Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette
I could definitely write an entire cookbook of salad dressing recipes and who knows, maybe I will at some point. To start off with, I want to share my most favorite, flavor packed dressing formula and discuss some of the reasons why you should be making your own dressings at home.
It’s no surprise that most people would consider salads to be healthy. Typically comprised of a variety of raw vegetables, nuts, lean protein and fruits, why would you think anything other than that you’re making a responsible choice?
If you aren’t making your own dressings, you should. If you don’t, I encourage you to go take a look in the fridge at the ingredients in your favorite dressings. I am sure you will be unpleasantly surprised.
Most premade dressings are made with a base of some type of oil. Usually these are unsaturated fat (the good kind). Some use olive oil but more often, they are bases using canola or soybean oils. This is actually not the root of the problem.
The main issue is that most of these products are extremely high in preservatives, sodium and processed sugar like fructose, sucrose and corn syrup. Go ahead and check your labels. I’ll wait… Did you also happen to see a load of saturated fat up in there? Gross and unnecessary!
Many of these products are marketed as “low fat”. This is generally a simple marketing ploy to make the consumer believe they are eating something that’s good for them. Fat is not really the problem however and these products marketed as such typically are highly processed and contain loads of sugar and trans fats which are all linked to inflammation, obesity and heart disease.
One other thing you should take note of is the serving size. Most dressings will suggest a serving size to be about a tablespoon so you should be getting 40-60 servings or more from one bottle but do you really use just a tablespoon? I highly doubt it. This is a marketing ploy that makes you feel better about using the product and if only a small amount is used then obviously the volumes of nasty stuff appears to be lower and much safer to consume. The reality is, you’re likely using 3-4 times the amount of the suggested serving size so it’s important to multiple all the sugar, salt and saturated fat numbers accordingly.
Also important to consider, especially with self stable dressings, is what kind of preservatives are used to make the dressing last through the apocalypse. In my opinion, food should not be made or prepared to last forever. It’s kind of disgusting when you think about it. Check the born on date on your dressing bottles. Were they even made this year?
There are two types of preservatives that food manufacturers use to keep their products from spoiling quickly — natural and unnatural preservatives. Some examples of natural preservatives include oil, sugar and salt. These can be used in more natural food preservation techniques like canning, curing or fermenting.
Unnatural preservatives are basically chemicals used to make food products last longer. On your dressing label, these may be noted as “additives” or artificial preservatives.
Many of the serious health issues facing us as packaged food consumers stem from the mass consumption of processed food, natural and unnatural preservatives. And while manufacturing foods like this may make life more convenient, it is leading to increased risk of various cancers and heart disease.
If you can’t pronounce an ingredient on your salad dressing label, please throw it away. It’s not food. It’s chemical and it’s hurting your body.
Completely letting go of processed foods isn’t easy to do but if you can focus your diet more on lean protein, fresh organic fruits and vegetables and less on premade convenience foods, your body will thank you 100 times over.
The dressing recipe I will share can be multiplied if you’d like a large batch but keep in mind that you should use it up within a week or so which shouldn’t be too hard to do as this recipe is so versatile, you won’t just want to use it on lettuce. You’ll want to use it on everything from noodles to tacos and roasted vegetables! You can even blend the dressing with some avocado to thicken it and transform it into a healthy creamy version of the vinaigrette!
This recipe will yield one cup of dressing.
Let’s get started!
- 2 cups fresh cilantro leaves (packed)
- 3 Tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice
- 2 Tbsp water
- 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tsp honey
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp chopped garlic
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 cup good quality olive oil
- salt to taste
This couldn’t be easier to make. Add all the ingredients except the olive oil to your blender or food processor.
Whiz on high to blend and incorporate. If you’re using a food processor, use a rubber spatula to scrape the sides down to be sure all the cilantro and garlic is processed well.
Pour the dressing into a medium sized bowl and whisk in your olive oil. Taste and adjust the seasoning by adding more salt or lime juice if needed.
If you would like to make this a thicker and creamy version, pour the finished dressing back into your blender or food processor and add one peeled, seeded avocado and process until smooth.
You can store the dressing in a ball jar in the fridge.