Updated: Sep 22, 2020
If you're working hard to change your lifestyle and eating habits; what's the first thing you think of?
(If you're in the Get Fit For Life program, you're thinking of salad w/ some chicken or fish added.)
But what about the dressing?
Back before my label reading days, my go-to was always Italian. I figured, "it's just vinegar and oil and some spices, right?"
Well, I found out the hard way that it's NOT just vinegar oil and spices.
Once, while on a 6 month sugar purge (really, NO sugar- not even fruit- for 6 months; to clear out an overgrowth of yeast) I had a salad with Italian dressing on a rare dining out occasion. That night I tossed and turned all night having weird dreams, and woke up feeling like I'd just finished 5 rounds with a heavy weight champ.
Turns out that one serving (2 Tablespoons) of the top selling Italian dressing contains 4g of added sugar! Russian and French both have 6. Double the serving size (for a nice big salad) and you've just eaten between 8 and 12 grams of added sugar!
That was about 15 years ago, and I haven't bought salad dressing since.
Usually at home, when I want to dress my salad quick, like for lunch or a snack, I just put a little olive oil and pickle juice (make sure there's no sugar in your pickles!), and a dash of salt and pepper.
But when I'm making dinner for the family, I ALWAYS make my family's salad dressing. We call it "Reinig Dressing" (pronounced RYE • nig)- because that's the family name. (On my paternal grandpa's side. Yep, when I was little, my name was Alison Reinig!)
It's fast, simple, and tastier than ANY dressing you could ever buy.
We make it with a wooden bowl and wooden spoon, because that's how my great-grandmother always did it. But you can make it in any bowl, as long as you have a wooden spoon.
1-2 cloves garlic (depending on your love of garlic)
4 wooden spoonfuls olive oil
2 wooden spoonfuls cider vinegar
black pepper to taste
• Put your garlic through your garlic press, into the bottom of your salad bowl
• Add salt and pepper, and smash the garlic into a paste using the wooden spoon
• Add olive oil and keep smooshing the garlic mixture into the oil until it starts to emulsify a bit
• Add vinegar and mix (the mixture will turn more opaque when the acid hits it)
I just throw my salad ingredients on top, and mix all together when it's time to serve.
My family's tradition is just Romaine lettuce, but my favorite is shredded cabbage for a tangy twist on slaw.
Swap lemon juice for the vinegar, and it's great for a Mediterranean cucumber tomato salad with feta and olives!
You can also experiment with adding your favorite herbs.
Fresh oregano (the dried isn't as fun in this recipe) was my favorite for awhile.
Now it's dill.
Adding a couple tablespoons of plain Greek yogurt turns it into a zingy (and healthy) version of ranch.
Get creative, you really can't ruin it.
And you'll never get sucker punched by stealth sugar.