Easy Dressings and Sauces

The best thing about cooking is that once you start accumulating ingredients, you can make next to anything. One of the most expensive things you can do is to buy salad dressings, marinades, and sauces. Granted, I still do buy some of the speciality ones for stir-fries and as ingredients in other dressings, but I have not bought salad dressing for a long time. Here are three really quick ones I make on quite a regular basis:

Sweet Chili Mayonaise Sauce/Spread

This one is dead simple and tastes delicious. You often see it served with yam fries, chicken burgers, or wraps.

For every 1/4 cup of mayonaise,

add 1 tbsp of chili garlic sauce

optional: add 1 tsp of sriracha hot sauce(careful, has some kick)

Then stir with a spoon.

Simple Balsamic Vinagrette

For a medium size salad, combine in a sealable container:

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 balsamic vinegar

Close container, shake, pour over salad once mixed.

Goes good on Greek style salads(tomatoes, spinach, red onions, cucumbers, broccoli, green peppers, feta), or basically things that absorb a runnier dressing.

Honey Mustard Salad Dressing

For a medium sized salad:

In a bowl, mix:

1/2 cup mayonaise

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp honey

1 tbsp honey mustard

Goes good on garden salads (lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, cucumbers, marble/cheddar cheese cubes), or anything where the dressing doesn’t get absorbed, but rather coats the ingredient(carrots).

Mmm Quinoa!

If you haven’t heard of Quinoa before, you need to check it out. This grain is commonly found in the bulk or health food section of your local supermarket. Additionally, you can find Quinoa at a better price in stores such as Bulk Barn or at Costco.

Originally native to South America, quinoa was once called “the gold of the Incas,” who recognized its value in increasing the stamina of their warriors. This is not surprising as it is considered a complete source of protein as it contains all eight of the essential amino acids we need for tissue development. Having as much as 22g of protein/cup makes this grain a great option for those in need of alternative sources of protein other than meat.

Quinoa is also quite simple to cook. You follow the same steps as rice, adding 1 cup of grain/2 cups of water. A good rice cooker can be used to cook the grain, however I find the best way to do it is to bring the water to a boil, then reduce heat to a setting of 1 or 2 out of 10 on your burner with a slight crack between the lid and pot allowing some moisture to be released. Generally this will take about 25-30 min however your quinoa will be extremely fluffy and will reach full volume.

If you are really interested in alternative ways to use quinoa besides salads, Quinoa 365 is a great cookbook for incorporating this super-food into baking soups, salads and practically anything else you can imagine. I highly recommend this book.

I am a huge fan of modified Greek salads. I make the recipe below weekly. It can probably feed 3-4 people as a side course, but I generally eat the whole thing by myself after a big workout. Here it is:

Ingredients

2 cups water

1 cup Quinoa

1/2 Cucumber

1 Green Pepper

2 Tomatoes

3 cups of spinach

1/4 red onion

1/2 head of broccoli

1/4 cup Feta Cheese

3 Tbsp Olive Oil

2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar

Preparation

1. In a pot, bring the water to a boil. Reduce heat adding Quinoa bringing the water back to a low simmer. Simmer for 20-30mins or until the Quinoa is fluffy and no water is visible at the bottom of the pot. Take off burner, fluff with fork and allow to cool.

2. Meanwhile, chop all ingredients with method of choosing and place in a large salad bowl, crumbling feta over top with hands. (Note: Mix feta into salad, before adding Quinoa if still warm or hot. Otherwise the feta will melt and loose its crunchy texture.

3. In a sealable container, mix olive oil and balsamic Vinegar, seal and shake. Pour mixture over salad. Mix dressing in and serve.

Hope you found this useful!

References:

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?dbid=142&tname=foodspice#nutritionalprofile