Most days in Summer and as the weather starts to warm up I try and have a big salad for my lunch or dinner, as I know my health improves when I do.

 What helps me to enjoy them as much as I do is the dressing. For me it’s the finishing touch that helps combine and marry all the fresh colours, textures and flavours that tantalize your taste buds and keeps you coming back for more.

A good dressing is essential and making your own is best.  There are two styles of dressing. The first is what I call a whisked or shaken dressing and it’s the quickest dressing to make in around 30 seconds. It basically consists of a heart healthy oil, a splash of acidity such as vinegar or lemon. I normally use 2 – 3 parts oil and 1 part vinegar that I whisk in a small bowl or pour into a glass jar and shake up. The second style is what I call a blended dressing, which can be made with any vegetable, herb or fruit blended with a little olive oil.

The Oil
I use cold pressed vegetable, nut or seed oils as they contain good heart healthy fats that can promote good health. My favourites are the Mediterranean style mono-unsaturated (oleic) oils and omega 3 oils which are anti-inflammatory to the body and can help the fight against diabetes, cardiovascular disease, help lower cholesterol, reduce high blood pressure, nourish the immune system and reduce symptoms of arthritis and depression.  Studies show that these healthy oils are associated with a longer healthy life. Top of the list goes to extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) which can pretty much be used in most dressings. Other good oils to use are linseed oil (flaxseed), chia, avocado, almond oil and walnut.

 

Supporting role
Most dressings need a little acidity to add flavour and balance as well as improve digestion. My top 4 are balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, wine vinegar and citrus juice such as lemon or lime. If you want your dressing creamier or thicker add a touch of Dijon mustard to help emulsify or even tahini or natural yoghurt.

MY FAVOURITE DRESSING RECIPES

SIMPLE FRENCH DRESSING
1 tablespoon red or white wine vinegar
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons or 45 ml cold pressed oil (olive, walnut, flaxseed)
black pepper to taste

Combine vinegar and mustard.
Whisk in the oil until creamy looking.
Makes a delicious basic dressing suitable for most salads and vegetables.
Store in a glass screw top jar for up to 2 weeks.

 

PARSLEY + MINT SALSA VERDE
1 bunch parsley
1 bunch mint
zest and juice from 1/2 – 1 lemon
1/2 cup cold pressed oil (olive, flaxseed, walnut, avocado)

Combine all the ingredients into a high speed blender like a Vitamix and blend until smooth.
Adjust the consistency and taste by adding more oil if necessary.
Season with a little fresh ground pepper.
Store in a glass screw top jar in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Delicious with green salad leaves or vegetables.

 

RASPBERRY DRESSING
100 g (1/2 cup) raspberries
60 ml (1/4 cup) cold pressed olive oil, flaxseed or walnut oil

Smash raspberries with a fork then whisk in the olive oil if you want a chunky dressing.
Blend with the oil if you want a smooth dressing.
Enjoy with garden salads.
Delicious
with leafy salads that have hints of roasted walnut, shaved pear + Fetta
Store in a glass screw top jar the fridge for up to 4 days.

 

POMEGRANATE DRESSING
3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
1 lemon juiced + zest (30 ml)
2 teaspoons honey
100 ml cold pressed olive oil
fresh ground pepper

Combine all the dressing ingredients until creamy.
Taste and adjust if needed.
Delicious with leafy greens and Mediterranean Style Salads.
Store in a screw top jar in the fridge for up to 7 days.

 

BALSAMIC HONEY + WALNUT DRESSING
1/4 cup aged balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
2 teaspoons honey
2 tablespoon finely chopped roasted walnuts
2 tablespoons cold pressed olive oil or walnut oil (optional)

Combine all the ingredients.
Add the oil if you need a milder flavoured dressing.
Store in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Delicious with baby spinach leaves and shaved Parmesan.

 

CAESAR DRESSING
2 limes
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
125 ml cold pressed olive oil
pinch of sea salt and some black pepper

Combine all the ingredients until smooth and creamy.
Season to taste.
Store in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Delicious with fresh made Healthy Caesar Salads. ( I love to make mine with baby cos (romaine lettuce), avocado and soft poached organic egg.  Add a little fresh grated Parmesan just at the end and enjoy. 🙂 x