Monday, June 4, 2012

DJ's Hummus Salad Dressing & What do you feed your kids?

I finally got my finished product of the kitchen re-org posted! Check it out.

Katie, one of our fellow salad-a-day challenge participants asked:

Where can I find oil free salad dressings?

Great question. One which will take time to answer. But, I do have a couple of tricks that I use in any salad dressing to replace the oil. I could teach you the method, or I could just post each salad dressing recipe individually. Preference?

And today's salad. Mexican Burrito Salad. Basic idea is spelled out below.

And yesterday's salad. This is Over the Rainbow Salad by Angela Liddon. (Click for the recipe).

I tried to modify her dressing to be oil free, and I ended up just throwing in an avocado, 1/3 cup of heaping chickpeas, and 1-2 tablespoons of agave nectar to sweeten it. The result was pretty good (you are welcome to try it out if you like), but I probably messed it up because I didn't use FRESH lemon juice; I used bottled lemon juice. Just a tad too sour!

So, I wished I had just made Dreena Burton's Hummus Salad Dressing. One of my all time faves. Hence my reason for posting the recipe for that one instead.

And my kids don't really eat salad. Well, Samuel my veggie lover will eat salads if the dressing is not too spicy. BUT, I am sure you are wondering. This is salad-a-day challenge month. After going to all the work to make salads, WHAT DO YOU FEED YOUR KIDS?

The answer simply lies in starches. Children don't like a lot of fancy spices or a bunch of foreign ingredients thrown together with different and unfamiliar tastes and textures. They want to eat the same boring stuff, over and over. No surprises.

Unless the surprise is dessert, of course!

For example: Mashed potatoes. Corn on the cob. Breads and baked goods. Pasta with marinara sauce.

Then grab their favorite fruits and veggies and use them as a side. My kids wanted olives and apple slices with this meal.

The point is, find your child's favorite starches, and build on them. When my children know that their food is based on their favorite familiar starch, they are much more likely to try the food, and like it.

Essie loves bean and rice Mexican burritos. Samuel eats them as long as I don't put anything fancy in them. No chopped veggies, no fake cheeses, no spices.

Since Essie has been asking for burritos, I got out the tortillas, the fat free refried beans, some long grain brown rice I had pre-cooked a couple days ago, the spinach, and Tofutti! Cream cheese (which my kids like, and I am NOT having them go oil-free).

I heated up the tortillas, refried beans, and rice, and then spread thick chunks of the Tofutti Cream Cheese on it, and tore up some spinach leaves and put it on top. For some reason my kids have decided that spinach is acceptable in a burrito. Maybe because spinach has been a known quantity in our house for so many years?

This is vegan baby's food.

Refried beans, brown rice, corn, heated through and mixed. She can feed this to herself:

I was hungry, and Paul took the Over the Rainbow Salad with him for his lunch today at work, so I just made my own burrito salad, sans the tortilla. I took chopped romaine lettuce, heated beans and rice, chopped a tomato, threw on some jalapeno sauce (pictured above, and no, I don't put that on my kids' food!) and sprinkled it with the leftover and modified lemon tahini dressing I had made yesterday. And VOILA! YUMMY Mexican Burrito Salad! Feel free to add cilantro, chopped cucumbers, or guacamole.

You can take a lot of meals you fix for your kids and turn them into a salad for yourself. One of my other faves is to make my kids mashed potatoes with corn on the cob and some toasted baked bread with honey, and round it out with baby carrots and mango juice. For myself: throw some spring mix on a plate, top with mashed potatoes, sprinkle with corn, salt, and pepper, and drizzle with BBQ Sauce. I did this for my salad on Saturday. Yeah! Everyone is happy!

Leave out the optional oil and you will have an oil free dressing with no compromise in flavor. I love this on chopped kale salad, but it goes well on Over the Rainbow Salad, or on the above Mexican Burrito Salad.

Dreena's Hummus Salad Dressing
By Dreena Burton

Ingredients (Makes about 3/4 cup)

1/4 cup chickpeas
1/4 cup water
2 1/2 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp tamari
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
2-3 tsp fresh oregano leaves (see note)(I actually prefer this dressing without the oregano)
1 very small clove garlic (or 1/2 small-med)
1 – 1 1/2 tsp pure maple syrup or agave nectar (or more to taste)
1/4 tsp sea salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
1-2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (optional; can omit for an oil-free dressing)


In a blender or in a deep cup/jar using an immersion blender, puree until smooth. Season to taste with additional salt/pepper if desired, and using extra garlic to taste.
Makes about 3/4 cup.

If you don’t have fresh oregano, don’t use dried. Keep the flavor more vibrant and fresher, and instead of using dried oregano, try adding a tbsp or so of chopped parsley, or a lesser amount of other fresh herbs like thyme or rosemary (1-2 tsp). Fresh herbs can be omitted, however, and this will still have good flavor.
Other seasoning options include adding 1 tbsp nutritional yeast, or 1-2 tbsp chopped sun-dried tomatoes, 1-2 tbsp green onions, or 1 tsp toasted sesame oil.
Our kids love this dressing as-is, but you might want to try omitting the oregano and using the nooch sub mentioned above – try 1 tablespoon to start, and then add more if you like.
Not just for drizzling on a common green salad, try tossing through julienned leafy greens like kale and chard. The dressing softens the greens and you’ll find it’s somewhat addictive to eat your beans ‘n greens. Then add other salad fixings like chopped avocado, grated carrot, cherry tomatoes, chopped cukes, dried cranberries… whatever works for you!

1 comment:

  1. Oh dear, the pressure is on! You called me a salad-a-day participant! I am grocery shopping today so I will be purchasing all the basics for some salad eating.

    Thank you so much for the recipe. I will let you know what I think once I have tried it. As for preference, I am a recipe follower. I don't do much of throwing in this and that, which it looks like you are a pro at! But, do whatever you want, it is good for me to get out of my comfort zone!