Homemade dressings, like the above avocado vinaigrette, are easy and fast to make, and a healthy alternative to the store-bought bottled version. (Photo/Betty Cortina)

A healthy idea: homemade dressings

Have you ever read the label of a supermarket salad dressing bottle? Seems you need an MIT degree just to pronounce half the ingredients, not to mention they don’t sound terribly appetizing. (How much xantham gum would you like with your lettuce?) Add to it the fact that these dressings are often loaded  with unhealthy fats and sugars, and you’ve just undermined your otherwise healthy salads.

Yet so many reach for the trusty bottle, especially Latinos who often aren’t too keen on the simpler-is-better approach to vegetables. I get it. We like flavor, and lots of it. And we won’t make an exception for our greens.

Enter a healthy option: easy, fast, homemade dressings packed with enough sabor to make anything leafy taste, well, like more. The recipes we’re sharing today are based on a few simple principles: the use of extra virgin olive oil, considered a healthy fat that can help lower cholesterol; the use of tangy, plain low-fat yogurt instead of fatty mayonnaise to make things creamy; and the addition of flavorful herbs and ingredients to keep things interesting. The best part: these don’t only go on salads. They make for easy marinades and sauces too. Use the yogurt, lime and cilantro dressing, for example, to make a chicken salad instead of using mayonnaise. Or serve your favorite fish topped with the piquillo-garlic dressing.

Avocado vinaigrette
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 T dijon mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
pinch of sugar
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 Haas avocado, mashed

1. In  a medium bowl, whisk together vinegar, mustard, salt, pepper and sugar.

2. Slowly add the olive oil in a thin stream while continuing to whisk so that olive oil is emulsified. You can also put the mustard mixture in a jar and add the olive oil and shake vigorously.

3. Whisk in the mashed avocado until smooth. Refrigerate for up to seven days.

A healthy idea: homemade dressings img 2659 food NBC Latino News

Piquillo-garlic dressing (Photo/Betty Cortina)

Piquillo-garlic dressing
8 oz jar piquillo peppers
1/2 cup olive oil
2 clove garlic, unpeeled
3 T sherry vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

1. In a baking dish combine the piquillo peppers and their water with the olive oil and unpeeled garlic cloves. Roast in a 300 degree over for about 40 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool a few minutes.

2. Once cool enough to handle, peel the garlic cloves and place in a blender or small food processor. Add the piquillos and olive oil, the vinegar. Puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

A healthy idea: homemade dressings img 2678 food NBC Latino News

Yogurt, lime and cilantro dressing (Photo/Betty Cortina) (Photo/Betty Cortina)

Yogurt, lime and cilantro Dressing
1 bunch Fresh Cilantro, Chopped
6 oz  Greek Yogurt
Juice of 2 limes
2 T Honey
1/4 cup Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper to taste

Place all ingredients into a blender or small food processor and blend until smooth. Refrigerate up to 2 weeks.

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