Healthy Salad Dressing Ingredients

As we’re into summer now – though Scotland seems to have failed to get the memo so far – I thought I’d put together a little list of ideas for salad dressings. Salad dressings often get bad rep. and it’s often assumed that all dressings are high calorie and high in saturated fats. This is not wholly true though. There are a number of ways you can have a salad dressed with a proper healthy option. The fats in these dressings are ones which are good for you and which you do need, rather than a lot of saturated fats of which you don’t want a lot. It is more the acidic content you want to be wary of when it comes to vinegar-based or lemon based dressings (and that’s regarding your teeth not your body as a whole!) But as long as you don’t go overboard with dressing you’ll be fine. As always, it’s about balance, moderation, and common sense.

Here is my suggestions of dressing ingredients:

OILS

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • The standard minimal dressing if used on its own – plain but still flavoursome. Go for as high quality as you can as the better quality the nicer it is as a dressing. You want a full, rich, taste.
  • The history of this oil is immense – stretching way back to Ancient times, favoured by the Meditteranean for centuries and one reason for the area being renowned for having a healthy diet.
  • It is high in mono and polyunsaturated fats – the good fats.
  • Mixed with vinegars it makes lovely dressings.
  • It can also be infused with fresh herbs such as sprigs of rosemary (just pop the rosemary into the bottle in which it is stored and leave it until the hints of the flavour can be tasted in the oil)
  • You can also buy oils pre-infused with not only herbs, but also chilli, or other things like red peppers, or tomatoes.

Rapeseed Oil

  • A cheaper alternative to olive oil, it doesn’t have the distinctive flavour and is made from the seeds of flowers but if looking for a milder alternative to olive oil, then this may be a good oil to try.
  • Like olive oil it is high in the good fats.
  • If you’re in Scotland, like I am, you’ll know that at this time of year many fields are bright yellow due to the growth of Rapeseed, so if you like supporting local produce rather than imported, then that could be another reason for opting to use this.
  • Alternatively use some parts olive oil with some parts rape in dressings. You’d be in good company as if you check the labels of a lot of pre-packed salads at the moment, you’ll find that’s what supermarkets are doing too! (Cost effective)

Cold-pressed Coconut Oil

  • Coconut oil is one of the new ‘superfood’ craze foods and if were it not for the fact I’m über obsessed with coconut in all forms (fresh, desiccated, milk, water), I may not have tried it because as with all new ‘super foods’ it comes with a ‘nice’ price tag! Not too extreme, but I still would only buy it when its on offer.
  • This oil is solid at room temperature so if using as a dressing it will need to be warmed up (just leave some out in a small cup and it will melt if it is a warm day)
  • Unlike, traditional ‘healthy oils’ coconut oil does have saturated fats but from my reading on the subject, the form in which the fats take, are not as bad as other saturated fats in the way our body deals with them. (A quick search on a search engine will let you see my sources so go give them a read if you’re interested. As I make clear, I’m no nutritionist just a passionate healthy foodie who wants to keep her body as healthy as possible!)
  • The taste of the oil is gorgeous as it gives everything a coconut taste – hardly unsurprising (!) I use it a lot for cooking chicken.

There are more oils but these are my top 3.

VINEGARS

Balsamic

  • This includes standard balsamic vinegar, balsamic glazes, and infused balsamic vinegars (e.g. raspberry, orange, strawberry, or garlic)
  • Balsamic is a wonderful dressing on its own, combined with other condiments to map dressings, while it is also a great dip for freshly baked rustic Italian bread too.

White Wine Vinegar

  • This is a great base for a number of dressings – French, mustard, or simple vinaigrettes.

Cider Vinegar

  • Made from apples this is a traditional British vinegar
  • Although I personally don’t like this, I’m including it as comes with numerous benefits (There are even books devoted to the goodness of it.)
  • In dressings it is often used with salads containing radishes, walnuts, apples etc.

