How to: Making your own healthy salad dressings

iStock_salad-dressing-DIY-3x2
iStockphoto

Long gone are the days of hearty soups, stews, and roasted root vegetables that kept our souls warm and our bellies nourished all winter long. Spring and Summer mark a time to celebrate fresh, light, and vibrant vegetables. It’s salad season!

While salads are probably one of the healthiest meals of all, how we dress our salad can totally make or break our healthiest intentions. In fact, store bought dressings can oftentimes be what I call the “undo” button, capable of completely sabotaging what could have been a delicious and nourishing meal.

Don’t believe me? Head to your fridge or pantry, pick up a store-bought dressing, and take a glance at the list of ingredients. More times than not, you will find a long list of highly processed ingredients, including sneaky sugar, excess sodium, and highly refined oils, along with an assortment of artificial additives and preservatives.

So, how do we dress our salads for success? You can start by learning what to look for when reading the nutrition label of store-bought salad dressing, which I explained in detail here. And while there are a few good products currently on the market, such as Tessemae’s All Natural Dressings, the truth is, you’re better off making your own. DIY dressing is a no brainer – it’s healthier, more affordable, and puts you back in the driver’s seat.

The idea of making your own salad dressing may feel intimidating, but after a little practice, it becomes second nature. To make it extra simple, here’s a step-by-step guide to DIY salad dressings.

DIY DRESSING: A Step-by-Step Guide

When it comes to making a salad dressing, I follow a simple acronym: FASSS — Fat, Acid, Seasoning, Salt & Sweet. FASSS represents the 5 key components of a delicious and nutrient-rich salad dressing, with no recipe required! Let’s break it down:

  • Fat: Fat serves many purposes! It brings a creamy texture to your salad dressing and serves as an emulsifier that holds all the other ingredients together. Fat also acts as a chauffeur for your salad’s nutrients. Did you know that many of our nutrients are “fat soluble”? That means they need fat to help transport them from our GI tract to our cells. Without fat, our nutrients never reach our cells and we lose out on reaping their health benefits. This is why fat-free salad dressings are actually counterproductive. Try one of these high-quality fats: Olive oil, flax oil, nut and seed butters like tahini or almond butter, organic yogurt, hummus, or a mashed up avocado.
  • Acid: Acid brightens up your salad dressing, bringing a nice tang to every bite. Think: vinegars and citrus fruits. There are so many different vinegars to explore: red wine, white wine, apple cider, sherry, balsamic, white balsamic, rice vinegar – each of these has a unique flavor. You can also use lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruits .
  • Seasonings: Here’s where you get to add some personality to your dressing. Add garlic, some minced onions, scallions, or shallots, or mix it up with ginger or different herbs and spices. Think of what kind of flavor profile you’re craving — whether it’s Asian, Mexican, Italian, Mediterranean — and let that direct you towards seasoning combinations commonly used in these areas of the…

Try This Coconut Oil Detoxifying Green Smoothie For Glowing Skin

Spring is almost here. Along with the warmer weather and greener landscape comes a shift in our diets, where we begin to crave lighter and brighter foods. We replace our warming soups and stews with cooling and detoxifying juices, smoothies, and salads. While whole and natural raw produce is one of best sources of unadulterated nutrients, there is still one important nutrient that is lacking in most green smoothies. Without it, it’s much harder for the body to absorb and utilize the potent nutrition inherent in most of our juice and smoothie ingredients. It’s also essential for glowing skin.

