese

for creamy dressings

5.grating tomatoes

grate two vine ripened tomatoes and mix with 1 T each of EVOO and red wine vinegar, herbs and garlic

6. non-fat yogurt

7. roast garlic

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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I have a 300-gram jar of Signature Secrets Culinary Thickener (read: modified food starch) I received as a sample. I would be more than happy to unload, um, I mean, send it to you, if you like. It actually does work as a thickener in cold liquids as well as hot. PM me if you're interested. :biggrin:

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  • 18 years later...

I'm looking for simple, healthy salad dressings that keep well in the fridge and are light on oil. 

Too many purchased dressings are full of fat, or worse, sugar.  Thanks.

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This is a dressing that I always have in my refrigerator. I've used it for three bean salads and it also makes a pretty good coleslaw. It's good for green salads and the traditional Greek salad. The oil quantity could definitely be reduced to suit your need.

 

Fabulous Greek/House Dressing

24 servings

 

1 1/2 cups olive oil

1 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder

1 1/2 tablespoon oregano

1 1/2 tablespoon dried basil

1 tablespoon pepper

1 tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard

2 cups red wine vinegar

 

In a large container, mix together the olive oil, garlic powder, oregano, basil, pepper, salt, and Dijon-style mustard. Pour in the vinegar, and mix vigorously until well blended. Store tightly covered at room temperature.

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I was just thinking about starting a thread on favourite salad dressings so good timing.

 

To reduce the fat content of your dressing you can try substituting up to 1/3 of the oil in a recipe with a cornstarch thickened slurry which is the same consistency as oil.  Play around with the quantities and also the liquid.  You can use chicken stock to give it a bit more flavour.  

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1 minute ago, Okanagancook said:

chicken stock

That would be great for a dressing that you are going to use immediately but I would be pretty wary about keeping it for any length of time.

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Here are a couple of collections of salad dressings you might peruse.

 

Click -- you have to answer a two-question survey before it lets you see it, but no signing up or anything.

 

Also lots of dressings here.

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Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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I've never followed the standard 'ratio' that so many say is the golden rule. Way too much oil for us. When I lived in Rome' 85-'86, way before asking for dressing on the side was standard popular, fresh harvested greens, arugula, etc, were heavily glugged and tossed in olive oil and finished with a handful of corse salt. Soo salty. Nothing like getting yelled at in Italian that that is the way we serve it. 😜

Same with butter basted eggs, steak, etc. Or mashed potatoes with cream cheese, heavy cream and 3 sticks of butter. My BIL makes everything overload. One thanksgiving we each made mashed potatoes. My SIL who does not cook did the cuisinart method--wall paper paste. BIL did his overload. I did a simple yogurt, fresh roasted garlic, a bit of butter. 

Same with dressings. Keep it simple and no need to overload the oils. 

My favorite this Spring/summer is fresh herbs, lemon, chili crisp, toasted sesame oil, unseasoned organic rice wine vinegar. If I want a bit creamy I add a half avocado or a big heaping tBsp of greek yogurt. Or both. Blendered. Oils are background 1/4 or less. 

Nothing to do with a low fat diet...I just don't care for oily/buttery foods. 

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kayb:  Thanks for the dressing collections.  I especially like the sound of the Jelly Jar dressing. Lots of good ideas.  Thanks again.  lkm

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I especially like using rice vinegar for salad dressings and for marinating beans.  I keep a jar of cannallini or red beans or both (with sweet pepper chunks and diced celery) in the fridge.  I add a bit of honey or sugar or even leftover light syrup from canned fruit plus the rice vinegar, and some chopped chives.  The beans are especially refreshing in the summer.  I don't use oil at all for this. 

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This is my favorite. Addictive, and it keeps for weeks. It's all about the vinegar: if you don't have a local source for great sherry vinegar I recommend ordering from Despaña.

 

To make ~360g / ~12 fl oz
180g neutral oil
5g garlic clove
5g dijon mustard
1.5g salt
1.5g black pepper
0.2g xanthan gum (optional)
35g Pedro Jiminez sherry vinegar
35g Palomino sherry vinegar
~60g Water (to adjust consistency)
 

Blast it together with a stick blender. I recommend adding all the solid ingredients to the oil, blending until it's pureed, then blending in the vinegars, and finally blend in water just until the consistency is right. 

 

If you use xanthan, it probably won't separate.

 

You could use 100% pedro jiminez vinegar if you like, but that makes a bit too sweet for my tastes. The 50/50 blend is just right.

 

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Notes from the underbelly

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8 hours ago, paulraphael said:

This is my favorite. Addictive, and it keeps for weeks. It's all about the vinegar: if you don't have a local source for great sherry vinegar I recommend ordering from Despaña.

 

To make ~360g / ~12 fl oz
180g neutral oil
5g garlic clove
5g dijon mustard
1.5g salt
1.5g black pepper
0.2g xanthan gum (optional)
35g Pedro Jiminez sherry vinegar
35g Palomino sherry vinegar
~60g Water (to adjust consistency)
 

Blast it together with a stick blender. I recommend adding all the solid ingredients to the oil, blending until it's pureed, then blending in the vinegars, and finally blend in water just until the consistency is right. 

 

If you use xanthan, it probably won't separate.

 

You could use 100% pedro jiminez vinegar if you like, but that makes a bit too sweet for my tastes. The 50/50 blend is just right.

 

 

Thank you for the link.  I think.  I cringe at $300 for free shipping.

 

Cooking is cool.  And kitchen gear is even cooler.  -- Chad Ward

 

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I find Dijon mustard in works well for a lot of things and it is really low calorie.  Perhaps something like dijon, vinegar, seasoning to taste and perhaps cottage cheese (nonfat).  Use a blender to mix it all together.  This would keep it low in calories, creamy and strong in taste.  Feel free to sweeten it some with a little stevia or something if you like.  I haven't tried this yet, but after writing I just might lol.

Check out my list of unique recipes I have collected from all over!

Local Food Recipes by Country

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