Thursday, May 17, 2012

Avocado-Orange Salad Dressing

It's been coming at me from all directions for some time now, the idea that oils - even the "good" oils like olive and coconut - are not actually all that good for us. I've felt that as vegans, we leave enough out of our food already - all that yucky animal fat and cholesterol - that cooking with olive oil couldn't be a bad thing. I think perhaps I've been fooling myself, because adding fat to food, is, well, fattening. Want some convincing? Watch this short video from Jeff Novick. It'll make you think.

I've been running at least 3 times a week for almost 4 months now, and although I'm in better shape than when I started, I've only lost about 4 pounds. Dang, that seems unfair! I watched The Engine 2 Kitchen Rescue yesterday (you can stream it on Netflix), and that hunky fireman, Rip Esselstyn, from Forks Over Knives, convinced me to take another look at adding fat to my food.

I know some of my friends will just sigh and shake their heads, but I'm really excited. This is a fun challenge for me, to take the amazingly delicious vegan foods I already love, and make them even healthier (and slimmer) with some help from my recent Vegan Fusion chef training. Can the food around my house get any better? Yep, it sure can. My mission, starting today, is to see how little oil I can add to our food. This is not meant to mean "fat free." The human body needs fat, but we get plenty of it from whole, unprocessed foods. Oil, even olive oil, is processed, concentrated fat, so if I want the flavor of olives, I'll use olives, because they're still a whole food, filled with nice little nutrients and fiber.

To get me started, I tackled something we eat almost every day for lunch... salad. Nothing wrong with a big bowl of fresh crunchy veggies, but what about the dressing? Most of mine are oil based, so I had to do a little looking around for tasty oil-less dressings to make at home. I never buy bottled dressings. Never! Flipping through the book, Forks Over Knives, I spotted a recipe for Citrus Chile Dressing that looked good. Below is my version of it, and it's terrific.

Avocado-Orange Salad Dressing
1 cup orange juice
juice of 1/2 lime
1/4 cup dijon mustard
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 cloves garlic
1 T maple syrup
1 T ground flaxseed
1 avocado
1-3 tsp chile powder, to taste
a little chipotle powder, to taste

Blend everything in the blender. Adjust seasonings. The flaxseed will thicken the dressing after about 5 minutes. The original recipe doesn't call for avocado, and it works great either way. The addition of avo adds some lovely, truly healthy fat, and a richness that's often missing from totally fat free dressings. It changes the color from bright orange to a more brownish orange, but who cares? This is great on a salad with black beans, corn, tomatoes, black olives, and maybe even a little more avocado. Mmmm... real food!


Kristi Bowman said...

Great Video Kim!! I've been plant based for about 5 months now. Love it!! I got the online Vegan Vusion class and I've been trying to adjust everything to no oil added. Dressings are the most challenging. Thanks for the tip!

Anonymous said...

Mmmm - this sounds scrumptious! Avocados are one of my favorite foods, so I can't wait to try this one. Thanks for sharing! oxox M-E