Friday, July 11, 2008

Creamy Dill Dressing

For most special diets, the more time you spend in the produce area at the market, the better. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case if you have multiple food allergies or sensitivities. Instead, the array of fruits and vegetables that you shouldn’t have can be a little frustrating.

This, however, is the time when you should remember to make the most of the foods you can have by choosing the freshest available and preparing them in a variety of ways. Mostly, I prefer to eat many fruits and vegetables uncooked. That doesn’t mean there isn’t some preparation involved, though. Salads and slaws are big favorites in our house and all sorts of fruits and vegetables can go into them if you combine them with the right dressings.

For a spinach salad or cabbage slaw, I like a dressing with a bit of a vinegar kick. This is easy when you use a simple vinaigrette. But what about something creamy? If you are avoiding dairy, many of the creamy dressings available are off-limits. Not a problem. Read on and we’ll make a really nice, fresh-tasting creamy dill dressing that is easily adaptable with a non-dairy option and even a no-sugar-added variation.

For about a ½ cup of dressing (which is easily enough to do a cabbage slaw or spinach salad for three or four), here’s what you’ll need:

· 3 T sour cream or non-dairy sour cream substitute
· 2 T apple cider vinegar
· 1 T honey
· 1 T fresh dill

Mix together the sour cream, vinegar and honey until well blended. Gently stir in the dill.

That’s it! The dressing is ready to go immediately but if you can make it up in advance and allow the flavors to mix at least an hour, that’s always a good thing.

Now, how about alternative ingredients? No problem. If dairy isn’t an issue, use regular sour cream. There are several non-dairy sour cream substitutes available if you are avoiding dairy. However, I have yet to find one that did not rely heavily on soy as an ingredient. If you have problems with soy as well as dairy, I’m afraid you will be better off with vinaigrette. Of course, always watch for new products! Soy is a such a common allergen, I am confident someone will come up with a non-dairy alternative before long. For a no-sugar-added option, switch out the honey for whichever sugar substitute you prefer. Be prepared to add a few drops of water if the dressing seems too thick. Of course, you can try a different vinegar for a flavor variation, as well. Also, if dill is on your list of things to avoid, try another fresh herb such as thyme, cilantro or even mint. This will take some experimentation to find the combination you like best but the basic recipe remains the same.

This is a nice baked potato topping, too. The vinegar gives it a bit of a punch over plain sour cream. It is also a nice dipping sauce for veggie sticks (and we all know how kids love to dip their vegetables!) or even crackers and chips.

See how many ways you can use this basic dressing and tell us about it. Let’s go eat that!


Corinne said...

Mmm, this is similar to the base I use for cucumber salad... but a vinegar-based one is great too with the vinegar really bringing out the flavor of the dill!

Sandra Gordon said...

Cucumber salad even sounds cool and soothing! Especially since I just came in from an afternon at a swim meet. Ick.

I really love that extra oomph you get from the vinegar. It does, as you say, bring out the flavor of the dill as well as whatever greens it goes over. I particularly like this as a slaw dressing.