Making your own dressings are a much healthier choice, and much cheaper. Don't just limit these dressings for salads, pour them over steamed vegetables, stir-frys, baked potatoes, anything you like! Here are a few of my favorite recipes for dressings:
1/4 c balsamic vinegar
1/4 c apple cider vinegar
1/4 c red wine vinegar
1/4 c unseasoned rice wine vinegar
3-4 cloves garlic
1/4 c ketchup
1 T Dijon mustard
1-2 T agave nectar
1/2 t guar gum (found in health food stores, helps the dressing "stick" to the leaves)
Pour the balsamic, cider, wine, and rice vinegars into a blender. Add the garlic, ketchup, mustard, 1 T of the agave, and 1 cup of water. Blend until the mixture is very smooth. With the blender running, slowly add the guar gum through the top to avoid forming clumps. Continue to blend until the dressing is smooth and thickened. Taste and add more agave if needed. Refrigerate the dressing for at least 2 hours before using. The dressing will thicken further as it chills.
CREAMY CILANTRO-GARLIC DRESSING
For a really bold taste, include the cilantro stems along with the leaves. Or, substitute other fresh herbs for cilantro--basil, parsley, or mint.
1 package of silken tofu, drained in a strainer
1/2 c rice wine vinegar
1/4 c reduced-sodium soy sauce
2-3 cloves of garlic, crushed or minced
1/2 bunch of cilantro
Combine the tofu, vinegar, soy sauce, and garlic in a blender or food processor and blend or process until smooth. Add the cilantro and process again until the cilantro is chopped. Pour the dressing into a jar, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
CAESAR SALAD DRESSING
2 T almond meal (see note)
3 T Dijon mustard
3 T nutritional yeast
3 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
3 T fresh lemon juice
2 T reduced sodium soy sauce
Put the almond meal, mustard, nutritional yeast and garlic into a 12 oz jar. Stir with a fork to make a paste. Add the lemon juice, soy sauce, and 1 T water. Close the jar tightly and shake vigorously to mix. Pour over your salad.
Note: Almond meal is made by grinding the nuts until they are almost the texture of flour. You can buy almond meal at Trader Joe's or other natural food stores. Bob's Red Mill also carries it. To make your own, put raw almonds in a food processor and process until very fine, be careful not to make butter. Using cold nuts helps to prevent this. Store almond meal in the freezer for up to 6 months.