Saturday, July 4, 2009

Time for Summer Salads!

With all of the fresh produce at the farmers market and at my local favorite grocery store for produce (most of it local, all very fresh, all reasonably priced), I find myself eating at least one salad a day during the summer. Fruit salads, green salads, orange jello "fluff" salads (a bit of an indulgence)...there's a long list.

Green salads call out for some sort of dressing. If you disagree, you're not listening closely enough. Even if it's just some oil and vinegar--or even just vinegar. Another time I'll post a different non-fat, vinegar based dressing I like to make for cabbage salads (they are not coleslaw).

Dad makes a really fantastic flexitarian Caesar dressing (it uses fish sauce). It's light and lemony and you don't feel like you're overindulging if you spoon on a little extra because compared to normal Caesar dressing, you really aren't. However, you just can't make that every time and not get tired of it. I recently added this dressing to my repertoire. The roasted garlic is a lot less...pungent than regular garlic. As I've said before, in the summer I tend to have roasted garlic around. Not only is it easy to throw on the grill if I'm grilling already, but it's also great smeared on bread and mixed into things like yogurt-tahini sauce for falafel.

You could make this salad dressing vegan if you substituted just a few things (namely the yogurt for a non-dairy yogurt, the Worcestershire sauce for vegetarian Worcestershire--regular Worcestershire contains anchovies--or liquid smoke, and used golden syrup instead of honey).

You might be tempted not to add the oil. I certainly was when I first tried this. In fact, I was pretty determined not to add oil. But, it wasn't going to happen. Without the oil, the flavor is sharper (but not in a pleasant way) and the foam just won't go away.

French Dressing

1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4-5 dashes Worestershire sauce
3 dashes Tabasco
2 large cloves roasted garlic
2 tablespoons honey or golden syrup
Large pinch of salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil

Combine all ingredients except olive oil in a small blender and blend well. The mixture will look a bit frothy. Taste for salt and pepper, adjust. While blender is running drizzle in 1 ½ - 2 tablespoons of olive oil to create an emulsion.

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