BBQ sauces are loaded with junky ingredients – sugar, vegetable oils, weird texturizers/emulsifiers etc. – which is why I like to make my own. To be fair, homemade BBQ sauces are definitely more work than buying one at the health food store (which are often cleaner than the regular grocery store, but still contain all sorts of gums which give me migraines), but the flavour is totally worth it!
When I go to the effort of making homemade sauces I make sure to make as large a batch as my soup pot can handle. Then I freeze in 2-3 cup portions so I have sauce on hand for the next few times I want it!
This classic-style BBQ sauce is going on a huge pork shoulder for Saturday night at the cottage this weekend (see my directions for Slowcooker Pulled Pork). I have also used it on BBQ chicken wings – simply season the wings with sea salt and pepper, then grill. Toss in a bowl with some heated BBQ sauce before serving. Easy and delicious! I can guarantee that this would be amazing on ribs as well, although I haven’t made ribs yet this summer. Stay tuned!
One of the processed foods I really caution my clients against is pre-made salad dressings. The reason for this is multi-factorial:
The oil is always a vegetable oil. Even if it says “made with olive oil”. Check the ingredients list, olive oil will be listed after an industrial seed oil such as canola or soybean. This is true even for the “healthy” or “organic” salad dressings. I don’t care of canola oil is organic, it is still not suitable for human consumption, since it is an unstable, damaged oil that causes high levels of inflammation and free radicals in the body.
It always contains at least one form of sugar, and often as many as 4 or 5. Sugar, brown rice syrup, brown rice syrup solids, corn syrup, honey, fruit concentrates, barley malt syrup or just malt syrup (note: also gluten), dextrose, maltodextrin… why so many types? Because ingredients are listed in order of highest amount to lowest. Better to list 5 low amounts of sugar, which show up at the end the list, than use just one type and have it be the first ingredient.
It is thickened and stabilized with fake foods. Things like xantham gum and maltodextrin (derived from GMO corn).
Weird ingredients are added for flavour and texture. Things like autolyzed yeast extract, corn syrup and caramel colour pop up regularly.
Natural flavour (which is just chemically synthesized from real food, often GMO foods) and artificial flavours are common ingredients.
They are notorious for containing major allergens – specifically dairy, corn, gluten, soy and egg.
I hate to break it to you, but store-bought salad dressings are simply sugary, chemical-filled, inflammatory flavour boosters. So you can see why I take all of my clients off it right? Interestingly, it’s something that I get a lot of resistance to. For some reason people are scared to make their own salad dressings, or they have no idea where to start. Little do they know that it’s super easy and way less expensive too!
Real salad dressing, made with real ingredients, are not only more delicious than these junky store-bought ones, but can have major health benefits as well! By using quality, nourishing oils and natural ingredients such as vinegars, herbs and spices, you can enjoy your salad for both the flavour and the nutrition it’s providing you. And you don’t have to do that silly old “diet trick” of dipping your fork into the salad dressing first before spearing some salad, so you get the taste without all the calories. With real salad dressing you’re going to want those calories because they contain all sorts of awesome nutrition and/or they help deliver the nutrition found in vegetables to your body.
So, how do you make your own salad dressing? It’s a lot easier than you think it is, I promise. Here’s how.
Homemade Salad Dressings
Choose 1 or 2 from each list:
vinegar (apple cider, balsamic, white wine, red wine, raspberry wine, champagne etc.)
citrus (lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit)
sea salt (always include this!)
herbs such as cilantro, parsley, dill, oregano, basil, thyme, mint, tarragon (herbs can be fresh or dry)
spices such as cumin, chili, garlic powder, onion powder, turmeric, black pepper, paprika, coriander, mustard powder, ginger (omit nightshades and seed-based spices if AIP)
aromatic vegetables such as minced garlic, diced onion/shallot/chives
other flavours like anchovies (caesar), nutritional yeast (vegan/paleo cheesy flavour), tamari sauce or soy-free coconut seasoning (aka coconut aminos in the USA), citrus zest
mustard or egg yolk, for flavour and as an emulsifier
mashed raspberries or strawberries (fresh, or thawed from frozen) or a bit of organic jam
raw honey, real maple syrup or pomegranate molasses to add a bit of sweetness
Directions for Making Salad Dressing
In a measuring cup, glass or small bowl, whisk together all of your ingredients except the oil. This might just be your acid and spices, or it might include mayo, egg yolk, mustard, honey etc.
Whisk until thoroughly combined.
