At over $4.00 per 8 ounce bottle, I was tired of spending so much money on organic salad dressing! But I refused to eat the chemical-filled, non-organic, less expensive salad dressing!
I use salad dressing quite frequently, both on salad and as a dip for fresh and cooked vegetables, so I want a good one. My 2 and 3-year-old boys love eating salad when it’s covered with a delicious dressing, and they often ask for seconds! Certainly, I want to fuel their little bodies with a dressing that provides healthy ingredients and fats, free of any GMO’s (genetically modified organisms) and pesticides.
Health Benefits of Olive Oil In Homemade Salad Dressing
Olive Oil Supports Heart Health: Olive oil is high in monounsaturated fat which increases the “healthy” cholesterol (HDL) and lowers the “lousy” cholesterol (LDL) in your blood. Here's more about the type of fat your heart loves.
Olive Oil Increases Absorption of Nutrients: I make my salad with a lot of different types of vegetables (ie: red cabbage, carrots, Brussel sprouts, kale). This is interesting—the nutrients in the vegetables and lettuce are better absorbed by using a salad dressing high in monounsaturated fat, compared to other types of fat. This is because specific nutrients called carotenoids require fat to be better absorbed. This includes carotenoids such as lutein, lycopene, beta-carotene and zeaxanthin, which are powerful antioxidants associated with reduced risk of several chronic and degenerative diseases such as cancer, heart disease and macular degeneration. I'll take as many of those as I can!
Olive Oil Contains Polyphenols: Polyphenols are compounds with antioxidant activity. The polyphenols actually interact with other nutrients in the salad and increase the nutritional value of a meal! For example, studies have shown when tomatoes have been cooked with olive oil, it improves their antioxidant activity.
Olive Oil's Flavor: The mild flavor pairs very well with vinegar and salad ingredients.
No GMO's: Olive oil doesn’t contain any GMO ingredients, which I personally avoid, like other oils.
Olive Oil Is Good For The Liver: Olive oil helps thin the bile, which is crucial for the liver to detoxify efficiently. Check out my blog, If you want a healthy liver, your bile matters!
My two “go-to” salad dressings are homemade balsamic vinaigrette and homemade creamy sweet onion balsamic.
HOMEMADE BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTE SALAD DRESSING—makes 1 pint
- 1 1/3 cup organic raw extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- 4 cloves garlic - minced
- 4 Tbsp. parsley, dried
- 4 tsp basil, dried
- 4 tsp minced onion, dried or ¼ real onion, finely diced
- 2 tsp salt
Two options for mixing: 1) Combine everything in a glass pint jar. Screw on lid and shake well. 2) Combine everything in the blender and blend until smooth. This dressing stores well at room temperature for up to one month. Shake before serving.
- 1 clove garlic, pressed
- 1/4 diced sweet onion
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup organic raw extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp coarse ground mustard
- 2 Tbsp honey
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp fresh ground pepper
Blend all ingredients in a small blender. Stores at room temperature for up to one month. Shake well before serving.
Kelly Harrington, MS, RDN
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for Healthy Goods
Goltz SR. Meal triacylglycerol profile modulates postprandial absorption of carotenoids in humans. Molecular Nutrition and Food Research