It wasn’t until early adulthood that I grew to like creamy salad dressings. Ours was an oil and vinegar household, without exception. But there came a time when I chose to rebel, and while I can’t remember the exact time or location, I am certain blue cheese was involved.
Blue cheese dressing is hard to pass up, so when I choose it in restaurants (often), I opt for denial of the nutritional breakdown and dive in fork first. Back at home, I’m less emboldened. So to have my blue and eat it too, I devised an alternative that is light and healthy (lots of calcium from an ample amount of yogurt) but 100% tangy, delicious, and true-blue.
This is one of those recipes with many, many variations. You can use buttermilk in place of the yogurt, blend in avocado in place of the cheese, stir in whatever spices or fresh summer herbs suit your fancy, and use up any random assortments of cheese you have in the refrigerator in place of the blue.
To get your creative juices flowing, I’m offering two of the other options I blend up most often: goat cheese-basil and lemon-feta. My guess is you’re already imagining tweaks of your own, which pleases me to no end; just be sure to share your genius with all of us when you have a chance.
I drizzled some of the blue cheese dressing on a quick chef salad mock-up yesterday at lunchtime. It’s one of my go-to lunches: pre-washed bagged salad greens, a few slices of deli meat, a hard boiled egg, olives, and a few other bits and pieces ( a cherry tomato here, some roasted peppers there) that were days away from decrepitude, but still salad-worthy.
Need I add that this dressing is also excellent as a dip for fresh vegetables (or fingertips)? If so, it is.
Enlightened Creamy Blue Cheese Dressing
3/4 cup lowfat plain yogurt
1/4 cup reduced fat mayonnaise
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar or white balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese (about 2 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
Pinch of ground nutmeg
Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl until blended. For a smoother consistency, process in a food processor or blender until smooth. Makes about 1 cup. Store in the refrigerator, tightly covered, for up to 1 week.
Nutrition per Serving (1 tablespoon):
Calories 29; Fat 1.9g (sat 0.9g, mono 0.5g, poly 0.5g); Protein 1.4g; Cholesterol 4.3mg; Carbohydrate 1.5g; Sodium 77.3mg.
(Note: I did the nutrition analysis using Diet Analysis Plus 7.0.1)
Goat Cheese-Basil Dressing: Prepare as directed above, but add an equal amount of crumbled soft, creamy goat cheese for the crumbled blue cheese, and add 1 teaspoon dried basil. Leave out the nutmeg.
Lemon-Feta Dressing: Prepare as directed above, but substitute an equal amount of crumbled feta for the crumbled blue cheese, substitute 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice for the vinegar, and add 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill (or 1 and 1/2 teaspoons dried). Leave out the nutmeg.