Slowly drizzle in oil of choice, until the desired flavour and consistency is achieved.
Tweak ingredients as needed – add more salt, vinegar, spices etc. until your dressing tastes
When it comes to the ratio of acid to vinegar, it really is a personal choice. I recommend starting at a 1:1 ratio, and tweaking it based on your palate.
If you want it creamy, but don’t want to use avocado/mayo, use a small food processor or immersion blender instead. Combine all ingredients and blend well. Drizzle in oil while blending to achieve a creamier consistency.
Keep it simple! Start with one oil, one vinegar/citrus, sea salt and one or two herbs. Make the dressing and taste it. Do you like it? Why or why not? Too simple, add more spices. Too vinegary but you can already taste the oil? Maybe add some mustard, honey or fruit. Play around!
Keep the volume of each ingredient small when you first start out so you can toss creations that go awry. You will be more likely to be creative and adventurous, if you aren’t stressed about wasting 2 cups of oil!
Mayonnaise has a very bad reputation, and honestly, that’s probably for good reason. At least that’s the case for the junk sold at the grocery store! Do you know what actually goes into real mayo? It’s simple: raw egg, oil and lemon or vinegar. Simple, straight forward and depending on the oil that you use, actually pretty darn healthy! So you might already be wondering… if it’s made with raw egg, how come it’s not found in the fridge? Well my friends, here’s the low-down on this artificial food we like to refer to as mayo. Check out the ingredients lists in these popular brands of mayonnaise:
Canola Oil, Water, Liquid Whole Egg, Vinegar, Salt, Liquid yolk, Sugar, Spices, Concentrated Lemon Juice and Calcium Disodium EDTA.
Soybean Oil, Water, Eggs, Egg Yolks, Vinegar, Contains Less Than 2% of: Sugar, Salt, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Calcium Disodium EDTA As A Preservative, Dried Garlic, Dried Onions, Spice, Natural Flavor.
Organic Expeller-Pressed Soy Oil, Filtered Water, Organic Brown Rice Syrup, Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, Organic Soy Protein, Sea Salt, Organic Mustard, Organic Lemon Juice Concentrate.
I bolded the ingredients that are questionable. Aside from the preservatives that are clearly required to make raw egg shelf-stable, my biggest concern is the junky, inflammatory seed oils they all use. Canola and soy oils are not healthy in any way, shape or form. They are incredibly high in omega-6 fats and they are chemically unstable. Exposure to light, oxygen and heat will cause them to break down, creating free radicals and wrecking havoc on your tissues. Also, the term spice is a catch all term. The ingredients used are not disclosed. Also, sugar?? What the heck! And cornstarch in the Miracle Whip? They’re so scared of the fat and cholesterol from the egg, that they’ve added cornstarch as a thickener, instead of utilizing the egg. And don’t get me started on that enzyme modified egg yolk business…
It’s a shame, because when made properly, mayo is actually like a fat supplement! A pastured or organic egg brings a whole whack of nutrients to the table. Combine that with a high quality oil and you’ve got yourself a very healthy food! So without further ado, here’s my recipe for:
Combine 1¼ cup avocado oil, 1 raw egg, the juice of ½ a lemon, a pinch of sea salt and a pinch of mustard in a jar and let sit for about an hour. Bringing the ingredients to room temperature is critical.
Turn it on and slowly pull the immersion blender upwards over the course of 10-15 seconds. If necessary, drop the blender back down to the bottom and repeat once more.
After about 20-30 seconds it will be fully emulsified ie. thick and creamy!
A few notes:
It lasts at least 7 days in the fridge, likely more.
It is a fabulous vector for other delicious flavours.
Add some sriracha for sweet potato fry dip.
Mix with lime juice and cilantro for a taco or nacho topping.
Turn into ranch dressing using this fabulous recipe by Melissa Joulwan at The Clothes Make The Girl.
Play around with oils. This recipe calls for avocado oil, because it’s a neutral taste. Substitute ¼ cup of avocado oil for another oil for a different flavour! Try bacon grease for a wonderfully smoky mayo. Coconut oil makes a thicker, sweeter mayo.
A handheld immersion blender is really key for this recipe. You can use a food processor, but it really works best with an immersion blender!
UPDATE: 9 times out of 10 this is fool-proof, however every so often you may experience the crushing blow of a broken mayo. This is super disheartening, especially if you feel like you have to throw out all those ingredients! But WAIT! You don’t need to toss the ingredients. Simply follow this amazing trick for repairing broken mayo!