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March 03, 2012



I'm not much of a recipe experimenter. I'm anxious to try these out. Maybe something wonderful will happen to my salads. Any chance the Chili Relleno recipe will be coming soon? No pressure!

Janet Mace

Sounds good--just wish it did not require using the blender--I hate scraping the food out, taking it apart, washing it and figuring out how to put it back together again (never can remember where the little rubber ring goes).

Fortunately, Big Dog (my version of Lab Rat) is now retired and happy to be the kitchen assistant. Will try the recipe soon--salad dressings have been a problem area for us as well.

Annette Van Baalen

Yum. Can't wait to try this tonight! I have some oil free dressings that I like, but as you said they all have nuts or tahini in them. Such a great idea to use chia seeds!


I've made a couple good dressings with chia, silken tofu and other ingredients that I like. I'll try this one next. I've been using white chia, have you noticed any difference between the white and brown seed? Can you tell me about the wildwood probiotic soy yogurt? I want to give it a try, but will have to order by the case. I ordered a case of Nancy's plain soy yogurt and did not like it at all. Have you tried other soy yogurt and found Wildwood different in taste?


Thanks for the inspiration. Looking forward to trying out the salad dressing recipes and Bickford flavorings! My recent discoveries: Trader Joes raisin mix in a bag--plump & juicy addition to salads & oatmeal. Tried boxed vegan Pacific Sun Pho starter to make Vietnamese Pho...disappointing, anemic flavor.


I almost always eat vinegar on my salads and love the white balsamic from Trader Joe's, but I tried some of the Olive Tap balsamic vinegars, plain white, lemon, oregano and tangerine and found a strange aftertaste. Probably just me, but I use a lot of vinegar and didn't care for Olive Tap and its also quite expensive.

Gael in Vermont

Hmmm, I'm up for a challenge. I've got Chia, Penzeys spices, fresh herbs, and a blender...I'll give it a whirl!

wendy (healthy girls kitchen)

Okay, I am going for it! Chia seeds in my salad dressing it is! Will report back!

Mary Martin

OK - am i lame or did i miss WHERE to get your wonderful suggested Penzey's seasonings? I live in the Pacific Northwest and am quite dismayed that you Ohio folks have all the amazing resources and here out in the pioneering NW i am alwasy surprised at how lacking my dear Co-op can be....they seem to have gone the money drive route of making "healthy" meat choices available instead of ramping up the teaching of truly healthy foods!
I rant....sorry - Where for Penzey's?
I read all you and Wendy and Healthy Girls write! love you both!

The Healthy Librarian

@Mary, I admit, we have fantastic grocery & specialty stores here. Even my kids say our local grocery store is better than anything in DC, NYC, or STL. Re Penzey's--it's a WI small company, that started as mail-order--they aren't in any store but their own. They are in Seattle & 3 locations in Oregon. Here's their link: You could always order from them--& get the bagged spices that will weigh less. Good luck. Thanks so much for the compliment!!!


Okay, I'm in, though I think I'm gonna bring up the rear in the competition...

1. The irony: My point in visiting today was to find out whether people *really* have their tastes change to the point that the standard online (McDougall) fat-free mayo recipe tastes like something other than a vitamin C supplement.

2. Mistake #1: I thought that Vega's Smoothie Infusion had chia in it. It doesn't. (Does anyone else react kinda strongly to consuming chia?)

3. Mistake #2: I thought the cap on my blender-ball shaker thing was fully closed. It wasn't!

We could argue whether recipe experimentation so soon after a combined cold/work trip might be mistake number three, but hopefully I can make you laugh a bit here...

Dire Necessity Ranch Dressing

Liquid: 6 oz water plus enough silken tofu to make 1 cup (8 oz) total volume, with 2 Tbsp lemon juice added.

Faux chia seed substitute: Two level scoops Vega Smoothie Infusion

Seasonings: 2 tsp original Mrs. Dash (yellow cap), 1 tsp Dijon mustard, ~1/8 tsp Irish Lettuce, ~1/4 tsp nutritional yeast.

