Ok, So let’s just be honest and call a spade a spade right? Trying
to eat healthier, dieting, calorie counting, does come with challenges. There are times when the number of calories in a food item will have you wondering just where you want to spend your calorie “budget” for the day. For us, one of those items is chocolate, Coca-cola, potato chips, SALAD DRESSINGS. Yes, I know, what good is a salad without something to “dress it up” and make it fun? Well, don’t be too alarmed. I do not like boring salads either…. but I do have to say that spending 80-100 calories per tablespoon of salad dressing does not make sticking to my caloric plans very easy. So for that reason Todd and I have been trying to find alternate ways to make our salads fun.
We have already shared a LOWER calorie salad dressing made from a duck egg yolk with only 29 calories per serving. But what to do if you want to trim that number even more?? Well, thats where you need some no-cal/low-cal flavour enhancers!!! The very first thing tht has to be said here is that not all of these options are right for every person. Between differences in palate, and health history, not all options will work for you and your diet goals, so keep this in mind. That being said, what exactly is the most basic and useful “flavor enhancer” that comes to mind for a salad (or otherwise for that matter)? SALT of course!! Quite often people overlook this very typical mineral when it comes to salads. But, honestly, sometimes a little sprinkle of salt on your salad greens are just what they need. Salt is a wonderful key to unlocking flavours in other foods, and salad is no exception to this rule. Of course, there is more than just iodized table salt to think of here, don’t be afraid to reach for a pink salt, a fleur de sel, a nice sea salt, or one of any number of available options which are flavoured or smoked. The added calories from this addition will be minimal.
Next on the list, (which is more common of an idea to anyone who’s ever been to The Olive Garden to most people), is PEPPER. Yes, I know that huge phalic wooden pepper grinder from your local restaurant is the first thing that comes to mind. Do not be alarmed. I know that when I say this most people will go, but of course I put pepper on my salad. Great, I’m happy to hear that you have journeyed this far with me, but just hold on for another moment or two. Did you think I just meant BLACK pepper!? You KNOW I am going to take you a little further than that right? First and foremost, peppeprcorns come in black/gree/white/red and there is also another “pepper” which isn’t pepper at all, that being PINK pepper. Each variety has a somewhat different taste and heat profile, and playing with these differences can make a difference in just how much you enjoy your salads. I will admit that recently Todd and I have fallen hard for ground WHITE pepper in our soups and salads. There’s just a wonderful warmth it gives that we both love.
Without writing a long essay on the many different types of greens, sprouts, seeds, nuts, fruits, berries and vegetables which can be used to make extraordinary salads (but that blog will follow one day I promise) One of the other most useful flavour enhancers to be found are VINEGARS. I was so suprised to learn that white vinegar has basically zero 3 calories per tablespoon. Yes, three, and acheived without aspartame, or any other artificial additive!! So, when thinking of salads, vinegar is your friend. I know you are already thinking that vinegar is boring, and yes white vinegar cn get really boring really fast, but wait…. there are far more vinegars than simply white vinegar!!! Im pantry is OVERFLOWING with them!!! Balsamic, Pear, Blackberry, malt, white, champagne, red wine, we even have some very speacial “basalmic vinegar pearls” tucked away for special occasions. Here’s a link to help you find the calorie count of most vinegars.
http://www.caloriecount.com/tag/food/balsamicvinegar Of course not ALL vinegars are 3 calories a tablespoon, (some basalmic and fruit flavoured ones can ring up about 15 calories a tablespoon), but if you choose wisely you can find a balance between taste and calories.
Finally, when thinking about flavour and salad, don’t forget that herbs and spices are always low calorie options to enhance taste. Some rough chopped basil, some oregano, some thyme, good heavens, even some rough chopped rosemary (especially if you threw some raspberries in that salad) can be a wonderful low calorie flavour boost to make you start enjoying your salads again in a way that naybe you did not before). As time goes on I will be sure to post some more salad recipes, (I mean after all, at the rate this is going I am going to need to post at least 5 posts a week, so with time I am sure, you will see more and more variations here!!!
Ok, enough about the general concepts of making salad tasty….. get back to your day and be productive!!! I promise, next time I talk salad I will make sure to have a SPECIFIC recipe with calorie counts and all of the things you normally expect from me ok??