HEAT

Mustard

  • Mustard seeds or powder can both be used
  • Adds distinctive spiciness

Chilli

  • Adds a fiery heat
  • Cook first then chop finely or use dried chilli flakes

Horseradish

  • Great using for salads containing oily fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel)
  • Also great with thinly sliced beef in salads
  • It add an undeniable hotness

Garlic

  • Can use in a variety of ways – roasted, bought in an oil suspension, garlic paste
  • All of the above ways make great additions to salad dressings

SWEETNESS

Honey

  • Adds sweetness to dressings to counteract and complement the acidity / flavour of other ingredients e.g. lemon / mustard seeds
  • Goes great in mustard seed dressings

Maple Syrup

  • Similar to honey but with its distinctive flavour and less sweet (nutritionally lower in sugar too)

Dried Fruit

  • Dates (standard or the currently Medjool dates)
  • Finely chop or blend to a paste

Orange juice / Pureed Raspberries / Strawberries

  • All add sweetness and go lovely with balsamic based dressings

SOURNESS 

Lemon

  • The juice of lemon is a wonderful contrast to the flavour of salmon but equally goes with a variety of salads

Lime

  • Lime juice adds sourness again but with a less bitter taste

HERBS (just a selection)

Mint

  • A classic
  • Finely chop it in the dressing and also leave some to sprinkle over at the end too for a nice final touch

Fresh Basil

  • The basis of the tasty thing that is pesto!
  • Can be used blended (in oil / vinegar etc.), finely chopped, or whole

Oregano

  • My second favourite herb after basil
  • Use in a similar fashion to basil

Parsley

  • Can be used in dressings for many different salads
  • Looks great finely chopped sprinkled over the top too

NOT FORGETTING…

Sea Salt

Black Pepper

Add these to taste and I also seem to finish with a twist of freshly ground black pepper over everything savoury I cook. You just need to check my previous posts to see!


Hope you found this useful,

Helen x

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Copyright HLDCblog // Helen Redman 2014-2015.

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Clean Pizza (Omelette Pizza)

Who likes pizza?! Ok, so this may not be traditional pizza but then this blog is a healthy living blog, and unfortunately, pizzas are not the healthiest of things! This, however, is a recipe for a pizza-type dish that you can enjoy as often as you like without feeling in the slightest bit guilty about eating. (Not that you need feel guilty for eating pizza but if you’re eating it regularly, especially take-away ones, then it’s not going to be doing your body much good.) I made this last night for a quick, late dinner as I realised it had gotten to 10pm and I hadn’t eaten anything proper all evening. The clocks went forward this weekend in the UK so I blame that for messing me up with regards to an evening meal routine! Still, it’s nice to think it’s British Summer Time now. Unfortunately, the message doesn’t seem to have reached the sun itself yet…

Anyway, back to food. This pizza omelette is really easy and versatile to make. You can add whatever toppings you like and it is naturally gluten free as the base is made from eggs rather than flour like a traditional pizza. I made mine vegetarian but you could easily top with cooked lean meat, omega-3 rich fish, or even meat-free substitutes like tofu. It’s clean and lean and can be served for breakfast, lunch or dinner and is packed with protein and also has chia seeds which are surprisingly filling and high in fibre.


 Recipe for Clean Pizza

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Base:

  • 3 large free range organic eggs
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Thyme
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric

To cook:

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil or other healthy oil

Suggested topping:Photo

  • Quartered cherry tomatoes
  • Chopped green pepper
  • Feta cheese (optional)

NOTE: If you are using meat or fish as a topping, then to make sure they are re-heated to being piping hot, it would be best to use an oven-proof or grill-proof pan and pop into the oven / grill once you add the topping and heat until the meat / fish is hot throughout.


Method:

Beat the eggs and add the rest of the ingredients               Photo

Place the oil in a pan and heat until hot

Pour the egg mixture into the pan and cook slowly – it should be about 3/4 cm thick

Once the top is beginning to set add your toppings and continue to cook making sure the bottom of the base is not getting overcooked (keep the gas low)

Once the topping is cooked, serve.

