You may have noticed a few of my recent recipes have put an emphasis on using less oil when cooking. I’ve been making an effort to steam/saute my veggies and omitting oil whenever possible. All of which led to the making of this oil free mustard vinaigrette. It’s just slightly sweetened with honey so all the sharp flavor of the mustard comes through. It really shines in this salad made with oranges, radishes and avocados.
I’ve been reading about Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s Eat to Live plan (affiliate link) and I think it makes a lot of sense. He calls his way of eating “nutritarian” which simply means to choose the foods which give the most nutritional bang for their caloric buck. He believes we can obtain enough fat from eating the nuts, seeds and olives that are processed into oils and avoid the caloric hit we take.
In addition, Dr. Fuhrman cites studies that have found processed oils– including olive oil— to cause damage to the blood vessels. These studies are also referred to by other oil free vegans, low fat advocates like the Pritikin Center, as well as paleo people (who advocate using lard, coconut oil and butter instead).
As is common in nutrition, for every study that advocates for a single nutrient, there is another which casts serious doubts about the health benefits. Here’s an article from the Mayo Clinic extolling the virtues of olive oil and another from the Pritikin Center which states the opposite.
Here’s my take away…a tablespoon of olive oil contains about 120 calories and if you’re like me, you use more than two tablespoons when dressing a large salad. Maybe even as much as a quarter cup, which is four tablespoons. The same holds true when sauteing vegetables in olive oil. The recipe might say use one tablespoon, but the reality is we dump more than that in the pan.
I say, pick your battles.
At home, I’ve been cooking without olive oil unless the recipe would really suffer if I don’t use it. For the most part I’ve been steam sauteeing my veggies and dressing my salads without oil or mayonnaise. I’m saving a ton of calories over a week’s time by doing this.
Consider your oil free mustard vinaigrette as a supporting player in your salad. In the photos, you can see my salad consists of chopped romaine lettuce, radishes, avocados, onions, sunflower seeds and sliced oranges. There’s a variety of textures and flavors that make for a very interesting salad where the dressing is a complement rather than the star.
- 1 part sharp mustard, like dijon
- 1 part your favorite vinegar
- enough honey or maple syrup to smooth the harshness
- enough water to make it pourable
- salt and pepper to taste
- Mix all the ingredients in a small jar and shake to combine.
- Adjust the proportions and amounts to your own taste.
I make my dressing in a small repurposed jar that holds about 3/4 cup of dressing. This is the perfect amount for us and it forces me to make a new batch on a regular basis.