Buttermilk may be an acquired taste for drinking, but as a base for low calorie salad dressings it’s a star. Tart, tangy, smooth and creamy, it adds the perfect finish to greens, vegetables, and more.
Buttermilk sounds like it would be a rich, high-fat, high-calorie product, but the name is misleading. There is no butter in buttermilk; traditionally, buttermilk was the liquid left over when cream was churned into butter. Modern buttermilk is a cultured product, created by adding a lactic acid bacteria culture to skim or non-fat milk and letting the mixture ferment for 12 to 14 hours.
The taste of buttermilk is pleasantly tangy, somewhat like yogurt or sour cream. The texture is thicker than regular milk, which makes it a perfect base for creamy sauces and dressings, and the diet-friendly calorie and fat counts (less than 100 calories and 2 grams of fat per cup) make it a natural for low calorie salad dressings.
If you’re in the mood for a buttermilk-based dressing but have none on hand, you can even make your own. Adding one tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to a cup of milk will create a very usable substitute, as will adding two teaspoons of cream of tartar to a cup of milk. In most recipes you can also substitute an equal measure of plain yogurt for buttermilk.
One of the best things about buttermilk-based salad dressing is its adaptability. The Basic Buttermilk Dressing is great on its own, but some simple add-ins can change the flavor entirely.
Basic Buttermilk Low Calorie Salad Dressing
• 1/2 cup lowfat buttermilk
• 1 tablespoon vinegar
• 1/2 teaspoon sugar
• 2 teaspoons mustard
• Salt and pepper to taste
Enhance with Add-insTry adding the following, alone or in combination to your personal taste.
• 1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
• 1/2 – 1 teaspoon Worchestershire sauce
• 1/2 – 1 teaspoon garlic powder
• 1/2 – 1 teaspoon onion powder
• 1 tablespoon dried chives
• 1 teaspoon oregano or Italian seasoning
Make it Cheesy: reduce the buttermilk to a quarter cup and add a half cup of low-fat cottage cheese, a tablespoon of minced onion, and a teaspoon of garlic powder. Process in blender till smooth.
Greek Cucumber: increase buttermilk to one cup and add 1/4 cup finely grated cucumber, 2-3 minced green onions, and 1/4 teaspoon dried dill. Substitute 2 teaspoons of lemon juice for the vinegar in the basic recipe.
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