Monday, October 3, 2011

Low-calorie balsamic dressing

Have you ever calculated the calories that are in the meal you're eating, thinking it was a healthy meal, only to find that it was loaded with calories? There's a meal that I've been eating for a long time--even before I started trying to increase the ratio of raw foods in my diet: A large salad of romaine lettuce.

For this meal, I take a whole bag of romaine lettuce, chop it up and add my homemade dressing of olive oil, vinegar and spices. I like to add like a cup of dressing to a whole bag of lettuce and just feast on it. Well, you can see where this is going.

I knew that a cup of dressing made with olive oil, which is 120 calories per tablespoon, must be high in calories. I had never factored it out, but I knew I needed to change it. So, I tried a store bought balsamic vinegar. However, even that was 90 calories per 2 tablespoons, mean my big salad was still a whopping 720 calories.

So, last night, I set out to make a low-calorie dressing that would still have the flavor but not all the oil. I used my Blendtec blender to make this, and I thought it turned out excellent. Here's how to make it.

Mix all of this in the Blender (makes 1.5 cups):

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar - 40 cal
2 tbsp soy sauce - 20 cal
2 tbsp brown sugar - 50 cal
3 red chili peppers (remove some seeds to reduce heat if desired) - 30 calories.
1 or 2 gloves garlic - 4 or 8 calories
2 - tbsp splenda - 0 calories
2 - tbsp water - 0 calories
3 - tbsp - lite zesty Italian dressing - 45 cal
2 - small tomatoes - 32 calories
1 - lime - squeezed - 15 calories

Total calories for 1.5 cups: 236

This is so flavorful that I only needed about half a cup of this dressing for a whole huge salad, which is 76 calories plus lettuce! Compare that to the salad of 720 calories plus lettuce.


  1. Sounds like an excellent dressing! I personally don't like salad dressing, but this one sounds great! Too bad it sounds like too much work--I'll probably never make it, but I'll sure pass it on to others. Thanks!

  2. Thanks, Resa. I had some of these ingredients left over from making my Som Tam (papaya salad), so it wasn't so difficult.

  3. a girl i knew once who was a nutritionist used to put salsa (and sometimes low-fat cottage cheese) on her salad, instead of dressing! it gets old after a while, but it's tasty once in a while.