Healthy Cooking Thursday: Roasted Garlic Dressing

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Few dishes are as divinely fragrant to prepare (and devilishly simple) as roasted garlic.  Whenever I make this healthy recipe at our women's weight loss program, I invariably am asked, "What were you making that smells so amazing?" from the ladies who were working out in the room above our kitchen.

The resulting dressing is a great addition to many dishes.  I like to heat it up briefly in a small pan and then pour it over baby spinach or arugala.  The greens wilt as they are coated in the garlicky goodness, becoming a beautiful foundation for a lovely piece of fish or poultry.  Stir this dressing into some quinoa or rice just as it is finishing cooking for a sultry side dish.  Or use it as a marinade for tofu, lamb, poultry, salmon, or a lean cut of beef.  I don't know about you, but my mouth is watering just thinking about the possibilities!

Roasted Garlic Dressing – yields about 1 1/4 cups

1 bulb of organic garlic *

3/4 cup olive oil (not extra-virgin)

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/8 cup water

1 teaspoon honey (or sweetener of your choice)

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

pinch of dry oregano

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat an oven to 375 degrees farenheit.  Chop the stem side of the garlic off so that almost all of the cloves are peeking out (see photo above).  Place the bulb in a small oven-safe pan or dish, cut side up, and pour the olive oil over the bulb.  * If you cannot find organic garlic, you can substitute conventional, but I would recommend removing all the skin from the cloves and simply putting the cloves in the oil before baking.  Roast for 20-30 minutes or until the garlic is softened; it is best to check it with a thin sharp knife or a wooden skewer.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool to the touch.

Squeeze the softened cloves of garlic out of the bulb and into a blender.  Add the lemon juice, water, honey, and dry mustard; puree.  Add the olive oil which the garlic roasted in and blend.  Remove from the blender and stir in the dry oregano and salt and pepper to taste; be aware that the flavor of this dressing will intensify as it sits when considering how much salt to add.  This dressing can be thinned out by adding additional water.

For you die-hard fans of garlic, here is yet another reason to visit Vermont in the early fall:  The Annual Southern Vermont Garlic and Herb Festival is happening on September 4 & 5 in Bennington, in the southwestern corner of the state.  Many different varieties of garlic, from the sweet to the spicy, are available for sale, as well as everything from garlic jelly to garlic ice cream.  And while you are in the area, swing by and visit our healthy weight loss program to see how you can continue to enjoy that ice cream and jelly and maintain your health.  :)

How do you like to use roasted garlic?

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