Overcoming the Fat Free Fiasco
Clean Cuisine Homemade Salad “Boosters”
Ball Canning Jars make the best storage solution for dressings and salad boosters.
Clean Cuisine Homemade Salad Dressing Recipes are Made with Unrefined Oils
The thing is, high-quality/ unrefined oils are not as easy to come by as you might think; they are pretty much never found in processed foods, and they are even difficult to locate in higher-quality natural and organic packaged food products. For example, because unrefined oils do not have a long shelf life, they are not used in bottled salad dressings that you find sitting on the grocery store shelves, which is a big reason why I never buy store-bought salad dressing. Top-quality unrefined oils are also considerably more expensive than lesser-quality oils—just another reason food manufacturers and most restaurants don’t use them. Everybody gets what they pay for when it comes to oil.
When making your homemade salad dressing recipes, you want to look for oils that are expeller pressed, protected from heat and unrefined. You specifically want to avoid refined oils that have been processed with chemicals and solvents, exposed to high heat (refined oils are often heated up to 470ºF, which damages them significantly), or deodorized.
The best-quality cold-pressed oils are expeller pressed in a heat-controlled environment to keep temperatures below 120ºF. It’s important to note that although Europe has rigorous standards in place for the terminology of cold pressing (fully unrefined oil extracted at temperatures below 122ºF), the phrase cold pressed has been used erroneously in the United States for a number of years and is often employed as a marketing technique. You really have to do a bit of homework on the oil brands you choose and not just grab one from the shelf because the company has invested in a splashy marketing campaign or pretty packaging.
Annie’s Natural Salad Dressing Example
Take a look at the Annie’s Naturals salad dressing ingredients for their “Organic Goddess” salad dressing in the photo below….
Annie’s Natural Salad Dressing Ingredients: Expeller pressed vegetable oil (canola, soy and/ or sunflower), water, tahini, apple cider vinegar, soy sauce (water, soybean, salt, wheat, alcohol), lemon juice concentrate, sea salt, garlic, toasted sesame seeds, parsley, chives and xantham gum.
Although you might think from the marketing and packaging that Annie’s Naturals is a healthy choice, the reality is this product is primarily just a bottle of refined, low-quality oil.
Reading the back of this bottled salad dressing label is a good example of why I make my own homemade salad dressing. Not only is homemade salad dressing incredibly easy to make, the taste simply cannot compare to any bottled dressing that has been squatting for months on a supermarket shelf.
2 Reasons I Won’t Eat Store Bought Salad Dressing
The two main reasons I don’t like the oils used in pretty much every mass-produced bottled salad dressing that exists is because:
#1: They have almost always been refined.
And as mentioned earlier, refined oils have had the nutrients & antioxidants processed out of them (a good comparison would be how enriched flour has been processed from a whole grain and stripped of it’s fiber & nutrients). Refined oils extend shelf life but they don’t do a single thing for YOUR health! They are basically empty calories. Also, just because a label says that a vegetable oil is “expeller pressed” does not mean it is unrefined —if a vegetable oil is unrefined AND expeller pressed it would say “unrefined, expeller pressed” in the list of ingredients.
#2: High in Omega-6 fats
Processed / refined vegetable oils have become ubiquitous in the packaged food world & because they have a high omega-6 fat content relative to omega-3 fat, they are play a significant factor in increasing inflammation.
Best All-Purpose Oil for Homemade Salad Dressing Recipes
Although I love to make omega-3 rich salad dressings from unrefined, expeller-pressed omega-3 rich oils such as flaxseed or walnut oil, the problem is these oils have a high tendency to go rancid if not protected from heat, light and air. In other words, if you want to make a homemade salad dressing recipe that will keep for the entire week, your best bet is to use a more stable oil that is predominantly rich in monunsaturated fat, such as good old extra virgin olive oil.
By definition, “extra virgin” olive oil is supposed to be a very high-quality, unrefined, nutrient-rich oil that has not been exposed to high heat, chemicals or solvents. However, there are some shady issues surrounding olive oil these days. Be sure to check out the Olive Oil Times website for more information on choosing the very best extra virgin olive oil.
Bad Oil Alert: 2 Red Flag Indicators to Look for On Packaged Food Products
The first thing you want to avoid in any packaged food is any oil listed as “vegetable oil” (which includes ones such as corn oil, pure vegetable oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil and cottonseed oil). These are all pro-inflammatory omega-6 rich oils and pretty much the only way to make them shelf-stable for extended periods of time is to highly refined them.
The second thing to look for when reading the ingredients label in any packaged food is a list of a hodgepodge of oils. Products listing a combination of oils with the words “and/ or” on their label should raise a red flag for sure. For example, look at the Annie’s Naturals Salad Dressing Ingredients once more and notice how the very first ingredient is listed like this below:
- Expeller pressed vegetable oil (canola, soy and/ or sunflower)
You want to avoid any product that acknowledges right there on the label that they are not 100% certain of exactly what ingredients their product contains!
5 Homemade Salad Dressing Recipes to Try!
But truly, nothing is easier (or tastier!) than making fresh, homemade salad dressing. We have a number of different salad dressing recipes on Clean Cuisine, but the following five are some of my favorites:
- Cranberry Vinaigrette
- Creamy Lime -n-Honey
- Nutty Herb Dressing
- Lemon-Tarragon Vinaigrette
- Creamy Italian Dressing