Review so far: Edible, and more interesting than the "mayo" I mentioned. Also very easy (I don't have a blender). Am going to let this thicken up in the fridge a little before adding it to wilted* greens. *By "wilted" I mean the cooking technique, though again, I just got back from a work trip, so the greens in the fridge are not at their best.

Major benefit: My stove and kitchen wall are now cleaner than before, now that I've mopped up my first attempt!

Side benefit: Maybe you'll consider a "most implausible" category alongside "most delicious" -- kinda like the igNobels! Either way, I hope I got someone out there to laugh along with my adventures.

Thanks so much, HL, for all you do.


I followed the exact recipe you provided except I used Mrs. Dash extra spicy seasoning and chipotle powder since I didn't have penzy. I did use around 4 tablespoons of cilantro and it came out with a bang. Thanks for doing this--I'm re-motivated to eat more salads :)

Sue in Denver

I'm excited to try this! Since seeing Esselstyn last week, I have a big salad every day for lunch in addition to a smaller, all-veggie smoothie. Yes, something other than plain balsamic as a dressing will be game-changer!

Janet Elbetri

Just printed this out - looks like so much fun. I really don't like bottled "fat free" dressings. Maybe I'm just being a party pooper. I tend to prefer a squeeze of lime and some kosher salt or no-salt seasoning. I think lettuce tastes pretty great plain., I officially "discovered" the magical wonder of the chia seed and I ate it on my chocolate steel cut oats, and then I mixed it into my green tea because the weird gelatinous texture was so fun. Who needs bubble tea when you can have ch-ch-ch-chia?

I come at all this with a dose of irreverence. I am a former avid consumer of affinage-ish French cheeses and heavy cream that comes in a glass bottle with some farm's name on it. I was all snobby about "local pork" and now here I am eating chia seeds.

To reply to another reader: what's weird is that tastes really DO change and it is a beautiful thing because that simply means there are more delicious things to like. I went WAY OFF the plan and got food-truck-food the other day - spaetzle, and heavy-cream-from-a-glass-bottle-laden lemongrass soup, and some kinda tamale that had kale which made me feel virtuous. I ate it while drinking a (virtuous) half glass of wine and watching almost all of season 1 of Downton Abbey and it was indeed delicious (as was Masterpiece Theater, which seems to be controlling my life right now...just today I heard some people speaking with a British accent and I got all confused between TV and reality)....but...after the feast....I slept HORRIBLY and I felt AWFUL the next day, and I know it was the food. All I wanted the next day were steel cut oats. So that new craving - a real craving for steel cut oats! - is a nice and welcome change. I wouldn't do this new approach (my version of Esselstyn) if I didn't find it delicious. I couldn't. I love food too much.

So thank you, Healthy Librarian for providing this interesting and fun forum!


The Healthy Librarian

@Janet: Can I tell you how excited I am that you finally discovered chia! It is a fun food--& it is kinda like a bubble tea that's even good for you. Can't tell you how many friends confide how they enjoy discovering a left-over seed stuck in between their teeth hours after a meal--it's that gelatin thing. Weird--but a very common experience.

Anyway--I'm still waiting for your expert touch with the chia salad dressing! Please!! Oh--and you're not the only one who ends up suffering if they go "off the plan". I hear it all the time. Amazing how the body revolts when you feed it just one junk meal--after it's gotten used to healthy & clean food.

Re the Downton-it has totally taken over my life too! Stayed up until 11:30 last night to watch a 2 hour episode (#6) & had to get up 6 hours later for work. We watched season 1 in about 3 days--even my husband is totally hooked. Tonight's the final episode & I'm really going to miss it. There's nothing like it on TV! LOVE IT!!

Gael in Vermont

Are we all in Downton withdrawl here? Our local library is having high tea on Sundays for those that absolutely cannot bear it any longer. There will be chat and chew about Downton Abbey for the next 4 weeks! FREE BATES is the Vermont battle cry!
I made the chia dressing with 1/2 tsp sweet curry, shallots, garlic, lemon juice, chia, salt and pepper. I also added some Singapore Seasoning also from Penzey's. Whizzed it up and let it thicken. Tonight, I poured some over my roasted potatoes and cauliflower...very delish and thick! Give it a go!

