|Sesame-ginger slaw made from shredded bok choy, red cabbage, and scallions all tossed with this dressing.|
I debated on whether or not to bring this up because I don't typically discuss my personal eating habits on this blog (too much of an invitation for judgement). Buuuut I recently completed the 21-day sugar detox (not affiliated). I feel that it was a positive experiment, the biggest breakthrough being that I no longer am sweetening my coffee. The term "detox" makes me cringe unless it refers to say, getting bit by a pit viper or chelation therapy ;-) But name aside I think it's an effective way of hitting a sort of reset button if sugar cravings are getting out of control (which they were for me). I'm not really sure what else to say about it but feel free to ask me questions in the comments if you have any.
ANYWAY. The reason I bring this up is that I wanted a yummy salad dressing while doing this thang. Basically all sweeteners are verboten, but coconut water gets the green light and sweet-tasting vinegars like balsamic are cool too, so I used both to get a subtle, natural sweetness. I really liked the mild flavor from the coconut water and I will definitely continue to make this dressing as a staple. It is tart and it's NOT like the Newman's Own stuff, so if you must have a sugary-sweet dressing you can sub a liquid sweetener like maple or coconut syrup for some or all of the coconut water. Post 21DSD I might try it with pineapple flavored coconut water.
This is incredible versatile. I intended it as a salad dressing, but I've also drizzled it on steamed broccoli, used it as a marinade, and also cooked salmon in it (set a still-frozen filet in a rimmed pan, covered with 2 Tbs dressing and baked at 425 F for 25 minutes). I love making a big batch of this stuff at the beginning of the week so that I have it to dress up protein, cooked veggies, and salads.
Some notes on the ingredients:
- I've found that the cheap brands of balsamic and sherry vinegar usually have caramel coloring, added sugar, and a relatively high sugar content. Higher quality brands don't have additives and are usually 0-1g sugar for a tablespoon. So read your labels!
- Read your labels on the coconut water, too; the brand I used has no added sugar.
- Regarding oil of choice: I do not recommend an oil which is primarily saturated fat such as coconut oil because it stays solid at room temperature. Monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) are liquid at room temperature, work well in both drizzling and cooking, but they solidify in the fridge. Polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) stay liquid at room temp AND in the fridge, but are not a good choice for cooking since the fat turns rancid when heated. So if you plan to use it as a marinade, I'd use a high MUFA oil such as olive, avocado, or macadamia nut oil. Let it come to room temperature before using. If this is strictly for drizzling and you want to keep it in the fridge, walnut oil is a great choice. Mark's Daily Apple has a nice guide to oils.
- You want to add something that has a soy sauce type flavor. Soy sauce has both soy and wheat, so if you're cool with that, go ahead and use it. Tamari is fermented soy only without wheat, and coconut aminos contains neither wheat nor soy. Pick your poison. I use organic non-GMO tamari.
- Chili garlic paste usually has some sugar so if you're super strict about avoiding it and you can't find a sugar-free brand, just substitute crushed red pepper flakes.
Makes about 1.5 cups; feel free to halve or double.
- 1/2 cup balsamic or sherry vinegar
- 1/3 cup coconut water
- 1/3 cup oil of choice
- 1 Tbs tamari, soy sauce, or coconut aminos
- 1/2 tsp chili garlic paste
- 4 tsp dark sesame oil
- 2 Tbs sesame seeds, preferably toasted
- 2 Tbs finely grated fresh ginger
- Combine the ingredients
- Shake everything up.
- There is no step 3. Enjoy!