You all know that I just love balsamic vinaigrette. (Homemade of course – I love great dressing recipes!) One thing that I’ve been working on is to try to create a balsamic vinaigrette dressing recipe that was lower in calories and fat without sacrificing taste. It’s not that I’m trying to stay away from fat per se – I just want to lower the calorie count and to get good fats if I can.
Lately I’ve been hearing a lot about chia seeds health benefits. Like fish oil, chia seeds contain Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids which are known to help fight inflammation in the body and in doing so prevent chronic disease like cancer and heart disease. As I’m turning the big 4-0 at the end of this year, I’ve started to think more about things like this. Sigh…
Anyways, after buying some chia seeds I quickly got on the web to see what exactly I could do with them. There were a few chia seed recipes, but what was most interesting was that you can combine the seeds with water and they form a thickish gel. Chia seeds have no taste and will absorb seven times their volume in liquid.
This got me to thinking about whether I could use the chia gel as a base for my vinaigrette recipe. My biggest complaint to date has been that without the oil the vinegar just isn’t thick enough to “stick” to the salad or quinoa. After a little testing I am happy to report that the results are excellent. I’ve included a little flax oil in the recipe, but many times I leave it off completely. You could also substitute olive oil if you like. Try this vinaigrette dressing recipe on your next quinoa salad (or any salad for that matter) and let me know what you think! I happen to think that quinoa and balsamic vinegar are a match made in heaven!
Recipe: Balsamic Vinegar Dressing Recipe
Summary: This balsamic vinegar dressing has all of the flavor minus the fat!
- 1 T Chia Seeds
- ½ cup water or broth
- ½ cup balsamic vinegar
- 6 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 T Dijon mustard
- ¼ tsp crushed red pepper
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/8 cup flax seed oil (optional)
- 1. Combine water and chia seeds in your blender. Pulse a few times. Allow to sit for 15-30 minutes until gel forms. Pulse a couple of times every 5-10 minutes. (If you prefer to make the chia gel in bulk it will last up to a week in the refrigerator.)
- 2. Add remaining ingredients through sea salt to your blender. Pulse until thoroughly combined. Add flax oil in steady stream if using.
You may be wondering, where do I buy chia seeds? You can typically find them in a health food store such as whole foods. If you do not have a health food store it is very convenient to order them online.
Diet type: Vegetarian
Diet (other): Low calorie, Reduced fat
Number of servings (yield): 6
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Recipe by Yet another fabulous recipe by Wendy Polisi.