Good Oil & Vinegar Dressings for a Diet
Salads are a mainstay of weight loss diets, but you don't want to ruin your salad by drenching it with unhealthy dressing. Bottled salad dressings from the supermarket can come loaded with artificial ingredients and added sugars, not to mention calories. A much better option is to make your own dressing with a few healthy ingredients, such as extra-virgin olive oil and vinegar.
Besides salads, olive oil and vinegar dressings also taste great drizzled on vegetables and cooked whole-grains, such as brown rice, barley and farro. You can use dressing to marinate fish, chicken or lean beef, all of which fit nicely into a diet.
Oils and Your Diet
Making your own salad dressing doesn't have to be complicated. A very basic dressing is olive oil and vinegar combined with seasoning. While olive oil is a fat, it's an unsaturated fat that provides many health benefits, including helping to lower the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Fats are also a vital part of good nutrition. Fats provide energy, as well as help with the absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.
Keep in mind that while olive oil is healthy, it's still high in calories. One tablespoon provides 120 calories, so use it in moderation, especially if you're trying to manage your weight. How much oil a person can and should eat in a day depends on age, sex and physical activity level. The USDA's general daily allowance for oils is 5 to 6 teaspoons a day for women and 6 to 7 teaspoons a day for men.
Basic Olive Oil Dressing
The highest quality olive oil is extra-virgin olive oil. Good extra-virgin olive oil has a bright and lively flavor, with some tasting more peppery and others more buttery, and it needs nothing more than salt and pepper. After compiling your salad, simply drizzle it with a teaspoon or two of extra-virgin olive oil and then sprinkle some seasoning over it.
For more flavor, add a bit of balsamic vinegar to your olive oil. Balsamic vinegar provides a tart taste that can have hints of oak, fruit, molasses or chocolate. Although you get more flavor by adding balsamic vinegar to olive oil, it's low in calories. One tablespoon of balsamic vinegar only has 14 calories.
Vinegar added to olive oil is called a vinaigrette. A basic French vinaigrette is three to four parts oil to one part vinegar, so use 3 or 4 tablespoons of olive oil to a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar. Once you have mixed together the oil and vinegar in a bowl or cup, you can add in whatever seasonings you like, including salt, pepper and various herbs, such as basil and oregano. For some punch, you can also mix in some finely chopped shallot or garlic.
For an even tastier dressing, do a citrus vinaigrette which replaces the vinegar with fresh lemon, lime or orange juice. Add Dijon mustard, herbs and a dash of salt and pepper and whisk it together.
Other Types of Vinegars
If balsamic vinegar isn't to your liking, there are other you can try, including rice vinegar, white wine vinegar, red wine vinegar and champagne vinegar. There are also fruit-flavored vinegars, such as raspberry and blueberry. Like balsamic, other vinegars provide lots of flavor with few calories. Red wine vinegar, for example, has only 3 calories per tablespoon.
No matter what type of oil and vinegar combination you use to dress your salad, watching your dressing portion will help you get to your weight loss goal.
At 1787 Olive Oil and More, we have the freshest selection of single varietal extra virgin olive oils and aged balsamic vinegars on tap. Over 40 varieties as a matter of fact. Contact us for more details at (412) 384-1787 or visit our website at