We often turn to salad if we want or need to eat healthy, but unfortunately dressing is where the best intentions can get left in the dust. One time at a salad bar, I saw a guy who was fairly overweight and probably trying to eat healthier by having a salad douse said salad in six ladles of dressing. He might as well have ordered a steak.
Ranch dressing is America's most popular salad dressing, but it's not exactly low calorie, especially if you love to load up a salad with it.
|Lacking a mortar and pestle, I turn to a Pyrex measuring cup and the rounded end of a wooden cocktail muddler when I need to grind something like garlic into a paste.|
The most popular brand of ranch dressing has 140 calories for a 2-tbsp. serving, including 14 grams of fat. In contrast, the entire recipe for the dressing below, which makes over 3/4 cup (approximately 12-14 tbsp.) has about 105 calories and 1 gram of fat (according to the myfitnesspal.com recipe calorie calculator). This is a salad dressing so guilt-free that you can put more than a couple tablespoons on your salad if you want to. And it's full of flavor too.
How did I achieve this miracle? I used nonfat greek yogurt, a pretty amazing substitute for a lot of higher-calorie dairy products. It's a great substitute for the traditional mayonnaise and sour cream in ranch dressing, adding a similar texture and tangy flavor.
Ranch is a pretty versatile dressing that can also be used as a dip for crudite or chips. I tossed together a basic salad of romaine lettuce, sliced radishes, julienned carrots and buttery herb croutons (recipe for that at the bottom of the post).
Greek Yogurt Ranch Dressing
1 garlic clove
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup nonfat greek yogurt
1 tbsp. chopped chives
2 tbsp. chopped parsley
1/2 tsp. dried dill weed
1/4 cup (or more) buttermilk
1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Mince garlic clove and add to a small bowl or, if you have one, a mortar and pestle. Using the back of a spoon, the rounded end of a wooden cocktail muddler or the pestle, grind the garlic into a paste (if using a mortar, transfer garlic to a small bowl).
2. Add yogurt, chives, parsley, dill, buttermilk, vinegar and black pepper and stir until well combined. Add additional buttermilk if the mixture is too thick. Serve over salad or as a dip with vegetables or chips.
Buttery Herb Croutons
4 slices good white bread, such as sourdough, crusts removed and cut into cubes
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
Preheat oven to 375 F. Spread the bread cubes on a baking sheet and bake until dried out and lightly toasted, about 10 to 15 minutes. Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium-low heat, add the bread cubes, sprinkle with Italian seasoning and toss to coat.