recipes and tips for better living

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Raw Garlic Ranch Dressing: A Pleasing Way To Dress Up Your Greens

If you aren't an at home salad dressing maker already, you will be after you learn a few tricks of the trade.  These tips will help you ditch the store bought dressings and opt for a healthy home version.  The secret to a great vinagarette is using HIGH quality olive oil and mixing 1 part vinegar to 2 or 3 parts oil.  There are lots of different vinegars.  Champagne vinegar is light and makes a good dressing when put with olive oil and fresh herbs like parsley and cilantro.  Rice Vinegar can be bought seasoned (sweetened) and can make a nice light vinegar for salads that contain fruit.  Most everyone has used balsamic, rich and slightly sweet, and you can buy it in white if you don't want to turn the contents of your salad a brownish shade.  And let's not forget Lemon!  It's the single best item in your kitchen to dress your salads, add pizazz to your veggies, and sip on in hot water as a digestive aide.

Yet what i love even more than making a vinagarette is making creamy raw salad dressings.  Num Num.  Back when i bought dressings at the market i had a slight addiction to Annie's Goddess dressing.  I can remember opening the cap just to run my finger along the inner rim and get a taste of the numminess inside.  The first raw dressing i learned to make tasted so much like the Goddess Dressing that i abandoned Annie's, started making all my own dressings, and haven't looked back since.  It seems to be one of the more frequently used bases to many raw dressing recipes: a combo of tahini, EVOO, garlic, tamari, apple cider vinegar, and lemon.  All creamy raw dressings seem to start with either a base of tahini or cashews (often soaked to up the creaminess factor).

Tonight i adapted Matt Amsden's ranch dressing with the offerings of my pantry.  What i love about this dressing is that it doesn't include any oil, so all the fat is from whole unrefined foods....gotta love that!  Here's the recipe as i made it:

3/4 cup coconut water
Juice from one very juicy lemon
1-2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1 to 1 1/4 cups raw cashew pieces (use as many as you need to achieve desired thickness)
2 large cloves of garlic
a few shakes of onion powder
a few shakes from an italian seasonings mix

Put all in your vitamix or high speed blender and blend away.

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