Janet Elbetri

Smiling over here...I'm saving Season 2's finale (from since I missed it on TV) for Friday. Cannot bear it. God Save Queen Maggie Smith...

I'm working on my chia dressing - made a "green goddess" of sorts with tons of parsley, but added too much spice. Will update when I have a better version.

Yes - I love the surprise chia seeds between my teeth! Who knew that something that really *should* be gross turns out fun? What on earth? Yes! The weird gelatinous thing. So strange and satisfying and weird. I find myself resisting mixing them into everything (I don't have enough reading materials, or incense, in the bathroom to support that kind of behavior, if you get my drift). Who needs flax seed oil capsules anyway? Not I!


Janet Mace

Is there something magic about the Vitamix versus a blender? I used a blender but my chia seeds did not thicken (as they do in my morning steel cut oatmeal) even tho we let it stand for well over 15 min. I was wondering if psyllium seeds would work as an alternative thickener? They thicken up nicely and don't seem to have any overriding taste. Will give it a try and see what happens!

The Healthy Librarian

@Janet: The VitaMix is a powerful blender--so maybe that makes a difference. I have no idea why it didn't thicken up, because I can mix a liquid with whole chia seeds & it thickens up, like in that Chocolate Chia Banana Pudding--or making chia gel as an egg substitute. You can also buy ground chia seed--or try grinding it in a coffee grinder if you have one. Did you use regular (not light) soy milk? Maybe that's it. Complete clueless here. Sorry.


Just made this - putting in the fridge overnight. Used orange juice and herbs de provence - very much of a ranch taste, so far - I'll know more tomorrow. Keeping my fingers crossed.


Thanks so much for your site HL! I've learned so much here and will keep coming back. As for salad dressings, I'm not much of a cook and REALLY hate dragging out my blender if I don't have to. My super simple go-to dressing is watered-down hummus! I just put a spoonful of hummus in a small container, dribble some water in it and stir until it is the consistency of creamy dressing. Go slowly with the water - it's really easy to overdo it. I just mix up one serving at a time as needed. I've found a store-bought brand that I'm comfortable with in terms of oil and salt content, but you could use homemade as well. Works for me!


Hi. This is my first comment on your blog, but I wanted to let you know I love your chia seed dressings. I'm not a fan of nut based salad dressings, so I resigned myself to eating only flavored vinegars or salsa on my salads. As a result, I was eating much less raw veggies than I should. Over the last weeks since you first posted the recipe, I've become obsessed with the Greek dressing and have made so much of it that I need to buy more chia seeds. I just wanted to let you know of a variation that I have started using. I grew up with grandparents that served traditional German foods at every holiday, but most of those foods are not always so healthy...heavy on the mayo and bacon grease. I used your basic chia dressing and subbed out Barvarian seasoning (I got mine at my local market) for the Greek and apple cider vinegar for the lemon juice. I use it in place of regular coleslaw dressing. It's great.

The Healthy Librarian

@Theresa: Thanks so much for sharing your chia salad dressing successes--and your new creation! I love that German taste combo, too--& I love cole slaw, so I can't wait to try this. I'm not sure if Penzey's has a Bavarian equivalent--could you tell me what's in your Bavarian seasoning mix. Thanks, Theresa


@The Healthy Librarian: The Bavarian (ack not Barvarian...spell check is my friend)seasoning that I use has brown mustard seed, thyme, garlic, rosemary, sage and bay leaves.

Emily Elizabeth

This dressing is amazing!! Made a chili-lime version for taco salad and then made a (much) healthier version of toum to put over falafel. Used lemon juice and 1-1.5 tablespoons of garlic minced and pressed into a paste with some kosher salt. It's pretty strong but it will do the job!

The Healthy Librarian

@Emily Elizabeth: Thanks for the feedback! Try the tzatziki sauce in this recipe I posted last week. So good.

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