Awhile back I posted my ratio for a basic vinaigrette. This is my go-to plan for dressing because I can easily vary the ingredients to compliment my salad, adjust the total quantity, and the flavors are always properly balanced. It also uses far less oil than most dressing recipes; I use 1 part oil for 1 part flavor, many use 4 parts oil to 1 part flavor.
So of course I set out to find a good substitute for the oil in the dressing. The most important qualities in this substitute: 1. low-calorie 2. delicious 3. strong enough flavor to balance out the vinegar component of the dressing 4. enough texture that the dressing would taste hearty and not watery. After some rustling around in the fridge, I found something that did the job, and maybe even did it better than oil!!
I began the recipe like normal: one part sweet, one part sour, a little salt and some herbs. But instead of mixing in a jar, I added the ingredients to my little Cuisinart mini food processor. And instead of adding the 2 parts of oil, I added half of a roasted red pepper (instructions conveniently provided yesterday!) and a small drizzle of oil (to help the dressing stick to the greens and to improve mouthfeel.) The results of this Roasted Red Pepper Dressing were AMAZING, and will definitely continue post-p90x.
Since then I’ve tried caramelized onions (YUM!!), sautéed mushrooms, olives, spinach/herbs, sun dried tomato, and raw red bell pepper in place of the oil, all with delicious results. I’m sure there are many other vegetables that would be delicious in the dressing, either roasted or raw.
Here’s a sample of my roasted red bell pepper ratio (see the original post for further explanation of this approach to dressing making)
- 1 part balsamic vinegar
- 1 part turbinado sugar
- pinch of salt
- a few sprigs of basil leaves
- 2 parts pureed roasted red pepper (peeled and seeded before pureed)
- small drizzle of oil, about a 1/2 teaspoon
Blend it all up in the food processor or blender, and toss it on your salad!