I became a salad fanatic as a teenager. But back then, I smothered my leafy greens with gobs of creamy ranch salad dressing. It wasn’t until I began learning about nutrition in college that I started paying attention to the ingredients in my bottled dressing. I soon realized my pick was definitely science experiment worthy. Luckily, I quickly changed my bad habits and began making my own vinaigrettes and other salad dressings. One of my favorites throughout the years has been fruit vinaigrette. It still provides creaminess, but it’s from real produce not a chemistry lab!
I’m so glad the Recipe Redux theme this month is “DIY kitchen essentials.” It gives me the opportunity to share my very personal recipe with you. This colorful vinaigrette recipe works with just about any fruit, like blackberries, cherries, and mangoes which I’ve used here. Since the natural sugar and water content of fruits vary, simply add extra vinegar when you need extra zing. You can change the ratio of oil to acid and make it lower in calories; but this original version is designed to be full of Mediterranean appeal.
I’m an advocate for preventing food waste whenever possible. So this fresh vinaigrette is a go-to whenever I have excess seasonal fruit on hand that’s on its last days of delicious ripeness. I hope you enjoy it like I do … often. And I hope that in some small way it helps make an extra dent in preventing waste. After all, every little bit makes a difference!
Calories saved: 30
Why it’s better for you? It’s 100% real and preservative free!
6ounces fully-ripened fresh seasonal fruit, such as cherries, berries, or mango
1/3cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large shallot, finely chopped
3 large fresh basil or 5 large fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
Juice and zest of 1/2 small lemon (1 tablespoon juice)
1 1/2 teaspoons white balsamic vinegar, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Add the fruit (including any edible skin, peel, or seeds) and olive oil to a blender or food processor and puree. (Note: Compost any inedible fruit skin, peel, or seeds.)
Transfer the pureed fruit mixture to a 10-ounce capacity jar. Stir in the shallot, basil, lemon juice and zest, vinegar, salt, and pepper with a fork. (Note: Compost the shallot skin. Plan to use the remaining lemon half in another part of the meal.)
Use immediately or store in a sealed jar in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Per serving: 90 calories, 8g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 100mg sodium, 4g total carbohydrate, 1g dietary fiber, 3g sugars, 0g protein
Serving Size:2 tablespoons
The “Before” Version
Inspired by traditional bottle of ranch dressing
Per serving: 120 calories, 12g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 370mg sodium, 3g total carbohydrate, 0g dietary fiber, 2g sugars, 0g protein
Puree fresh cherries, berries, mango and more into a typical vinaigrette (oil + acid) to make it creamy, colorful, and fruity
Add fresh basil or mint to vinaigrettes for a pop of herbal fragrance
When using fresh lemon juice, plan to use the lemon zest for extra citrusy zip, if possible