Honey Lime Vinaigrette

Honey Lime Vinaigrette

This honey lime vinaigrette is the perfect combination of tart and sweet for your salad devouring pleasure. Whip up a batch today and enjoy it all week long.

Honey Lime Vinaigrette | nightshade free, dairy free, gluten free

One of the more frustrating things to find when avoiding nightshades is finding pre-made salad dressings that don’t contain paprika, cayenne pepper, chili powder, or bell peppers. Throw in avoiding gluten and dairy, and it wipes out almost every single option out there.

And for a girl who loves her salads, it becomes a bit of a let down.

Instead, I have to make my own dressings and cross my fingers (and toes) that it will be better than throwing a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar on my salad. Most of the time, the dressings are merely okayyyyy.

Honey Lime Vinaigrette | nightshade free, dairy free, gluten free

The mustard is a little too pronounced.

The vinegar is a wee bit too powerful.

Or it’s only kind of meh for the amount of work it takes.

So when I began to really look for more dressings to bring into my salad-eating rotation, I was intrigued by the idea of pairing honey and lime. The acid of the lime mixed with the sweetness of the honey was super appealing. As were the lack of nightshade spices. This was definitely something I could get behind.

Honey Lime Vinaigrette | nightshade free, dairy free, gluten free

So I tried a reallllly small batch first in case I didn’t like it.

But I did.

So I made another (much larger) batch and have been enjoying it ever since.

Honey Lime Vinaigrette | nightshade free, dairy free, gluten free

Honey Lime Vinaigrette | nightshade free, dairy free, gluten free
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Honey Lime Vinaigrette

This honey lime vinaigrette is the perfect combination of tart and sweet for your salad devouring pleasure.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Author Emily Levenson | emilylevenson.com

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup canola or other mild oil
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 2 tbs honey
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp sunflower seed butter or other nut butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp dried basil

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a lidded jar and shake to combine.
  2. Pour over your favorite salad and eat that shit up.
  3. Lick your lips and do it all over again.

Allergen Information

Nightshade free, dairy free, gluten free, wheat free, soy free, corn free, and egg free.
Honey Lime Vinaigrette | nightshade free, dairy free, gluten free

The Only Balsamic Vinaigrette You’ll Ever Need

The Only Balsamic Vinaigrette You’ll Ever Need

salad-with-balsamic-vinaigrette

I’m pretty sure this entire post falls into the category of #firstworldproblems and also #thisiswhatyourewritingabout, but here we are.

The tale begins with a love affair for balsamic vinaigrette. I honestly can’t remember the first time I had it, but I’m sure it had everything to do with Caffe Giovanni (back when they were on Carson St. next to Mallorca). Their house dressing was so good, I used to straight up lick it off my plate.

At home, we would swap out the white (or tarragon) vinegar for balsamic in our Good Seasons Italian dressing. It made eating salads fun, and something that I looked forward to night after night.

Enter in food sensitivities and out went the Good Seasons (and any other bottled salad dressing).

I was forced to try my hand at making my own dressings. Sadly, every single recipe out there for balsamic vinaigrette calls for mustard as an emulsifier (the glue that holds it all together). As a mustard hater, this seriously broke my heart. No matter how little I would add, I could always taste the mustard.

Eventually my food sensitivities resolved and I was able to go back to eating my beloved Good Seasons and forgot all about the plight of the mustard-free homemade balsamic vinaigrette. That is, until yesterday, when I realized that Good Seasons contains WHEAT and I needed to find another way to dress my salad.

Back to the recipe hunt I went.

I was again reminded of my disdain for mustard and homemade vinaigrettes. But I was desperate for some salad and needed to figure out a way around it all.

Thankfully, we didn’t have the right mustard in the house because I was forced to think outside the box. I added a tablespoonful of almond butter in its place and voila. A FREAKIN’ AMAZING SALAD DRESSING WAS BORN.

Turns out almond butter is a brilliant emulsifier when it comes to salad dressing. And it’s seriously one of the best balsamic dressings I’ve ever had.

TAKE THAT stupid mustard.

I’ve finally found a way around you, and it’s called … almond butter.

balsamic-vinaigrette

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Balsamic Vinaigrette (Sans Mustard)

Enjoy a balsamic vinaigrette so good, it will make you want to lick your plate clean. Recipe adapted from My Kitchen Escapade.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 6 -8
Author Emily Levenson | emilylevenson.com

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbs almond butter or another nut butter of your choice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 pepper
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2/3 cup oil

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a lidded jar or salad dressing cruet and shake vigorously until combined.
  2. Serve atop your favorite salad, with veggies, as a marinade or topping for chicken and fish, or drizzled on a sandwich. The possibilities are truly endless.

Allergen Information

Dairy Free, Nightshade Free, Gluten Free, Wheat Free, Egg Free, Corn Free, and Soy Free. It is also Vegetarian and Vegan.

A salad bar…in your refrigerator!

A salad bar…in your refrigerator!

A Salad Bar... in your fridge! | emilylevenson.com

A salad bar in the fridge is probably one of my most favorite healthy eating cheats there is.

