Thursday, June 06, 2013

All-Natural Berry Vinaigrette Dressing [Whole30 Friendly] ...Plus Two Bonus Dressing Recipes

I love raspberry vinaigrette dressing. But have you ever stopped to read the labels on the brands at the store? OY. All kinds of nasty stuff: HFCS, soybean oil...if actual raspberry juice even appears on the list at all, it usually falls at the end under "contains 2% or less of the following." No thanks!

Steve and I recently wrapped up the Whole30 challenge. It's kind of a long story why we did it--I haven't felt like getting into all of it on the blog yet--but it was definitely a challenge. No grains, no dairy, no legumes...and no sweetener of any kind. Not just no sugar, but no maple syrup, no honey, not even stevia. Any one of those things would be a challenge to give up, but all four groups?! I had to completely revamp the way I cook.

I don't see eating this way as sustainable long-term (even the paleo folks use maple syrup and honey, and a little dairy), but it was a good nutritional reset button of sorts, and some good things have come out of it. I definitely saw how dependent we are on grains and how a meal can be delicious and satisfying without any bread or pasta or rice. And I hit on some new recipes I plan to keep in the rotation. We aren't about to go paleo full-time, but I'd like to move a little more in that direction.

Anyway, salad dressing was one of the first obstacles to conquer. When your major foods are meats and vegetables, you expect to eat a lot of salad--but salad dressing with no sweetener? I had recently fallen in love with a homemade balsamic vinaigrette sweetened with maple syrup, but that was out. What in the world was I going to put on my salad?

My first move was to try out a recipe that had been posted online as a knockoff of the dressing for Panera's Fuji Apple Chicken Salad. After doing some reading, I was pretty sure this dressing wasn't going to taste anything like the one on my favorite salad--and it definitely doesn't--but I hoped it would be an acceptable go-to dressing during Whole30. And it was! It's sweetened with apple juice concentrate, and everything else is just basic ingredients I always have on hand. Excellent.

After a few weeks, though, I was starting to get a little tired of it. Then I had a brainstorm. What if I replaced the juice concentrate with one of those 100% fruit kinds of jam--you know, the ones that are sweetened with fruit syrup/juice instead of sugar or HFCS? Wouldn't that get me a raspberry vinaigrette?

Our grocery didn't have raspberry all-fruit jam, but I bought some blackberry and gave it a whirl. The result? My new favorite salad dressing. I'll definitely keep using this long after Whole30 is over. I love jazzing up my salad with a tasty sauce made from real food! And I love that there are only four ingredients, not six or eight like most of my dressing recipes. That makes whipping up a batch at mealtime totally doable. Next time I make it to Trader Joe's, I can't wait to pick up some raspberry jam to try that.


Berry Vinaigrette Salad Dressing

1/2 c. olive oil
1/4 c. blackberry or raspberry jam (the 100% fruit kind)
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
1/2 t. salt

Combine ingredients and whisk until smooth.

If you're interested, here are the other two recipes I mentioned:

Apple Vinaigrette Salad Dressing (which doesn't actually taste apple-y to me, just sweet)

2 T apple juice concentrate
1 T apple cider vinegar
1 T balsamic vinegar
1/4 c. olive oil
1 t. Dijon mustard
1/4 t. garlic powder
1/4 t. salt

Basic Balsamic Vinaigrette

2 T balsamic vinegar
2 T apple cider vinegar
1/4 c. olive oil
1 t. Dijon mustard
1 1/2 T maple syrup
1/4 t. sea salt

Happy salad eating!

1 comment:

Danielle said...

I'm going to pin these. Look good! We got our first CSA share last week and we're already eating SO many more veggies. Cobb salad, roasted veggies, Kale pasta, stir fry, yum! I'd love to add some more dressings to all the salads we're going to be eating.