Including salads in your regular meals is one of the simplest ways to stay fit! However, the salad dressing plays a major role in adding taste and also determining the number of calories in any salad. You may like gorging on leafy greens dipped in mayonnaise and cream cheese, but the healthiest ones are those with a light dressing such as lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil, herbs and spices. Salads with a light dressing are low in fats and high in nutrients.Naini Setalvad gives us six low-cal yet tasty salad dressings which will make eating raw, bland veggies more interesting with a healthy twist. Here are some of the health benefits of salads.
LOW-FAT RANCH DRESSING
Good on leafy salads made of sturdy greens like lettuce or spinach. You can also try this healthy leafy salad for weight loss.
- 1 cup buttermilk
- cup low-fat paneer
- 2 to 3 tbsp dried onion flakes
- to tsp salt
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- Lots of black pepper
- Whisk everything together.
- Keep in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator and add a few tablespoons of this dressing on your salad.
Basic dressing for green salads. It stays for weeks. Try this healthy boiled peanut salad.
- cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 to 5 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- to 1 tsp salt
- 1 to 2 medium clove garlic, minced
- Combine everything in a jar, cover tightly and shake well.
- Sprinkle it on salad when required.
VARIATIONS TO BASIC VINAIGRETTE
These are just a few suggestions. You can experiment even further with your own ideas.
- Add 3 to 4 tbsp of orange or apple juice or 2 tbsp lemon juice plus a little grated lemon rind.
- Also add very finely minced parsley and/or coriander and other herbs (fresh or dried basil, dill, marjoram, chives or thyme).
- Substitute some of the olive oil with nut oil.
- Substitute different flavours of vinegar (fruit-infused, red or white wine).
- Add 1 to 2 tsp good quality mustard.
- For creamy vinaigrette, add 2 to 3 tbsp of yoghurt just before you serve.
SPICY SALAD DRESSING
- 1/3 cup lemon juice
- tsp dry mustard powder
- cup fresh tomato puree (1 tomato in a mixer)
- tsp red chilli powder
- tsp tabasco
- tsp salt
- tsp jaggery (dissolved in hot water)
Combine all ingredients in a jar. Shake well and refrigerate in a tightly covered jar. It stays for 2-3 days. Try this spicy watermelon and tomato chaat salad.
The bright red salsa can be tossed into any vegetable combination.
- 200g tomatoes
- 100g green capsicum
- 1 tsp red chilli powder
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp chilli flakes
- 2-3 garlic flakes, grated
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
- Salt to taste
- Boil the tomatoes, and peel the skin.
- Place 2 boiled tomatoes in a blender. Add red chilli powder, balsamic vinegar and salt to it and blend.
- Chop the rest of the tomatoes finely.
- Roast the capsicum directly on the flame till they are little blackened.
- Scrape off the skin and chop the capsicum finely.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and capsicum to the tomato pulp.
- Add the oregano, garlic, vinegar and the chilli flakes to the salsa.
- Chill it and serve with the quesadillas.
THAI SALAD DRESSING
Made entirely with ordinary and familiar supermarket items, this salad with its tart-sweet-spicy dressing is surprisingly exotic. Potatoes need to be cooked in advance. The dressing stays for weeks so make it any time. Here is another healthy Thai raw papaya salad.
- 6 tbsp good peanut butter
- 1 cup boiling water
- 4 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp jaggery or honey
- 1 to 1 tsp salt
- 3 to 4 medium cloves garlic minced
- Crushed red pepper to taste
Mix all of these together and toss on any vegetable.
Image source: Getty Images
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For more information please see the list of Best salad dressings for weight loss