Sunday, May 10, 2009
Delectable Dressings: You "Gotta Luv It"
I have never been a salad girl. The thought of limp pre-washed lettuce with clumps of ranch dressing and couple of paltry vegetables tossed on top is not appetizing to me. Unfortunately this is often what salads look like when you purchase them in shops or airports. In restaurants, the dressing and fried toppings pile on the calories so high you might as well just get the burger. And the dressings you buy for use at home are usually loaded with preservatives and words I can't begin to pronounce. Since attempting to swear off the overly processed dressings, even my salads at home have lost their appeal. There are only so many days a girl can enjoy oil and vinegar.
However, my views of salads are beginning to change with the discovery of Gotta Luv It dressing and marinades. These locally made condiments are the brainchild of Jade Powell in Petaluma, California. These dressings pack a punch, and while the serving size on the label is two tablespoons, you don't need that much to enjoy a flavorful salad! Powell makes three dressings: Chipotle-Lime Fusion, Raspberry Balsamic Vinaigrette, and Sweet & Tangy Italian. At under $5 a bottle, the fact that you only need a drizzle of dressing for a large salad makes Gotta Luv It a value investment as well.
While I usually enjoy creating my own recipes, I had to try a suggestion from the creator of Gotta Luv It:
Chipotle Lime Fusion Cole Slaw
1/2 medium Napa Cabbage, shredded
1/4 small Purple Cabbage, shredded fine
1/4 small Savoy Cabbage, shredded fine
4 stalks Green Onions, diced
1 small Carrot, grated
2-3 tbsp Toasted Sesame Seeds (toast in saucepan or broil briefly in oven)
Gotta Luv It Chipotle Lime Fusion dressing & marinase
Toss all ingredients together and enjoy!
Now I cheated, per the note on the instructions, and used bagged shredded cabbage. I also added some precooked chicken. This was an AMAZING salad. However, it was even better in a whole wheat wrap for lunch the next day. The flavors of the dressing popped when enjoyed with the crunchy cabbage and nutty seeds. While the chipotle lends a kick to the dish, it isn't overwhelming in the weaving of flavors and textures.
One of my favorite things about Gotta Luv It is how versatile the dressings are. From dressing fresh mangos with a light drizzle of the Raspberry Balsamic Vinaigrette, to marinading chicken and tofu in the Sweet & Tangy Italian before tossing them on the grill this weekend, the thickness of the dressing and the fullness of flavor make these a winning staple in my kitchen.
For those who have been following Uncovering Food for awhile, you know that I enjoy sharing products that are rocking in local markets but should have national exposure. Gotta Luv It dressings are currently sold online and in more than 70 stores in the greater San Francisco Bay Area. However, I would urge you to ask your local stores to stock this family made, all natural dressing & marinade. It will save you the shipping costs and ensure you will have quick access to a versitile and healthy product. Have I ever steered you wrong?
Chipotle-Lime Fusion: This silver medal winning dressing is light with a mild kick. The tang of the citrus and the spice of the chipotle balance each other out for a dressing that only needs a drizzle to flavor the whole bowl of veggies. Great for a salad or tossed with some leftover chicken for a lunchtime wrap, this dressing adds zing to any meal.
Ingredients: Canola Oil, Lime Juice, Rice Vinegar (5% acidity), Organic Sugar, Soy Sauce (Water, Soybeans, Wheat, Salt), Dry Minced Harlic, Dry Cilantro, Spices, Salt, Xanthan Gum
Nutritional Information for 2 tablespoons (although you won't need that much!): 110 calories, 11 grams of fat
Sweet & Tangy Italian: This dressing won the Double Gold Medal at the Sonoma County Fair. It is creamier and sweeter than many Italian dressings on store shelves. Full of flavor, this dressing dances on your tounge and creates a party in your mouth. I used it to marinade some tofu and chicken for a weekend BBQ. The flavors were complex enough to add flavor to the proteins without overpowering the entree. It was also great tossed with some romaine and fresh parmasen when we had spaghetti.
Ingredients: Canola Oil, Red Wine Vinegar (5% acidity), Organic Sugar, No-Salt Seasoning (Onions, Spices, Lemon Peel, Dehydrated Garlic, Citric Acid, Paprika, Red & Green Bell Peppers, Mustard & Parsley), Mustard Flour, Xanthan Gum
Nutritional Information for 2 tablespoons: 140 calories, 15 grams of fat
Raspberry Balsamic Vingairette: Another silver medalist, this dressing stood out for it's ability to work in sweet and savory dishes. Thicker than it's counterparts, the berries and balsamic flavors are strong and stand out in any dish. Like the other Gotta Luv It dressings, the recommended serving size is two tablespoons. I would recommend starting with a teaspoon and working your way up. While the calories and fat are higher than the more processed dressings on the shelves, the fullness in flavor means you don't need near the same amount. I recently enjoyed the Raspberry Balsamic in a fruit salad side dish with dark chocolate shaved over the top. The garlic and other spices in the dressing provided a savory contrast to the sweetness of the raspberries and balsamic i the dressing as well as the bittersweetness of the chocolate and the ripeness of the mangos and strawberries in the salad. It was an unusual and delicious combination.
Ingredients: Canola Oil, Balsamin Vinegar (6% acidity), Raspberry Puree, Organic Sugar, Water, No-Salt Seasoning (Dried Onions, Spices, Lemon Peel, Dried Garlic, Citric Acid, Dried Bell Peppers, Mustard), Mustard Flour, Natural Raspberry Flavor
Nutritional Information for 2 tablespoons: 150 calories, 14 grams of fat
I get asked by readers if I am being paid to push products. The simple answer is no. In fact, most of the products I write about are ones I have found and purchased during my trips to the grocery store or on the road. Occasionally, a company will send a sample my way and if I believe the product will serve a need for my readers and I would buy the product myself, then I will share it with you. Sometimes I will write to a company after reading about it, if I believe it will help us lead healthier lifestyles. But even then, if the product doesn't pass my scrutiny, it won't make the screen of Uncovering Food. You can trust that every product or recipe posted here has passed through my lips, and that I wouldn't blog about it if it wasn't worthy of you... my favorite readers.