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Let’s transform your salad dressings by letting go of high-fat, oil-based dressings and discovering a whole new way to create your own heart-healthy salad dressings. It is easy to create a fat-free dressing that tastes so good that you will not even miss the full-fat choices.

You can transform most any dressing or sauce into a rich and delicious, yet nutritious creation.

One of the challenges when the oil is omitted is the dressings loses its thick, rich texture and doesn’t hold on well to the salad ingredients. Here are some culinary techniques to produce a thick, rich, Ornish Lifestyle Medicine salad dressing that will complement and dress any salad well.

Grab Some Gums

The quickest and simplest method is to use gums. They are readily available these days in many grocery stores. The most common and widely distributed brand we’ve found is “Bob’s Red Mill” Premium, Xanthan, or Guar Gums. Just blend ½ teaspoon of either gum with one cup of water in a small high-speed blender to make a thick liquid we call a “carrier” that you can use in the same proportion as the oil in any recipe. It doesn’t have the flavor of oil, but most salad dressings are characterized by the more dominant flavor of the other ingredients in the dressing, not so much by the oil itself. It’s the thickness of this mixture that holds the vinegar, herbs, spices and others seasonings in any dressing to the greens and other ingredients of the salad, thus, the term “carrier.”

Think Thick

Another way to make a carrier is to overcook pasta, either semolina or gluten-free fusilli or Tinkyada brand brown rice pasta. Simply cook on a low simmer, one cup (about three ounces) of pasta with 3½ cups of water for 20 minutes. Allow the pasta and water to cool a little and then blend them together on high speed until you have a creamy “carrier” to substitute for oil.

You can also blend white beans, lima beans, other beans or silken tofu with water to make an oil substitute in the same manner.

We suggest mixing one of these carriers with vinegar in the proportion of either three or four parts “carrier” to one part vinegar, lemon juice, or other liquid.

These thickening techniques are also an excellent way to remove the oil and added fats from sauce, dips and other dishes. Now that you have the tools to thicken, you can transform most any dressing or sauce into a rich and delicious, yet nutritious creation. Be experimental and have fun.

Let us know how it goes. Do you have any favorite salad dressings?

Contributed by

Carra Richling
Registered Dietitian

Eat well, be well!

Better Health Begins With You...

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