Low-calorie salad dressing is a must-have for those trying to trim excess fat and calories from their diets. Most dieters soon discover that most of the low-calorie salad dressings available on grocery store shelves lack the body and flavor of their fat and calorie-laden counterparts. Is it impossible to find a delicious, flavorful dressing that’s low in fat and calories? Not at all – just make your own!
One of the most versatile and nutritious bases for a home-made low calorie salad dressing is tofu. Tofu is a bean curd made from soy milk, in a process similar to that used to make cottage cheese. It’s very inexpensive, available at most grocery stores and supermarkets, and is very easy to cook with. The best news is, it’s low-calorie and highly nutritious. There’s an average of 95 calories in a half-cup serving of tofu, which equals less than 10 calories per tablespoon. The serving has only five grams of fat, and provides a whopping 10 grams of protein. Tofu is a no-cholesterol food, a good source of iron, and is loaded with calcium, supplying over 20% of the recommended daily allowance in one half-cup.
Tofu has almost no taste or aroma on its own, which makes it an ideal base to carry the flavors of herbs and spices which add punch to low-calorie salad dressings. The very soft or silken varieties of tofu are the best choices for dressing, as they can easily be beaten to a smooth, creamy texture. The smoothest dressings are made in a blender, but a food processor, electric mixer, or even a wire whip will result in a pleasantly creamy low calorie salad dressing. Use only the freshest tofu, and be sure to keep any unused tofu or dressing refrigerated.
A powerfully flavorful combination of herbs has made Green Goddess Dressing a perennial favorite with salad lovers. Many suppose the name comes from the rich, green color fresh parsley gives the dressing, but this is not the case. Green Goddess Dressing was first made in San Francisco’s Palace Hotel in 1923, for a dinner honoring stage actor George Arliss. Arliss was staying at the hotel while he appeared in a San Francisco production of a popular play, The Green Goddess. The dressing is often served on tossed salads containing avocado or anchovy, but these can be omitted without losing flavor.
Low Calorie Salad Dressing: Green Goddess Dressing
1/2 lb soft or silken tofu, mashed
2 Tbs oil
1 Tbs dry chives
Generous 1/4 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
2 Tbs white vinegar
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp tarragon (optional)
Pinch of black pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a blender or mixing bowl and blend or beat until smooth and creamy.
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