Isa has moved to the "no-to-low-fat camp". But, she's found that a mere 1/4 cup of cashews works as a perfect emulsifier for salad dressings. No oil, no eggs, no sugar, no mayo needed!
OK--I'm no cashew-advocate. I don't cook with or snack on cashews--but Isa is 100% right about how they improved the consistency & mouth-feel of salad dressings. And without adding much fat at all!
You could easily use this recipe as a template for many dressings--just switching up the balsamic for a citrus juice or other vinegar--and adding different spices or flavorings. The cashews and water sub for oil or mayo.
8 servings--1 1/2 tablespoons each
Prep Time: 10 minutes
1/4 cup raw cashew pieces (To make blending a breeze--if you have time--soak the cashews for 1 hour or overnight--then drain the water & proceed with the recipe--I DID NOT bother with the soaking)
2 TBS chopped shallots (I bet 2 cloves of garlic would taste fine)
1/4 cup good quality balsamic vinegar (oops--left this out of the original post!!)
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 tsp. agave nectar (ya, I know, it now has a bad-reputation--but it's just 1 tsp.)
1/4 tsp of salt
A few shakes of freshly ground pepper
First place the cashews in the blender, or your Vita-Mix. Then add everything else. Isa says to blend for a least 5 minutes, using a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides often. Note: With a Vita-Mix I mixed this for less than 2 minutes--and never needed to scrape it down.
The key is to blend it until it's smooth--and not grainy.
Transfer the dressing into a covered container. It may seem thin at first, but it really thickens as it chills.
I haven't tried it yet--but I think substituting garlic for shallots might work just fine.
Nutrition info based on a 1 1/2 tablespoon serving.
Serving Size: 1 serving
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