February 9, 2010

Salad Dressings

This is going to be a great place to store recipes and ideas. Most of the meals I prepare begin with someone else's recipe, or recipes from magazines, the internet, or cookbooks. (I have more cookbooks than a human should own.) I make most recipes pretty close to the way it was written the first time I make it, substituting plant based products in place of any animal products as often as I can. Then the next time I make the same dish, it will take on many changes as I play in my kitchen. I like to take conventional recipes and change the ingredients so we can eat the same things we love, like the occasional cake or cookies, but without the animal products.

I love to go out to eat, find something wonderful and go home and try to recreate it. Many times it works out great, sometimes it doesn't. Some things take experimenting with a couple of times to get the right consistency. When I make a cake using an egg substitute or agave instead of raw sugar, I don't always get the right dry to liquid ratios with some of the substitutions. Most of the time it's a consistency issue and not taste. But I keep at it until I get it right. I think the worst thing my husband has ever said about my food is, "this one is hard core hippie food, don't know if your friends at work will like it." I think that's his way of keeping the goodies at our house.

Throughout my journey from the Standard American Diet, SAD, to a diet consisting of 90% fruits and vegetables I have taken classes, gone to many presentations, and read a quite a few books on the subject. A couple of my favorites are Becoming Vegetarian, by Vesanto Melina and Brenda Davis and Getting Into Your Pants, by Dr. Leslie Van Romer. Both of these authors and nutrition specialists have given me some great direction. They both not only reinforced everything I have been learning about the health benefits of a plant based diet, they gave me some tools and directions about HOW to make the change and eat a consistently good, nutritious diet. They both lay out the basics: plenty of raw fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and very little or no dairy products is better. They also talk about menu planning and how to eat the right foods so that I get all the nutrients I need to stay healthy and hopefully avoid common diseases like diabetes and coronary disease. Dr. Leslie makes it super easy, eat ten servings of fruits and vegetables first, everyday, shop in the produce section only,and if it has a label maybe I shouldn't be eating it at all.

I get a regular inspirational email from Dr. Leslie Van Romer with healthy eating encouragement and tips. Today she sent some nice salad dressing recipes. I thought I would share a few of them. I usually go for her favorite, the diced avocado, balsamic vinegar, and freshly squeezed lemon. I use fresh orange or lime juice too sometimes instead of lemon. But, I do like to change up the menu now and then and make something different. After all, if it gets boring, we might not continue. So far my husband and I are enjoying this journey very much.

I am probably going to try the Creamy cashew dressing first, but I will try them all. I like creating with raw cashews, I can do so many things with raw cashews. I can make vegan chipotle cream sauce, vegan whipped cream, and a ricotta for raw lasagna with raw cashews. I also put them in my chili, they plump up like a nice big, sweet bean.

Creamy Cashew Salad Dressing
By Julia Spagnoli 


1 cup Unsweetened Soy Milk (or simply water)
1 cup Raw Cashews
1 large Lemon, juiced
2 teaspoons No-Salt Mustard
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1/2 cup Riesling Raisin Vinegar (whatever vinegar you’d like)
1Tbs. flax seed (Lorna added this when she stopped using soy milk. The water made it thinner and the flax seed thickens it. Great tip, Lorna!)

Instructions: Put all ingredients in Vita-mix or blender and blend until very smooth. Delicious!

Caesar Salad Dressing
(per Lorna Grant) By Casinera


4 - 8 cloves garlic, roasted *
1 cup unsweetened soy milk (or water)
1/2 cup cashew butter
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions: Roast garlic, then blend all ingredients together.
* To roast garlic; break the cloves apart. Leave the papery skins on. Roast at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes until mushy. When cool, remove skins.

Herb Lemon Dressing
“God’s Garden” by Rhonda Malkmus

1/3 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup distilled water
1/3 cup honey
1/2 tsp. Celtic sea salt
1 garlic clove
1 Tbsp. minced onion
1/2 tsp. basil
1 tsp. oregano

Mince garlic clove and onion and combine with liquids. Add herbs and allow it to sit several hours for the flavors to combine.

Avocado & Tomato Dressing
“God’s Garden” by Rhonda Malkmus

2 ripe tomatoes
1 stalk of celery
1 ripe avocado

Blend all ingredients in blender until smooth, add herbs of your choice.

No-Oil Poppy Seed Dressing
“God’s Garden” by Rhonda Malkmus

1 cup distilled water or vegetable soup stock
1 Tbsp. arrow root powder

Mix well and pour into a small saucepan, heat until clear and thickened, allow to cool slightly, pour into blender and add the following: 1/3 cup lemon juice 1/3 cup honey 2 Tbsp. poppy seeds 1/4 tsp. Celtic sea salt (optional) 1 tsp. dry mustard (optional) 1 tsp. paprika Blend well, pour into jar and refrigerate until ready to serve.


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