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Making your own salad dressing is an easy way to save money and feel good about eating a vinaigrette that you can pronounce all the ingredients.  Toss everything in a blender or food processor and instantly you have the perfect salad topper. 

In California there is a great selection of fresh figs.  All unfamiliar like I most of my life, this is a fruit, and doesn’t just come as a puree surrounded by a thin layer of cake.  The purple produce was calling my name from the refrigerated section at the grocery store this week.  I realize not everyone lives in sunny CA, so dried figs plumped in water for a few minutes will work fine (skip the roasting step).  They make the dressing oh so creamy, and add a perfect touch of sweetness.

If you are looking for a new tasty salad give this one a try.  Layer a plate of mixed greens, grilled chicken breast, chopped walnuts, feta cheese and red onion slices, then drizzle with fig dressing.  Add a few fresh, or dried figs to your plate as well.  All the flavors just work, like an unexpected food symphony in your mouth.  (Ok, cheesy description but I thought it worked here.) 

I didn’t have any walnuts or feta on hand but would definitely add.

Great healthy marinade as well; place 4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a glass dish or zip top bag, pour whole recipe fig dressing over and coat well.  Refrigerate for up to 6 hours.  Shake off excess, and grill on an oiled grilled or pan fry in a skillet.

FIG & HONEY BALSAMIC DRESSING or MARINADE

makes 1 ½ cups

  • 7 FRESH FIGS, cut into quarters, (or dried, reconstituted)
  • 5 tsp HONEY, PURE or RAW, (divided)
  • 1 FRESH ORANGE, juiced
  • 1/4 cup BALSAMIC VINEGAR*
  • 1/3 cup OLIVE OIL, EXTRA VIRGIN
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp GARLIC POWDER
  • SEA SALT AND PEPPER TO TASTE

*Gluten-Free Option: make sure your balsamic vinegar product is GF.

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove stem and cut figs into quarters. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, layer figs on top and drizzle with 2 tsp honey and sea salt. Roast in oven for about 8-10 minutes, until caramelized. Remove from oven, let cool to touch.

2. In a blender combine roasted figs, balsamic vinegar, fresh orange juice, garlic, 3 tsp honey (more or less to taste), salt and pepper; pulse for a few seconds until incorporated.  Pour in olive oil and puree until smooth. Makes about 1 1/2 cups dressing. Serving size: about 2 Tbsp dressing.

NUTRITION INFO PER SERVING: 60 calories, 4g fat, 6g carb, 1g fiber, 5g sugar, 0g protein

FRIDAY FUNNY: WEIGHT LOSS

The biggest loser at my weight-loss club was an elderly woman.  “How’d you do it?” we asked. “Easy,” she said.  Every night I take my teeth out at six o’clock.” Cathy J. Schreima (published in Reader’s Digest)

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