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People are often surprised to know that I basically eat the same foods over and over again, just in different arrangements. I generally stick to a diet of vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, healthy fats and oils, and some complex carbs every once in a while. To me, this framework offers plenty of room for creativity and fun in the kitchen. Even though my diet doesn’t change much from day to day, I rarely experience “food boredom” or pesky cravings.
Eating this way also helps keep me on track health-wise. I know that if I lived off of gluten-free baked goods and fruit smoothies alone I would feel pretty lousy. Focusing on fresh vegetables and fruits balanced with moderate amounts of protein and fat keeps me feeling energized and a-okay in the digestion department.
I eat at least one salad a day, often two or three. Designating one of your meals as a big salad is an easy way to ensure you’re loading plenty of vegetables onto your plate at least once throughout the day. Lunches for me usually consist of a bowl of greens topped with shredded carrots, cabbage, and other vegetables along with chicken, chickpeas, or wild-caught fish. Depending on the day, I may add a few toasted nuts or seeds and a sprinkling of raisins or chopped dried apricots.
But what always stumps me is the dressing.
When it comes to healthy salad dressings, the grocery store selection is pathetic. Even bottles labeled “organic” and “gluten-free” often pack in refined sugar, milk or dairy, gums and other stabilizers, and low-quality oils. Homemade dressing is a must if you want to avoid a goldmine of overly processed ingredients.
Usually I drizzle my salads with extra-virgin olive oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar. It’s easy and quick, just what I need in the middle of a busy day. As much as I love the flavor of aged balsamic vinegar, though, my mouth often fights back in an explosion of canker sores if I overdo it. Just last week, I found myself with a sore-speckled tongue that was simply vinegared out.
To give my mouth some much needed relief, I came up with this mild and creamy dressing. Macadamia nuts and sunflower seeds give the dressing its smooth appeal without the need for milk or cream. Because macadamia nuts are a pricey splurge, I use half sunflower seeds to save a little money without sacrificing flavor or good nutrition.
Garlic and onion powder, a bit of lemon juice, and fresh dill give the dressing a ranch-like spin. It must be the time of year, because dill is tasting so good to me right now. I’ve been throwing it in everything from salads to omelets to meatballs. It seems that I just can’t get enough of the mellow, grassy flavor.
A few other fresh and nutritious dressings you might enjoy:
- Raspberry Thyme Dressing from Daily Bites
- Rustic Salad Dressing from She Let Them Eat Cake
- Sweet Dijon Dressing from Alisa Cooks
Creamy Onion Dill Dressing
Makes about 2 cups
1/2 cup raw macadamia nuts
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons fresh dill (about 4 sprigs)
1 teaspoon onion powder
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
Place the macadamia nuts and sunflower seeds in a bowl with enough water to cover. Soak for 3-4 hours at room temperature. Drain well and add to a Vitamix or high-speed blender. Add 1 cup fresh water, lemon juice, dill, onion powder, garlic powder, basil, and salt. Blend on high until creamy and smooth. Taste and add more salt if needed.
Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Thin the dressing out with a bit of water before serving if desired.
Find more healthy recipes at Slightly Indulgent Tuesday.