Tag Archives: Salad Dressing

{ Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette }

Cilantro Dressing on Fajita Salad

I love Southwestern-style salads, but I hate the calories that come with Chipotle Ranch salad dressing. So I set out to make a healthier alternative with fewer calories. The result?

This flavorful cilantro-lime vinaigrette made with greek yogurt. The yogurt gives the dressing a smooth creamy texture without the fat, while also sneaking in some additional protein.

I use this dressing as a veggie dip, as a sauce for chicken and beef empanadas, and of course, for salads (my favorite is over spinach in combination with with my black bean corn salad recipe).

{ Ingredients }

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup 0% plain yogurt (I like Fage or Chobani)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Cilantro Lime Ingredients

{ To Make the Dressing }

  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth.

In food processord

  1. Continue to add olive oil 1 tbsp at a time as necessary to create a smooth finish.
Finished Dressing

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{ Spinach Salad with Grilled Chicken and Dijon Balsamic Vinaigrette }

Spinach Salad with Grilled Chicken, Corn, Avocado, and Chickpeas tossed in a Dijon Balsamic VInaigrette

Tonight for dinner, I kept it simple with a Spinach salad. The author of the 4 Hour Body, Tim Ferris, lists spinach as one of the most important foods to eat while on the slow-carb diet. It is super high in anto-oxidants and provides a rich source of Vitamin A, C, E, K, iron, protein, folic acid, niacin, omega-3 fatty acids, and folate. Spinach is super filling because it expands in your belly, and it has substantially more nutrients than regular lettuce so it makes for a better salad base than Romaine (which makes you retain water by the way!!). The darker your greens and the more raw they are, the better!

I added half a cup of chickpeas, some canned corn, half of an avocado cut into pieces, and some grilled chicken. Since I don’t have a grill in my apartment, I buy chicken cutlets and pound them out real thin so that I can just cook them on the George Forman. I marinade the chicken for a few hours in a mojo sauce (pre-made compliments of Goya!) and then I just cook it out when I am ready to eat. It is super simple as long as you remember to marinade your chicken for at least a few hours, or it won’t properly absorb the flavors. You can choose any marinade that you want, I just like the citrus and garlic flavors of the mojo sauce, personally.

Ohhh, and when using a mojo marinade, which is very acidic, do not be alarmed if the chicken turns white! This is just the acid poaching the chicken….it has not gone bad!

Once the chicken is cooked through, chop into pieces and toss into salad with some extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, kosher salt, and freshly ground pepper. Pre-made dressings tend to pack a lot of hidden calories, so I prefer to make my own. Here is a quick and delicious recipe for easy balsamic vinaigrette:

{ Ingredients }

  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar (I like pomegranate balsamic)
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon resh oregano leaves, chopped (or a light sprinkling of dried oregano leaves)
  • Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

{ To Make the Dressing }Whisk together all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Toss with salad or store in airtight container and refrigerate.

Nutritional Information

This salad, which I made with 3 cups of baby spinach, 4 oz. of chicken, ½ cup chickpeas, ½ avocado, and ¼ cup corn kernels, came out to a total of 455 calories. The nutritional break down was: 27g of fat, 36g of protein, 17g of fiber, 38g carbohydrates.

Cost of Ingredients

The total cost of making this salad was $9.89, but keep in mind that the ingredients will last for a few more days because I bought the spinach in bulk and did not go through all the canned ingredients.

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{ Shallot-Thyme Vinaigrette }

Shallot-Thyme Vinaigrette

When I first started cooking in my sophomore year of college, salads were my go to meal. I would put together the most outrageous combination of toppings and homemade dressings, because I was still too scared to handle raw meat (I didn’t conquer that fear until my junior year!). But it’s truly amazing how gourmet and satisfying a quick salad can be if you know how to make it!

I am a firm believer that the foundation of any good salad is a delicious homemade dressing, even though it is the ingredient added last. I never bother with bottled dressings because they are typically very fattening and also dull or artificial in flavor. My all time favorite go-to salad dressing is this easy shallot-thyme honey vinaigrette. It seems to work with all kinds of toppings and really adds a flavorful “umph” to any salad. The Dijon mustard and red wine vinegar deliver just enough tang and acidity, balanced by the sweetness of the honey. And the shallot releases enough of a garlic flavor without being too overbearing (for those of you who are unfamiliar with shallots, they resemble a flavor medium between garlic and onion).

I find that this salad dressing works especially nice with goat cheese, walnuts, and fruit. Below are my two of my favorite salads to use this dressing on:

  1. Goat Fiesta: Mixed Baby Greens, Crumbled Goat Cheese, Halved Walnuts, Orange Slices, Shallot-thyme Vinaigrette\
  2. Apple Walnut: Mixed Baby Greens, Sliced Apples, Halved Walnuts, Craisins or Dried Cherries, Shallot-thyme Vinaigrette

{ Ingredients }

  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • Kosher salt and ground pepper to taste

{ To Make the DressingWhisk together red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey, thyme, and shallot with a fork. Slowly add the olive oil while continuing to whisk vigorously. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Goat Fiesta Salad with Goat Cheese, Walnuts, Dried Cranberries, and Shallot-Thyme Vinaigrette

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