I’m rather enjoying writing down my cooking experiences and findings here, hope you’re enjoying reading them – and now on to dressings. Want an example recipe? Try this one!
Dressings are not exactly what springs to mind when people talk healthy cooking – they’re usually seen as salty, oily, and not exactly good for you. Well a lot of dressings are fatty and do have spices, but they don’t have to be that bad, and used in moderation they’re actually important to healthy diet.
To me, dressings are important in that you get a tasty, satisfying way to dress up vegetables and other foods that aren’t always exciting on your own. Let’s face it an orange on its own is great – spinach doesn’t exactly send a lot of people. Broccoli usually needs something on it for people to enjoy it (and I’m a broccoli fan). Even some things that taste good on their own in the veggie department – like carrots or tomatoes – can take off with a little dressing “zaz.”
Since a lot of vegetables are good for us, let’s be honest here – dressing is one way to get you to eat them.
However, dressings offer more than that. A good dressing can also tie together many other disparate foods if it’s done right. Think of a good salad with the right dressing, blending all those tastes together. Something that may seem a bit dull becomes something mouthwatering.
A good dressing is also quick. A sauce may need to be reheated and make cleanup. A good dressing comes out of a bottle – or in my case I make my own mix – and is good to go.
Finally, like a good sauce, the right dressings can be used all over the place and on many things (and many forms). You call it a bunch of leftover vegetables – a person with the right dressing calls it dinner.
So I’d say dressings are another secret to healthy eating, and important since they take the oft-maligned vegetables and do a lot with them fast.
Now off the bat let me say – I recommend people learn to make their own dressings. Sure there’s some healthy ones out there, but this lets you control the taste, take control of your nutrition, learn about flavors, and of course avoid unhealthy additives and preservatives,
I find dressings to be very educational to make as some of them get delightfully complicated, and are thus actually very good to experiment on. My own experiments really taught me a lot about what I liked and how to develop complex flavors (for some reasons, I think Italian and French spices are great for that). Dressings ask work with vinegars and tart flavors which can involve wonderfully complex tastes, and oils which themselves are an adventure (you have to work with Olive oil to really appreciate its power).
Finally, I use dressings to get some good fats – because I love Olive oil. So I use that in my dressings and I get a burst of taste, fat, and calories all from a nice pile of vegetables. It’s a great addition to a meal, especially if the meal needs a bit more calories or fats to be satisfying.
Of course since I know my fat content and such I don’t even feel guilty!
So if you’re going to cook healthy, I recommend turning to the spicy, fatty, oily world of dressings made yourself. You learn a lot, get ways to eat healthy stuff, and get some guilt-free enjoyment. It’s all win-win
(Oh, and dressing powder? Great gift.)
Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach. He blogs on careers at http://www.musehack.com/, nerd and geek culture at http://www.nerdcaliber.com/, and does a site of creative tools at http://www.seventhsanctum.com/. He can be reached at https://www.stevensavage.com/.