Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Whole30 Compliant Applesauce Salad Dressing - For More Than Just Salads

Applesauce Salad Dressing
© Marie Anne St. Jean
I love to eat a big green lettuce salad with button mushrooms, sharp cheddar cheese, and apple chunks, and usually had it with ranch dressing.  Since starting Whole30, I can't have the cheese, and I can't have my usual dressing. What to do?  I had almost two full heads of lettuce in the fridge that I didn't want to waste, and really needed it to add another vegetable to my rotation. I tried making a compliant Dump Ranch dressing and it didn't come out very well, or at least I didn't care for it. I thought it to be very bland, and almost bitter, and I needed something a little sweeter to dress my salad.

Realizing that unsweetened apple sauce is compliant on the Whole30 plan, I wondered if I could somehow use it to make a dressing that would satisfy me?  Apple chunks in my salad were sweet, so perhaps an applesauce dressing would do the trick.  Off to the interwebz to search!

I found this recipe for Awesome Applesauce Salad Dressing that looked pretty good, so decided to give it a shot.  I didn't have mint leaves, but didn't see where that would be a big deal.  The first time I made this, I couldn't get my jar of minced garlic open, so I substituted a compliant garlic powder instead, and it was fine.  I did used the minced garlic from a jar the other times I've made it, and it's amazing.  Dried basil got tossed into the mix instead of fresh, but it still worked.

After mixing the ingredients in the amounts listed, I found the apple cider vinegar to be a bit overpowering, so I added more applesauce, a little at a time, until I settled on a taste that was palatable to me.  If I had to guess, I'd say I ended up with more like 1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce, but stayed with the amounts listed in the original recipe for the other liquid ingredients.  I also used my new stick immersion blender instead of dragging out the big one, and it worked fine.  Super easy cleanup? Bonus!

Since I couldn't wait to see how it worked on an actual green salad, I filled my bowl with torn iceberg lettuce and sliced a couple of good sized button mushrooms on top.  I decided to omit my usual apple chunks since I was using the applesauce dressing.

The verdict?  I loved it!  No, it wasn't the same as my apple and cheese-topped salad, but it was Whole30 compliant, and it was good.  I don't like tomatoes, so just the lettuce and mushrooms was fine with me, but you could add just about anything else you wanted to this and I'm sure the applesauce dressing would be just as tasty.   It still had a bit of a punch with the apple cider vinegar, but not so much as to make you pucker up.  I would imagine if you like any sort of vinaigrette, you would enjoy this applesauce dressing too.

As I dished out the rest of my meal, I had an a-ha moment.  What would the applesauce dressing taste like on my chicken breast and red potatoes?  Only one way to find out!  I drizzled the dressing lightly over the chicken and potatoes and put it in the microwave for just a few seconds so that the dressing wouldn't chill the rest, and called it good.

Chicken/veggie mix with applesauce dressing
© Marie Anne St. Jean
The whole thing was delicious!  I enjoyed it so much that I poured it over breakfast this morning too (which consisted of the leftover chicken, a couple of cubes of sweet potato, and some steamed broccoli ... who said breakfast had to be eggs?)

This applesauce salad dressing will be a staple in my kitchen for sure.  The majority of my meals end up being a mix and match stir-fry kinda thing from whatever I have in the fridge, and I think it will be tasty over both beef or pork as well as chicken, and most any vegetable.  I don't think I'll try it over eggs, but the boiled shrimp I'll be fixing in the next day or two will definitely get a drenching.

Since there is a good amount of olive oil in this dressing, it should count as a fat if I use enough of it over my meal, which is also a bonus for me.  I struggle with getting enough fat from regular foods, and didn't want to rely on my homemade ghee (clarified butter) for every meal.

If you try my version of applesauce salad dressing, please let me know what you think!  I'd love to hear how it works out for others.

~ Marie Anne

Updating:  I've been using this applesauce salad dressing on EVERYTHING!  If I'm working out in the morning, I chop a hard boiled egg and add a little of this dressing and that gives me the little bit of protein and fat before I get on the treadmill.  I use it on salads (of course), and just about any meat and vegetables that I throw in the skillet to stir fry or make a hash, this applesauce salad dressing goes on top after I dish it up.  Since apples go well with pork, this dressing makes an AWESOME-SAUCE (see what I did there?) to go on pork chops as well.

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