Varying Your Oils & The Basic Dressing Formula
Guest Post by Janet Zimmerman, RD, Green Mountain Nutrition Intern
Do you ever make your own salad dressing? No doubt, olive oil is a go-to ingredient.
Olive oil and canola oil are both great options for making salad dressings. They are heart healthy because they contain omega 3s, which can help reduce inflammation, lower triglycerides and decrease blood pressure. These oils are also fairly neutral in flavor, so they readily take on the flavors of the vinegars or seasonings added to the dressings.
But, have you thought about using different oils from time to time? Today, I’m hoping to inspire you to branch out with oils; after all, there are so many to choose from!
Nutrition-wise, oils offer a lot of health benefits including monounsaturated fat, phytochemicals (like vitamin E), and alpha linolenic acid (omega 3s). Here is a list of high quality oil options to choose from below – each of these oils have a little different nutrition make-up.
Varying up the oils we use is like varying up our fruits and vegetables; if we use different oils from time to time, our bodies are getting different nutrients.
Varying up the oils we use is like varying up our fruits and vegetables; if we use different oils from time to time, our bodies are getting different nutrients. Some of the oils listed (flax seed and hemp) can have stronger flavors than your palate may prefer. If this is the case, try using a larger ratio of a neutral tasting oil and supplementing the rest with a different kind of oil so that your palate and body both get added benefit!
My Basic Salad Dressing Formula
- 3 parts high-quality oil
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Hempseed oil
- Flaxseed oil
- Peanut oil
- Pumpkin seed oil
- Pistachio oil
- Almond oil
- Avocado oil
- Walnut oil
- 1 part acid
- Vinegar - white wine, rice wine, red wine, balsamic, fig, or any others you want to try!
- Citrus Juice - lemon, lime, grapefruit, or orange
- Optional flavor enhancers
- Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- Fresh or dried herbs - thyme, oregano, basil, and cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes (for something spicy)
- Other flavorful add ins - finely minced garlic, ginger, or shallots; tomatoes, red bell pepper, fresh goat cheese, yogurt or tamari
- Emulsifier (to help keep the liquid and oil combined) – Dijon mustard, mustard seed, honey, maple syrup, mayonnaise
Have you made your own salad dressings? Do you use different oils for different flavors or health benefits?
Stay tuned for Part 2: Experimenting with Dressing Combinations and Dishes.