It may not be an earth-shattering concept, but I will say that it is hands down the easiest way to get salad in my face.

It’s also the only way The Hubster will even consider having salad.

A Salad Bar... in your fridge! | emilylevenson.com

Here’s why I love this concept so much:

  • It’s a one and done kind of thing. You seriously only spend 15 minutes getting everything ready and then…when you want salad…it’s like BOOM. There’s salad on my plate.
  • It allows for a fun mix-and-match game. You can load up your salad, or keep it simple. Either way, you have the opportunity for endless flavor combinations.
  • It will make eating vegetables a no-brainer. Seriously, when it’s quick and easy, you are 100x more likely to do it.
  • Even the most pressed for time people can’t argue with this one. I have so many clients tell me that it takes too much time to eat healthy. And to that, I saw pshaw.

A Salad Bar... in your fridge! | emilylevenson.com

My most recent salad escapades have included a mix of baby kale and romaine, chickpeas, dried cherries, and carrot shreds.

I am also a huge fan of roasted sweet potatoes and butternut squash mixed in for the fall.

Another fun opt-in that My Mama is keen on: apples. Which, by the way, are plentiful right now.

A Salad Bar... in your fridge! | emilylevenson.com

I often like to think that a salad is made up of a few parts:

The Lettuce
T
his one is kind of a must, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun with it. There are so many lettuce varieties out there. Play around and switch it up every now and again. Common salad greens: romaine, spinach, arugula, butter lettuce, baby kale, kale, and spring mix.

The Veggies
I’m of the opinion when it comes to veggies, the more the merrier. Some of my favorite veggies to chop up and add in are cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, and snap peas. I also like to add in roasted sweet potatoes and butternut squash in the fall. But you could pretty much do whatever tickles your fancy or shows up in your CSA box each week.

A Salad Bar... in your fridge! | emilylevenson.com

The Fruit
I know some people are weird about this one but if you think about it, tomatoes are a fruit. As are avocados. And both are common salad ingredients. Having said that, fresh or dried fruit will work, and add a kick of color and sweetness to any salad.

The Protein
This could be anything from hard (or soft) boiled eggs, beans, legumes, quinoa, tofu, tempeh, or whatever animal protein tickles your fancy (steak, chicken, salmon, bacon, etc.).

A Salad Bar... in your fridge! | emilylevenson.com

The Nuts and Seeds
This is kind of a bonus category for me, much like fruit. But it does add a nice variety, loads of vitamins and minerals, and a good crunch to your salad. Again, play around and see what combinations you like best.

The Dressing
I feel like this is the most important part of the salad. Pretty much anything else can be forgiven in a salad if there is a good dressing. Conversely, if the dressing is crap, so is the salad. Choose wisely here, and consider what ingredients you are including and pair accordingly.

A Salad Bar... in your fridge! | emilylevenson.com

A Salad Bar... in your fridge! | emilylevenson.com

6 super simple steps to create your own salad bar in your refrigerator:

  1. Wash and cut your salad greens and put them in a large container.
    If this step takes too much effort, or you seriously hate washing and prepping greens, why not grab a bag of spring mix or spinach? I mean, they seriously make it as easy as humanly possible nowadays. My current favorite is a blend of baby kale and romaine.
  2. Chop up your veggies.
    Slice your tomatoes, peel and cut your cucumbers, chop those carrots, and julienne your snap peas and then place them into separate containers. You could probably combine veggies like snap peas and carrots (with your greens, no less), but would suggest leaving your cucumber and tomatoes separate. Otherwise, you may have a soggy salad after a day or two.
  3. Prep your beans, eggs, and other protein sources.
    Cook your favorite dried beans or open up a can and rinse them off. Boil your eggs (and even peel them). Cook your chicken, steak, or fish and slice it up so it’s ready for a quick grab and go. This is also a great time to use up leftover chicken or steak. Store each in separate containers.
  4. Wash and cut or chop up your favorite fruits. This could be anything from strawberries, blueberries, apples, oranges, and pears to dried fruit like apricots, cherries, cranberries, or figs. If you’re an avocado fan, I would suggest leaving that one until day of.
  5. Chop your nuts and grab your seeds. Basically, just make sure these are readily accessible and front of mind so you can add them on a whim.
  6. Make your dressing. We always have about 3 different salad dressings—some homemade, others store bought—on hand to make sure everyone is happy. There is no right or wrong here, just have fun!

Once you have everything prepped and ready, all you have to do is mix and match ingredients and put it on a plate, in a tupperware, or in a jar.

A Salad Bar... in your fridge! | emilylevenson.com

And, there you have it. My favorite suggestion for getting more salads on the menu and in your face.

Since I’ve shared my favorite combinations, I want to know yours.

What’s your signature salad, or the one you order out most often?

Please share in the comments below.

Or, better yet, hit me up on Twitter. Here’s a sample tweet to get you started:

TwitterMy favorite salad combination is _____________ (fill in the blank). @emilylevenson

Nectarine Vinaigrette

Nectarine Vinaigrette

Ingredients for Nectarine Vinaigrette

I’m going to apologize now for blathering on again about nectarines, because I’m totally going to blather on again about nectarines.