The missing ingredient? Fats! Essential vitamins, such as A, D, E, and K, for example, are fat-soluble, meaning fats are necessary during digestion for the body to absorb them properly. An…

Rainy Day Lentil And Vegetable Soup

It’s rainy and cold today, which calls for a warm pot of soup and a glowing fire in the fireplace. I love lentil soup, but most canned lentil and vegetable soups contain potatoes which only adds to the carbohydrate count without adding much nutrition. For that reason, I like to make my own. This particular recipe is more like a stew because it is thick with delicious vegetables! I used the prepackaged cooked lentils that can sometimes be found in the produce section of the supermarket or at Trader Joe’s. Their convenience and excellent taste can’t be beat! Feel free to add your favorite vegetables or substitute another dark, leafy green (in place of the kale), if you desire. Then curl up with a good book and a steaming cup of soup — it will warm your heart!

soup

Rainy Day Lentil & Vegetable Soup
(Makes about ten 1¼-cup servings)

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups celery, sliced
3 carrots, sliced into half rounds
1 cup green beans, sliced
1 medium zucchini, sliced into quarter rounds
6-8 stalks asparagus, cut into 1″ pieces
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes
8 cups reduced sodium chicken or vegetable broth
2½ cups cooked lentils
4 cups kale, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat olive oil in a large dutch oven or stew pot. Add onion, carrot, celery, green beans, zucchini, asparagus, garlic and dried herbs. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and translucent. Add tomatoes and broth and bring to a boil. Add lentils and kale and simmer for 30-40 minutes until vegetables are soft and kale has wilted. Adjust seasonings and serve.

Nutritional Information per serving: 111 calories, 20 g carbohydrate, 1 g total fat, 0 g saturated fat, 5.9 g fiber, 486 mg sodium, 8.5 g protein.

Original recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2010.

Recipe by Diabetics Rejoice! Read her amazing blog here, find her on Facebook here, and check out her website here!

Are Fresh or Frozen Vegetables Best For Winter Stew?

The nutritional difference between fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables is nominal. Just eat ‘em!

The Question: Now that it’s getting cold, I’m making more soups and stews for dinner. Is it healthier to use fresh or frozen produce for these recipes?

Winter is nearly upon us, which means one thing: It’s the season for pies, stews, soups and casseroles.

And that leads to an important question: Should you use fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables to make your recipes healthier?

“The nutritional content is pretty much the same in frozen versus fresh produce,” Rafael Perez-Escamilla, director of the Office of Public Health Practice at the Yale School of Public Health, told The Huffington Post. “There is no difference.”

In a 2015 study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, nutrition experts found that there was little to no difference in the nutritional content of eight…

20+ Soup Recipes to Help You Beat Winter Weight Gain

Winter is the unofficial soup season, I think we can all agree to that. It’s bitterly cold, gets dark out by 5 p.m., and typically nothing sounds better than curling up on the couch with a bowl of something warm and comforting, like soup.

Whether…

15 Protein-Packed Recipes Where Lentils Stand In For Meat

Lentils are more than just for soups — there, we said it. While lentil soup is, no doubt, delicious, we think it’s also great to experiment with all the possibilities these little legumes have to offer. Lentils are a fabulous choice for when you’re eating on a budget and for when you need to cook something fast because, unlike beans, you don’t need to soak lentils before cooking them. They are also generally higher in protein and high in fiber so they keep you fuller longer. Not only that, because of their hearty texture, lentils make a wonderful substitute for meat in recipes of all kinds. You can use them to make meat sauces like this Hearty Lentil Broccoli Bolognese or this Lentil and Mushroom Ragu or meaty burgers like this Foolproof Mega Lentil Burger.

Just as there are lentils of all kinds, there are different uses for different types of lentils. Red lentils get mushy when cooked, so they’re good for soups, stews, and chilis. Brown, French, and black or beluga lentils hold their shape when cooked so they’re good in veggie meatballs, burgers, or any other recipe where you want a chunky texture.

Ready for recipes? We’re right there with you. Try these 15 awesome recipes where lentils are the perfect stand-in for meat.

1. Lentil, Walnut, and Millet Meatballs

Lentil Walnut Millet Meatballs 1

If you’ve ever had meatballs made from seitan, textured vegetable protein, or even tofu, you know that it’s possible to make delicious meatless meatballs. But did you know, you can make meaty and hearty meatballs from legumes, grains, and nuts? It’s true! These Lentil, Walnut, and Millet Meatballs are combined with onions, tomato paste, and spices and herbs for flavor, and then baked until brown and crispy. Toss these meatballs on a blanket of spinach leaves and brown rice pasta, add some cashew cheese if your heart desires it, and dig in.

