How to Make Salads Not Suck: Part 1

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Written by Coach Lisa

When you’re trying to eat healthier, what is the first thing you might add to your meal to incorporate more nutrients and vegetables? The most common answer: salad.

Salads are great! They can be quick and easy to throw together. The options for types of salads and combinations of vegetables are unlimited. They can be the main course of a meal or a side dish. You can make them kid-friendly, or they can be part of an elegant adult gathering.

What is the fastest way to ruin a salad? Dressing.

Don’t get me wrong, I think a salad should absolutely be dressed. However! Most store bought salad dressings are awful for you and destroy the healthy effort you’re trying to make by eating a salad in the first place.

Exhibit A: Three different ingredient lists from store-bought dressings.

The first dressing is from a large national brand, the second is an organic brand that uses phrases like “Natural Flavors,” “No Preservatives” to claim health, and the third is a top shelf brand that claims quality ingredients.

While all three are different brands, their ingredient lists aren’t all that different. The fewest ingredients listed is 11 and the most is 18. I had trouble finding a dressing with fewer than 10 ingredients, and no problem with more, but these are a pretty common representation of what you might pick up at your local grocery store.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not interested in topping off my plate of salad with vegetable oil (canola or soybean), sugars, concentrates, preservatives and other ingredients I have trouble pronouncing.

My solution? I make my own salad dressing!

I think people are often intimidated by making their own sauces, dressings, dips, etcetera because they don’t know how, don’t think it will taste good, or it is too time consuming. Well guess what! My recipe is healthy, has only 7 ingredients and takes about 5 minutes to make enough to last you a week or more (depending how much you use per salad and how often you eat salad). Most importantly: IT’S GOOD!

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Most of these ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen, and if you don’t they are not expensive to purchase. I do recommend finding a quality balsamic vinegar that doesn’t contain any additives and use extra virgin olive oil – a reputable brand with ‘cold press’ on the label is a good choice. Many store brands do not meet the criteria to be labeled extra virgin, so do your research!

Lisa’s Homemade Salad Dressing

Ingredients

3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 heaping spoonfuls minced garlic
2 teaspoons oregano
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper
3 packets stevia for sweetness (1g each)

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a deep bowl and use an immersion blender to thoroughly combine all ingredients. Blend until smooth and creamy. Enjoy!

Notes

Salad dressing should be stored in an airtight container or salad dressing bottle (like this one) in your fridge.

Depending on your taste preference, you can add more or less garlic. Anthony and I love garlic, so sometimes I make this with 2 extra spoonfuls! If you’re in a pinch, granulated garlic from your spice cabinet will do the trick.

We like to use stevia for added sweetness to our food because it’s plant-based and minimally processed, but you could also use pure maple syrup or raw honey. Make sure you choose an option that is healthy!

Dressing will separate a bit when stored in the fridge. Just shake up it before serving.

Look out for How to Make Salads Not Suck: Part 2 next week!

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