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How do I make tasty, low-fat salad dressings? — R. Cohen, NY

Bonnie Moore


It''s all in the oil. You can make salad dressings as fat-free and low-calorie as you like by changing the amount of oil you use. Basic vinaigrette is one part vinegar to two to three parts oil. Traditionally, mustard is added for flavor and body (and it also reduces the amount of fat per serving.) To cut fat further, try these flavorful variations:


  • Substitute orange juice, apple cider, balsamic vinegar and herb vinegars for wine vinegars. They''re less acidic, so it takes less oil to achieve a pleasant balance of tartness.
  • Opt for monounsaturated oils such as grapeseed and olive oil (see Ask the Nutritionist to learn more about these fats).
  • Go Asian. Combine the sweet, sour and salty tastes of honey, rice wine vinegar and fish sauce with a slice of chili pepper and ginger for a great salad dressing without fat.
  • Get flavor from herbs, citrus zests, shallots, ginger, scallions and interesting combinations of salad greens.
  • Use interesting combinations of salad greens like arugula, endive or mustard greens.
  • Use mango, apricot, roasted red pepper or roasted garlic purees to add texture and body to salad dressings. This allows you to reduce some of the oil.

About Bonnie Moore

Bonnie Moore, FoodFit's Executive Chef, graduated from Boston University with a bachelor's degree in Math and Statistics before forsaking her calculator for a whisk. Bonnie earned an associate degree in Culinary Arts from Johnson & Wales University and a degree in pastry arts from L'Academie de Cuisine. She was the sous chef at the Inn at Little Washington, the only five-star, five-diamond kitchen in the United States, and a former chef-instructor in the professional program at L'Academie de Cuisine in Maryland. Bonnie likes to be involved with food at every stage, from planting seeds at the farm to creating a meal for her family. She believes that there is no better place to foster community and nourish those you love than around a table piled with delicious food.

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