2. Hearty Lentil and Brown Rice Burgers

burge

The challenge that most run into when it comes to making homemade veggie burger patties is that they tend to quickly fall apart. The great thing about these Hearty Lentil and Brown Rice Burgers is that they hold together surprisingly well. They are hearty, flavorful, and go well with barbecue sauce or any of your other favorite burger toppings. If you don’t own a barbecue, they can be cooked in a pan on the stove-top for an easy weeknight meal.

3. Cranberry Lentil Loaf With Maple Glaze

Cranberry Lentil Loaf With Maple Glaze

This gluten-free Cranberry Lentil Loaf With Maple Glaze is definitely is so delicious, yet it’s super easy to make. Black lentils create a meaty, hearty base speckled with chia seeds, vegetables, and bright red cranberries that provide a burst of flavor. It’s finished off with a sweet maple-mustard glaze that’s like icing on the cake … err, loaf.

4. Harira Soup With Hummus Pitas

soup

This Harira Soup With Hummus Pitas is so hearty, it’s pretty much a stew — and unlike the original Moroccan recipe, this one doesn’t need meat to taste meaty! Lentils, rice, and chickpeas get the job done. If you want some extra spice, feel free to throw in cayenne pepper or a minced chili pepper, then serve with the pitas and hummus to make it a complete meal.

5. Lentil Apricot Tapenade With Curry Aioli

Lentil Apricot Tapenade With Curry Aioli [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

Traditional tapenade calls for anchovies, but this Lentil…

How Many Times Can You Actually Thaw And Refreeze Food?

Christopher Testani

When is freezing and thawing food no longer an option? Can you make a meal, eat it, freeze the leftovers, heat and thaw them at a later date, and then refreeze for a second round of leftovers? Can you refreeze meat? Vegetables? Soups?

According to senior food editor Rick Martinez and Robert Ramsey, chef instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education, you can refreeze and re-thaw food—but just because you can doesn’t mean you should. At ICE, Ramsey and his colleagues have a blanket rule: “If something’s been frozen once, that’s it.”

The biggest downside of freezing and thawing and re-freezing and re-thawing is that the food becomes excessively mushy. Most food contains water. When you freeze something, the water inside expands, and the cell walls break down, leading to unrecognizable mush, says Ramsey. The only exception, he says, is flash-frozen products. If you purchase something frozen, it likely has gone through a deep, flash-freezing process, so the water hasn’t had time to pool and turn your food into sad slop. If you’re freezing something in your home freezer, it freezes very slowly (i.e., mush city). For this reason, soup is something you can get away with refreezing, but meat—not so much.

He also notes that freezing stops bacterial growth but it doesn’t kill existing bacteria.When we thaw and heat, we introduce more bacteria. That’s completely fine—bacteria will always exist. But ICE advocates that, ideally, the amount of bacteria would remain below…

Lighten Up! 10 Post-Holiday Recipes You’ll Feel Good About Eating

After stuffing yourself silly on Thanksgiving, it feels good to eat light — at least until the next holiday. From soups to salads to entrees, all of these recipes are as good to eat as they are good for you.

2016-11-27-1480250286-1862671-ShreddedVietnameseChickenSalad.jpg

Salad as a meal is a great way to hit “reset” after the holidays. This simple and satisfying salad can be made with leftover turkey or rotisserie chicken. GET THE RECIPE

2016-11-27-1480250044-3086423-cauliflowerfriedrice.jpg

In this quick and easy recipe, grated cauliflower is sautéed with aromatics, vegetables, soy sauce, and eggs, like Chinese-style fried rice. It’s a healthy, low-carb dish that’s hearty enough to serve as a main course. GET THE RECIPE

2016-11-27-1480253038-4574003-ThaiChickenLettuceCups.jpg

This dish is similar to Larb Gai, the Thai dish made from minced chicken, fish sauce, lime juice, chilies, and fresh herbs. The combination of sweet, salty, tangy and spicy flavors makes it highly addictive. Bonus: it’s ready in 30 minutes. GET THE RECIPE