TIP: Once the top is just about set, flip the omelette in the pan and top with tomato puree. Then add your toppings on top.

(Optional: Add some feta cheese to make it more pizza-ey!)

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Serve on it’s own or with a baby kale and rocket salad.

Other topping ideas:

  • Olives, anchovies, and sundried tomatoes
  • Cooked chicken breast pieces, red onions, feta, and finely chopped fresh sage
  • Feta, tomatoes, basil, and spinach
  • Baby kale, avocado, and tomato
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Apologies for all the low-lighting in the photos – I took them at night and the lights in my kitchen are atrocious at the minute!!

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Love to Cycle

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This blog may be mainly about healthy eating, but it is also about healthy living in general. One of the ways I like to keep fit is by cycling regularly.

Who likes cycling?

Me! [Obviously]

For me, cycling is one of my favourite types of exercise. I love being out in the fresh air cycling, with a trail ahead of me, and good music playing on my iPod

First photo

I’m fortunate in that where I live, there are quite a number of cycle routes I can chose to go. Road biking or mountain biking – there are choices. It’s great! I’m much more of a fan of cycling off-road on woodland trails and nature trails, by rivers, and over different terrains. I find it exhilerating getting the speed up on the bike, and accelerating along a trail and descending down hills. As it is winter in Scotland just now, it is often freezing and frosty but with plenty of thin insulating layers, and training gloves plus mountain biking gloves, I manage to keep warm[ish!] Plus, once I get going the adrenaline gets pumping through me!

Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 10.49.30As an artist, too, I really enjoy being out and about seeing the natural beauty of light-dappled woodland trials, the view of glistening water from on a coastal track, and the naturally carved stone inlets and caves of cliffs weathered by the sea. Nature provides endless inspiration for my artistic pursuits. •

Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 10.48.41Reflections and shadows are things which I enjoy the most. These two photographs were taken on Saturday while I was out cycling in the countryside along a nature trail. There was frost on the trail but you wouldn’t think it was as cold as it actually was by these pictures!

Cycling photo

I don’t understand people whose sole exercise and fitness activities are confined to the four walls of a gym. I’d much rather be out in the fresh air passing changing scenery! I have been on cycling machines in gyms and every time I’ve been on one, there has been the choice of staring out the window into darkness (it was evening), or staring at my reflection in the mirror. Neither of which appeals to me! Obviously when weather conditions make outdoor exercise impossible, however, I can see why gyms would be useful. But, as for using them on an everyday basis, and never exercising outdoors, I don’t think they will ever be my idea of a good way to spend my money. Each to their own, though. I certainly have quite a few friends who just love going to the gym.

Cycling photoI’m off cycling now! Have a great day,

Helen x


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Smoothie 3: Breakfast smoothie with a kick

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This is the third of my smoothie recipes for the first full week of January. I past two smoothies were the Creamy Green Energy Machine and Tropical Dream.

Today’s smoothie  is a tasty, sweet, cherry and banana smoothie which has the addition of fresh ginger root to give a little kick. The bananas are packed with potassium, the cherries with antioxidants, and the flaxseed with omega 3. Moreover, the oats contain slow-release energy to get you going while the milk gives you calcium. What more could you want to kick start your day?!


Breakfast smoothie with a kick

Ingredients: 

  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup semi-skimmed milk (or unsweetened almond / soya milk)
  • 1/3 cup frozen cherries
  • 1/2-1 tsp fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp flaxseed (find in health food shops)
  • 3 tbsp oats

Optional: 1 tbsp chia seeds (find in health food shops)


Method:

Place everything into a jug and blend with a hand blender until fully combined into fruity deliciousness!

Serve straight away perhaps over some ice if you want a super cooling breakfast.

Have a great day,

Helen x

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