Magazine article Sunset

Trim Toppings for Salads

Magazine article Sunset

Trim Toppings for Salads

Article excerpt

If it's a salad, it must be good for you, right? Well, that depends. Dress the salad with a meager tablespoon of classic vinaigrette, which contains 2 teaspoons of oil, and there goes a seventh of your day's recommended fat intake. So how do you make good dressings without oil? And why is oil used on salads anyway?

First, a quick explanation of how just tablespoon of classic vinaigrette uses up a seventh of your fat allowance. Government guidelines suggest you consume 30 percent or less of your total calories in the form of fat. If you take in 2,000 calories per day, that allows you about 65 grams of fat--and the 2 teaspoons of oil in your dressing contain 9 grams.

But back to oil's role in salad dressings. Oil is a traditional dressing component because it coats greens nicely and balances the sharpness of vinegar. Take the oil out, and you need a way to get the dressing to cling to the salad. You also need to smooth some potentially puckery flavors.

The following dressings use two techniques to coat greens. The first trick is to simply puree soft foods in a blender for the necessary "cling." The green goddess dressing (with artichoke hearts) and mango dressing are made this way.

The second coating technique involves adding a thickener to liquids: cornstarch for the carrot juice dressing, pectin powder for the grapefruit-tarragon dressing.

What about the potentially sharp flavors? In each dressing, vinegar is tempered by a happy marriage of fruits, vegetables, and juices.

With such fresh flavors and good for-you combinations, you can use these toppings generously with a clear conscience.

Green Goddess Dressing

Prep time: About 5 minutes

Notes: In this dressing, don't be fooled by the high percentage of calories from fat; the amount of fat is very low. Try the dressing with green salads and pasta salads.

Makes: About 2 1/8 cups

1 small dove garlic, minced

1/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 can (14 oz.) undrained waterpacked artichoke hearts

In the blender, whirl the garlic, basil, vinegar, lemon juice, oil, and artichoke hearts with their liquid until very smooth (only a few artichoke fibers left). Use, or chill airtight up to 1 week.

Per tablespoon: 7.3 cal., 49% (3.6 cal.) from fat; 0.2 g protein; 0.4 g fat (0.1 g sat.); 0.8 g carbo.; 0.3 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.

Tarragon-Grapefruit Dressing

Prep time: About 10 minutes, plus 15 minutes standing

Notes: Pectin powder, a product used for making jam, is sold in supermarkets with home canning supplies. …

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