7 Simple (and Healthy) Salad “Dressings”

I’m a weirdo… I LOVE vegetables! And that includes salads…

Salad

MMMMMmmmmmm!

But, when you put a ton of dressing on the salad you miss out on the deliciousness of the veggies AND you’re usually adding extra calories, preservatives and fat to your otherwise healthy meal. I’d rather not sacrifice the amount of calories I can eat in a day for salad dressing, so I turn to my go-to salad “dressing” options. Here they are (in no particular order).

1.) Salsa

With less than 10 calories per tablespoon, salsa is great on southwestern style or tacos salads. I choose picante style usually since it’s more like a sauce and I can drizzle it over my greens.

2.) Tajin

This one can be a little bit harder to find, but it’s a chile, lime, salt spice mix that is so tasty on salads. I usually use it on  grilled chicken salads that include lots of cucumber and carrots.

3.) Citrus

A squeeze of orange, lemon, lime, or even grapefruit on your salad right before you chow down is delicious! If you want something a little less sour… squeeze the citrus into a small bowl and whisk in some melted honey or liquid/powdered stevia until it’s at the sweetness level you desire.

4.) Hot sauce

Okay, this one may seem a bit odd, but it goes hand in hand with my love of all things Mexican and hot. Sprinkle some salsa picante (not Frank’s Red Hot or Tabasco) on your greens and see how you like it. I LOVE this on a salad topped with an over-easy egg or two!

5.) Over-easy Eggs

Since I mentioned them above… over-easy or over-medium eggs are a great way to have some sauciness on your salad. Just cook the egg, allow to cool for a second or two so you don’t wilt your salad and then place directly on top of your greens. When you’re ready to chow down, cut open the egg and let the yolk be your dressing!

6.) Reduced or Aged Balsamic Vinegar

So, this one is a bit more complex if you want to make it yourself, but balsamic vinegar on its own makes a great salad dress. I find that the regular, un-aged or non-reduced stuff is too thin for me. So, I take my balsamic and reduce it in a small pot over med-low heat until it simmers and thickens up a little bit. You can also buy aged balsamic that is a bit thicker and tends to have a more robust flavor.

7. Aminos!

Aminos are an amazing soy sauce substitute, so they’re also great sprayed on Asian-inspired salads like a Mandarin orange, grilled chicken salad or a bok choy, mushroom, bean sprout salad. Just a few sprays or a light drizzle is all you need!

What are your favorite salad toppers? 

Thankful Thursday: I might be a hippie edition

I have loads of things to be thankful for today… the beautiful weather, great friends, the fact that summer movies have started up again here in DC! Went to see Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade al fresco last night…there’s just something about sitting outside in the grass without shoes on that just feels right

nomaAnd, like last Thankful Thursday I’m thankful for my kitchen abilities and adventurousness that might be leading me toward becoming a hippie! Today I got to taste the first batch of home brewed Kombucha my friend Joyce and I have been working on!

kombucha 2

We recycled some GT’s bottles for our own brew

Joyce procured us a very robust SCOBY (we call him Scooby Doo) and we’ve been brewing (or should I say fermenting, which kind of feels like babysitting) for about 2 weeks now. Today was the first day the Kombucha was finally fermented enough to try it out. We made a gingerberry flavor and regular ginger… SWEET SWEET SUCCESS!

Right now you’re either thinking one of two things… Scenario #1: OMG how did you do that I freaking LOVE Kombucha!  Scenario #2: What the heck is Kombucha?

Well, to kill two birds with one stone… Kombucha is simply a fermented tea. A “mother” AKA SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) feeds off of the sugar in a sweet tea base you brew up.

How did we make it? Brew up…

  • 2C hot water
  • 2 TBSP (about 5 tea bags) of any kind of tea
  • 1C Sugar

You take 3/4C of this base and 3 1/4C filtered water (all at room temp) and add it in with your SCOBY (we are doing continuous brewing and it’s super easy!) Save the rest of the base for later in the week. You add on a schedule of 3 days, 3 days, 4 days, until there is enough Kombucha to be bottled. Then, you drain some off into glass containers and add more base/water large mixture. The bottles need to sit for at least a week at room temp to ferment and get fizzy 🙂 which is when you can add your own flavoring…next stop for me is Strawberry!

What the heck is it? Kombucha came from China (altho the word itself most likely comes from the Japanese word for tea), spread to Russia in the early 1900s and then the rest of Western Europe. It’s medicinal properties are highly disputed and WedMD will tell you NOT to home brew because you can brew bacteria, but hey…they’re doctors…they have to say that! Down with the man! <—hippie comment I know!

But the hippies really knew what they were talking about…It’s dang good and (altho it’s disputed) dang good for you and your gut…

kombucha!

What does it do? The claim is that Kombucha has detoxifying properties because of it’s acidity. Our bodies are constantly fighting to maintain homeostasis, which also means maintaining a neutral pH. Since most of the foods we eat are acidic (meat, eggs, dairy, sugar, coffee, most processed foods, fruit, grains, yeast, etc) we should be eating more alkaline based foods (dark leafy greens and veggies) to balance ourselves out.

Kombucha and other forms of probiotics help in this pH neutralization quest because the “good bacteria” in them work with (and not against) the acids in your stomach and react with minerals such as Calcium, Sodium, Potassium and Magnesium in the body tissue and blood, to form alkalies.

Too much acid can be harmful though so 4-8ozs is the RDA (and if you’re supplementing with Apple Cider Vinegar, Kombucha should replace it for the day).

Ok enough science…

Have you ever tried Kombucha? Have another favorite health drink you swig every day?