You see, I’ve been a bit underwhelmed with food—recipes, cooking, and eating in general—lately. I’m not sure what it is about summer, but the idea of spending time in the kitchen to cook just doesn’t excite me. Instead, I opt for fresh fruit, salads, pasta, bread, and eating out whenever possible.

And while all of those things make me happy in the short-term, I’ve been feeling a little lackluster in the long-term.

Nectarine and Apple Cider Vinegar

The only thing that has even gotten me remotely excited about making things? Nectarines.

Which is so odd, because I kind of don’t remember ever being this smitten over them before. So smitten, in fact, that a few days after talking about the nectarine + orange smoothies, I bought another 5lb box of nectarines.

Which has led me to ponder just how many is too many when it comes to eating nectarines each day.

Canola oil and black pepper

On Friday night we were invited to a very special Shabbat potluck, run by our friend Sarah, over at Choderwood Riverhouse & Urban Sustainable Homestead. I knew that nectarines had to be involved somehow.

I had signed up to bring a salad, so that narrowed down the somehow slightly. And instead of just chopping them up and adding them to the salad, I decided to try out a fruit-based vinaigrette.

Holy. WOW.

Nectarine Vinaigrette

This vinaigrette was exactly right.

Fruity.
Light.
Sweet with a tangy bite.

And so damn delicious that I’m not sure I ate anything else. (Okay, I did. There were cupcakes from Vanilla.)

Nectarine Vinaigrette

Even if you’re not nearly as obsessed with nectarines as I am, do yourself a favor and make this dressing. It’s the perfect summer salad topper. It would even be delicious as a marinade for fish or chicken.

I’m even contemplating dipping some fresh-made, fresh-from-the-oven bread straight into the jar. I bet that would be heavenly.

Nectarine Vinaigrette on Salad

Ingredients for Nectarine Vinaigrette
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Homemade Nectarine Vinaigrette

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 6 -12
Author Emily Levenson | emilylevenson.com

Ingredients

Small batch:

  • 1 nectarine pitted and chopped (removing skin is optional)
  • 2 tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup canola oil or other light oil
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • pinch of salt

Bigger batch:

  • 2 nectarines pitted and chopped (removing skin is optional)
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil or other light oil
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. Combine nectarine chunks and apple cider vinegar in a blender and puree until smooth.
  2. Transfer to bowl or jar and add oil, pepper, and salt.
  3. Whisk (shake, if in a jar) to combine.
  4. Drizzle on top of your favorite salad.
  5. Eat.
  6. Enjoy.
  7. Lick the bowl clean.

Allergen Information

Nightshade Free, Dairy Free, Wheat Free, Gluten Free, Soy Free, Egg Free, Corn Free.

Salad with Nectarine Vinaigrette

Mandarin Orange Vinaigrette

Mandarin Orange Vinaigrette

Mandarin Oranges

I love it when recipes come together out of thin air, based on necessity and what ingredients I have on hand. This is one of those recipes.

I inherited about six mandarin oranges from my pal Kate. She had purchased a crate for an event and had extras that she just wasn’t going to finish. Being the good friend (and business partner) that I am, I took a few home.

The next day I was attending a potluck for Health Professionals that had been arranged through the Rock It! Community, and needed something healthy and delicious to bring.

Ingredients for orange vinaigrette

Turns out I didn’t actually think about what I was going to make, and I didn’t have enough time to hit up the grocery store before getting there. I was just going to have to make due with something I had in the house.

Nothing like a little panic to get the creative wheels a-churnin’.

Sliced mandarin oranges

I did a quick assessment of what we had in the house and exactly how much time I had to make it.

My initial thought: banana bread. I had copious amounts of bananas in the house due to a certain someone buying a massive bunch and forgetting to take it with him when he left town for the weekend. What I didn’t have was the time necessary to make it.

Second thought: what can I do with all of these oranges?!

balsamic vinegar

A quick search on Google, and an even quicker scan through the refrigerator, and the need to make an orange vinaigrette was born.

I have to admit, I felt a little guilty bringing something so simple and delicious to the Potluck when others had potentially slaved over their meals for hours. Kind of felt like I was cheating.

The verdict from the group: an overwhelming hit. Everyone loved it. More than half went back for seconds (myself included). And all thought it was light and refreshing.

Do yourself a favor and bring this to your next picnic, potluck, or dinner party. It looks and tastes complicated and fancy, making you the only person who knows how ridiculously easy it is to make.

Homemade Mandarin Orange Vinaigrette

Mandarin Oranges
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Mandarin Orange Vinaigrette

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 10 -12
Author Emily Levenson | emilylevenson.com

Ingredients

  • juice from 2 mandarin oranges approx 1/3 cup
  • 2 tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl or jar.
  2. Mix or shake to combine.
  3. Serve atop your favorite salad. Would also be a delicious marinade for chicken, fish, tempeh, or beef.

Allergen Information

Nightshade Free, Dairy Free, Wheat Free, Gluten Free, Corn Free, Egg Free, and Soy Free.