5 tips for making salad dressings and marinades lighter

May 20, 2008

In a quest to cut calories, many of us turn to lighter salad dressings. Unfortunately, the taste of light dressings can be either too astringent (due to reduced oil) or too bland (due to added juices, water or broths). Over the years, I’ve written a lot of salad dressing recipes and I’ve discovered a few tricks for making light dressings more palatable:

1. When reducing the oil in a salad dressing, try adding an ingredient such as chutney or honey-Dijon mustard, which will add flavour and help to emulsify the other ingredients.

2. Choose strong flavoured oils such as toasted sesame, walnut or peppery extra virgin olive oil that, even when used sparingly, contribute a lot of flavour to dressings.

3. Treat yourself to premium vinegars such as aged balsamic vinegar, which is concentrated and low acid. You’ll be able to get by with less (or even no) oil if the vinegar you use isn’t too puckering.

4. Find your light dressing too tart? Add a pinch of sugar to offset the acidity of the vinegar.

5. Use yogurt or a combo of light mayo and buttermilk instead of cream or mayonnaise as a base for creamy salad dressings.