Vegan, Gluten-Free, Raw, Shelf Stable.
Once upon a time, I went out every single work day for lunch. My co-workers and I would eat at fast food joints, sit down restaurants, and even the occasional food cart. Rarely did I bring my lunch to work.
I must tell you, I was always bloated, gassy, constipated, puffy, and achy. I slept poorly. My entire body system was rebelling against me. It was time to make a big change in the food I was putting into my mouth.
I needed fuel, not just what passes for food in our industrialized, fast-paced culture.
I needed real food.
Call it clean eating. Call it whole foods. Call it vegetarian. Call it Paleo. Call it food your grandma would recognize as food. I needed food where I could define the ingredients. I needed to know that someone in a kitchen wielded a knife to make my food, as opposed to a machine in a factory, only to be reheated at my local eating establishment.
In a bold, cold-turkey move, I started taking salads for my lunch. Every single day, I packed between six and eight cups of salad. Romaine, spinach, kale, carrots, peppers, broccoli, green onions, pepitas, sunflower seeds, almonds, raisins.
Sounds amazingly delicious, doesn’t it?
It was delicious until I realized how much the flavorless, bottled salad dressing from the market made my beautiful salads taste terrible. Even bottled dressings labeled organic were, in the end, an affront to my taste buds and to my new eating goals.
I grabbed an upcycled bottle, one with a flip-top lid, and started making my own dressing.
Below is the recipe for the dressing I now make for myself. This dressing is shelf stable; I keep it at room temperature in my desk drawer. This recipe lasts me two weeks, enough for 10 salads or 80 cups of greens. With the recognizable ingredients and robust flavor, it only takes a little bit—less than two tablespoons—to dress my daily salad.
• 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
• 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (use an unfiltered vinegar with the mother)
• 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
• 1 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning (or a mix of oregano, basil, marjoram, thyme, sage, and parsley)
• 1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast
• 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1 teaspoon sea salt
• 4 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and finely grated
Equipment: clean glass bottle, funnel, measuring cups/spoons
Place the funnel into the neck of the bottle, then add all the ingredients directly to your glass bottle. If anything gets stuck in the funnel neck (like the garlic) use a chopstick to gently push it through. Shake vigorously to mix well. This dressing keeps at room temperature for up to one month. Shake well each time before using.
Note: If you prefer to refrigerate your dressing, the olive oil will solidify. Don’t be alarmed; that is totally natural. Let the dressing warm up about 10 minutes before vigorously shaking and dressing your salad.
Author: Cindy Karnitz
Image: Courtesy of Author, Monstruo Estudio/Unsplash
Editor: Travis May