2016-07-13-1468430901-5432498-MapleSesameKaleChips.jpg

AKA “kale crack” because they’re so addictive, these crispy chips are made from one of the healthiest vegetables on the planet. They’re salty,…

A Creamy Cauliflower Soup That’s Dairy-Free, Vegan And Perfect For Thanksgiving

2016-11-23-1479921239-1705286-image112.JPG

Thanksgiving is here, friends. Soon everyone is gathering around for the holiday feast, so what to serve those that don’t partake in that big ol’ turkey or anything with dairy? This creamy cauliflower soup is luxuriously creamy (sans the cream) and pairs well with Thanksgiving fare. Not a touch of dairy— only plant-based goodness in a bowl. You can whip this up, no problem.

I made this the other night as a complete after thought. I had a head of cauliflower, vegetable broth, a few leeks, and a half an onion in my fridge. There was a can of organic coconut milk left in the pantry from my forays in making Thai curry, along with some mild curry powder that is my favorite go-to on anything I want curry spice on that isn’t spicy-spicy (my kids aren’t into spicy yet). The golden color of turmeric suits any head of cauliflower in a roasting pan, plus it smells incredible when the aroma of curry wafts through the kitchen. I had cashews on hand, well, because I love them, and they are very versatile for making creamy vegan anything— soups, dressings, cream, etc.

My usual Thanksgiving soup is a pumpkin squash soup (and my roasted carrot soup also pleases a crowd if you’re looking for more vegetarian soup recipes). This cauliflower soup is surprisingly creamy and adds an elegant touch to any fall/winter holiday menu. Dress it up with any other garnish you like: pomegranate seeds give a festive pop of color, a drizzle of gourmet hazelnut oil, a sprinkle of spices, or just a pinch of chives.

Creamy Cauliflower Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
2…

3 Make-Ahead Recipes to Help You Eat Healthy Every Night of the Week

new-ways-dinner-intro

If just the thought of cooking five weeknight dinners in a row makes you anxious, good news: Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs of Food52 fame have a new book out that is a game changer. With tons of hearty recipes that turn supermarket ingredients into company-worthy meals—plus make-ahead tips and tricks for elevating leftovers—Food52 A New Way to Dinner ($35, amazon.com) is a must. We chose a few of our favorites from the book, and collected some pro-tips from Hesser and Stubbs. So next time the “what’s for dinner?” question comes up, you can say, “I got this.”

Broccoli, Lemon, and Parmesan Soup

Serves: 4 for two dinners

Stubbs says: “This soup uses utilizes the entire head of broccoli — florets and stalk — which means no waste. By cooking the broccoli with garlic and olive oil at the beginning, you achieve complexity with very little effort. Once this first step is done, you’re 15 minutes away from a vegetable soup hearty enough to build dinner around; slice a loaf of crusty bread, add some cheese or prosciutto, and you’re all set. Leftovers make a perfect brown bag lunch.”

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

6 fat cloves garlic, smashed

4 pounds (1.8kg) broccoli, cut into florets and stems trimmed, peeled, and chopped

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

8 cups (1.9L) homemade or low-sodium chicken broth

1½ cups (150g) grated Parmesan

Juice from 1 or 2 lemons

Crusty bread, for serving

  1. Combine the olive oil and garlic in a 6- to 8-quart Dutch oven and sauté over very low heat for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the garlic softens and starts to turn golden.
  2. Add the broccoli to the pot, season with salt and pepper, and stir to coat with the oil. Cover, turn the heat as low as it will go, and cook for about an hour, gently stirring from time to time, until the broccoli yields when you press it with the back of a wooden spoon. The garlic and broccoli will probably brown a little—don’t worry, this is a good thing.
  3. Puree half of the soup using a blender or food processor. Pour the pureed soup back into the pot and add the Parmesan and lemon juice to taste. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Cool slightly, transfer to lidded containers, and refrigerate for up to 5 days.
  4. The day of: Reheat gently on the stove over low heat, adding another squeeze of lemon juice. Serve with plenty of crusty bread.

