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Sensational summer dressings

Find salads a bit dull and boring? A delicious, healthy salad dressing can make all the difference and it also adds flavour and extra nutrition to your meal! Here are some of the wonderful ingredients I use in my dressings.

Citrus fruits

Lemon, lime and orange all work well on their own or are perfect as part of a mixed dressing. Rich in vitamin C, they are great for your skin, keep your immune system strong and help absorb any iron from other ingredients you might have in your salad which have iron in them!

Vinegars

I love them all – balsamic, white wine, red wine, apple cider – they all have their place.

Oils

Small amounts of healthy fat helps the absorption of vitamins found in salad ingredients. A little can go a long way, too. A traditional balsamic dressing is often 50 per cent oil and 50 per cent vinegar –  although I use 25 per cent oil and 75 per cent vinegar and it is still perfect. I am a big fan of extra virgin olive oil, avocado, sesame, cold-pressed flaxseed  and nut-based oils in my dressings. The trick is to use the best quality you can afford and keep it in a cool dark place to keep it fresh.

Other additions I love

Chilli, wasabi, mayo (I always water it down and make a little go a long way), tahini, yoghurt, mustard, fresh herbs, black pepper and lots of it!

Now – let’s put this into action, here are some of my all-time favourite dressing recipes.

Sesame dressing

Serves 4

1 tablespoon neutral flavoured oil (such as canola or rice bran oil)
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons vinegar (I use sushi vinegar but cider or white is fine)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon roasted sesame seeds
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon sugar dissolved in 3 tablespoons water

Step 1 Pop all the ingredients into a mini blender or if you don’t have one – crush the sesame seeds with a pestle and mortar and then add all the ingredients to a jam jar and shake away! Ideal with coleslaw or on stir-fried Asian greens.

Tahini dressing

Serves 4-6

1/2 cup low-fat natural unsweetened yogurt
2 tablespoons tahini
1 small clove garlic, crushed
squeeze lemon juice
salt and pepper, to taste

Step 1 Mix everything together in a jug or clean jam jar. For a thinner consistency, add a little water or be sure to buy a yoghurt which has more of a pouring consistency. Delicious with a chicken or chickpea salad.

Wasabi mayo

Serves 2

2 tablespoons light mayo
large squeeze wasabi paste
2-3 tablespoons boiling water

Step 1 Mix together and serve! Great on coleslaw, perfect with a salad that you plan to serve with fish – especially salmon.

Lemon/mustard dressing

Serves 4-6

juice of 1 large or 2 small lemons
2 tablespoons olive oil
zest from 1 lemon
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
salt and pepper, to taste

Step 1 Mix all ingredients together in a small jug. Great with Edamame and chickpea salad.

Enjoy and share your ideas, recipes and comments below.

Until next time – happier, healthier living!

Love, Claire x

Claire Turnbull, BSc (Hons) Dietetics UK, NZ-registered nutritionist. Managing director of Mission Nutrition, and Healthy Food Guide nutritionist.

First published: Nov 2013
Last updated: April 3 2017
Last science review: October 10 2016



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