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!