TIP: If you’re in a rush, you can skip pureeing. Or, to make it fancy, puree all of the soup and dollop a little crème fraîche on top.

Brothy, Garlicky Beans

Serves: 4 as a side, with leftovers

Stubbs says: “This recipe is a great component dish to have on hand. It is tasty on its own, with rice and…

Masha Gutic’s Comfort Food is Soup

masha

The model shares her recipes for a warming bowl of butternut bisque and home-baked bread

When rising-star model Masha Gutic isn’t killing it in front of the camera (she recently starred in BCBGeneration’s fall campaign), the Russian-born blonde bombshell spends plenty of time in the gym, working out with weights and getting in her cardio. Gutic’s other super-healthy habit: she loves to cook.

She shared with Tone & Style one of her favorite recipes for early winter’s frigid days—butternut squash soup served with a slice of whole-wheat bread Gutic bakes herself. (Cue the applause!) “I like crispy bread, so I put the bread making machine on the crusty loaf setting. It takes about 3 hours to bake, so while I’m waiting for my bread to bake, I make the soup,” says Gutic. “It helps me stay warm in cold weather.”

We love how easy-peasy her recipes are. Gutic uses just a handful of ingredients for her soup and relies on active yeast and a bread machine to make the bread making super simple…

What To Serve With The Bird: 20 Soups, Salads & Sides For Thanksgiving

Jazz up your Thanksgiving meal with some show-stopping soups, salads and sides. From Curried Cauliflower Soup to Broccoli with Chipotle-Honey Butter, these easy and elegant dishes will be the stars of your holiday spread.

2016-11-20-1479650189-9017027-carrotandsweetpotatosoup1.jpg

Made with carrots, sweet potatoes, apples and honey, this savory soup with a hint of sweetness and spice is the essence of fall. The secret ingredient is curry powder, which doesn’t give the soup an Indian flavor like you might think, but instead lends a subtle hint of autumn spice. GET THE RECIPE

2016-11-09-1478730925-4812364-mesclunsalad.jpg

This salad is perfect for entertaining — the glazed pecans and goat cheese dress it up, and the vinaigrette is one of those salty-sweet-tangy flavor combinations that everyone loves. GET THE RECIPE

2016-11-09-1478733550-3773134-pumpkinleeksoup.jpg

In this velvety soup, pumpkin is simmered with leeks, apples, maple syrup, and herbs. Instead of the typical autumn spices, cumin and cayenne pepper lend smoky, spicy flavor. GET THE RECIPE

2016-11-09-1478732020-8036406-orangeonionsalad.jpg

Inspired by Patrick O’Connell’s Inn at Little Washington Cookbook, this salad of oranges, broiled red onions, and greens is dressed in a cinnamon- and nutmeg-laced vinaigrette. The flavors are surprisingly delicious and perfect for fall. GET THE RECIPE

2016-11-20-1479650531-2935547-curriedcauliflowerandapplesoup.jpg

In this east recipe, the mild nuttiness of the cauliflower, tart sweetness of the apples, and aromatic heat of the curry blend together into a wonderfully creamy and seductive soup. GET THE RECIPE

2016-11-10-1478741593-4172293-sweetpotatobiscuits.jpg

These fluffy sweet potato biscuits, adapted from Paula Deen’s Southern Cooking Bible, can be served for breakfast or dinner. They’re especially delicious slathered with homemade honey butter. GET THE RECIPE

2016-11-20-1479650978-547275-CranberryDijonVinaigrette.jpg

Made with puréed fresh cranberries, the bright pink vinaigrette is full of tangy-sweet flavor and perfect for the holidays. I love it drizzled over a salad of mixed greens, sliced apples, toasted walnuts, and goat cheese. It also makes a fabulous turkey sandwich spread. GET THE RECIPE

2016-11-09-1478729057-6404414-brusselssproutgratin.jpg

This creamy gratin is perfect for the holidays…

Interests - Select all that apply