Vinaigrette, a sauce made with vinegar. And often with oil, but not always. Wait a minute, is vinegar gluten free?
orange-vinaigrette peanut-butter-vinaigrette and crystal-vinaigrette photo by vsimon
Distilled white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, and white rice vinegar are commonly available in the U.S. and gluten free.
Malt vinegar is made from barely, not distilled, and is not gluten free.
Tricia Thompson thoroughly reviews vinegar and gluten on her Living Gluten Free blog.
Vinegar has two notable nutritional properties.
#1. Numerous scientific studies have shown that eating vinegar with high carbohydrate meals lowers blood sugar and insulin response after the meal.
So many gluten free products are loaded with highly refined starches. Switching to whole grains helps improve blood sugar. Maybe you have noticed that recipes posted here are likely to be whole grain. Simply adding vinegar to a meal also helps.
#2. You will feel full longer after a meal that contains vinegar. This can be important if you are trying to watch your weight and eat less.
Kinds of vinegar
Rice vinegar has the mildest flavor. You can buy it plain or seasoned. Sugar and salt are added to the seasoned variety. Plain white rice vinegar is the most useful, you can add sugar and salt as needed.
Golden hued apple cider vinegar tastes slight fruity.
Clear distilled white vinegar is a bit harsher in flavor, and is super inexpensive. The lack of color makes it versatile and other ingredients can mellow the flavor.
There are other vinegars worth trying too. Balsamic is dark, sweet and syrupy. Sherry vinegar is complex and potent, a little goes a long way. Both of these can be expensive, but worth it. Bottles of each are waiting in my fridge right now, to be splashed on garden veggies or to perk up a pan sauce.
Today we have three easy vinaigrettes to suit every taste. You can pass on the readymade stuff in the store. These take only minutes to make and cost just pennies. Adjust the recipes to your tastes. Feel free to substitute rice vinegar in any recipe where you want mild flavor. Or add more vinegar for a puckery zip.
¼ cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar, Splenda or honey
¼ cup canola oil or walnut oil
In a small bowl, mix rice vinegar and sweetener. Allow to sit for a few minutes so the sugar (if using) can dissolve. Add the oil and stir briskly. This is really a treat with walnut oil if you can get it.
We originally used this with spinach salad that included berries, toasted whole almonds, and creamy goat cheese. We had a client who loved it so much he put it on everything, really everything. Maybe that is a bit much, but it does add a sodium free sweet-sour punch to salads, grains and veggies.
Orange Mustard Salad Dressing
Adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home by Deborah Madison
1/3 cup orange juice concentrate
3-4 tablespoons vinegar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
Mix it up. You can add oil if you like more calories.
There is always a supply of OJ concentrate in our freezer. It is easy to scoop out only what you need, put the lid back on it and tuck it back into the freezer.
Top mixed grain and veggie salads with this bright tangy dressing. For example, add Orange Mustard Salad dressing to a mix of quinoa, sweet yellow pepper, shredded carrot and thin sliced red onions.
Peanut Butter Dressing
¼ cup sugar, Splenda, or honey
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons peanut butter
Mix it up. I like to do this in a mini blender, it is a bit quicker and smoother. If you are doing it by hand, hot water helps the peanut butter mix in.
This also thickens slightly when it is stored in the fridge. Make it ahead and it will be the right temperature and consistency.
Kids (and adults) love this on greens with sliced apples and chopped peanuts.
Do you make your own dressings? Or pickles? Please share your favorite uses for vinegar.