Sunday, April 3, 2011

Balsamic Vinaigrette (GAPS-legal)

Did you know that it is lettuce season?  Lettuce is a cool-season crop, so Spring and Fall are typically the best times to find local lettuce and other salad greens.  My own meager lettuce crop is ready for harvest, and we've been enjoying lettuce from my mom's garden for months. Since we've been eating lots of salad, it is nice to have some variety in salad dressings.  Making homemade salad dressing is very easy, and the taste and nutrition of homemade dressing are unmatched by salad dressing from the store. 

Balsamic Vinaigrette
1/2 c. balsamic vinegar*
2 tsp dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp celtic sea salt
1/2 Tb raw honey
1-2 Tb flax oil**
3/4-1 c. olive oil and/or sunflower oil***
  1. Combine vinegar, mustard, salt, honey, and spices.  Whisk until well-combined.  
  2. Add a small amount of oil, and whisk well to combine. (Adding a small amount of oil initially helps the dressing to become emulsified so that it will not separate readily into vinegar and oil.)  
  3. Add remaining oil and whisk to combine.  
  4. Store in the fridge.  I find that this dressing keeps for at least a week or two.  
Serve over salad and enjoy!  For a new twist, try drizzling both balsamic vinaigrette and Easy Creamy Dressing onto a salad.

*Balsamic vinegar is listed as not allowed on the GAPS food list.  However, according to the SCD-legal and illegal list, the reason is that many balsamic vinegars have sugar in them.  To make this dressing GAPS-legal, make sure your balsamic vinegar does not have sugar.
**Only a small amount of flax oil is needed as it is very high in omega 3's. Make sure you buy flax oil that is refrigerated, as the high omega 3 content makes flax oil go rancid easily. Also, keep your flax oil refrigerated and never heat it.
***Feel free to use all olive oil; I use a combination of olive oil and sunflower oil as I find that it makes the dressing pourable directly from the fridge.  When I've used all olive oil, the oil solidifies in the fridge so that the dressing has to be warmed to room temperature before use.  I like my dressing to have quite a vinegar tang; if you like yours more mild, use the full 1 cup of oil.

This post is part of Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade, Pennywise Platter at The Nourishing Gourmet and Monday Mania at the Healthy Home Economist!


Mrs. Ed said...

Thanks for putting the link to the balsamic vinagrette. I haven't had it for awhile, and it goes well with so many things.

Jill said...

Hi Sarah,
I love the dressing. I love balsamic, but have not used it because it is not GAPS/SCD legal. How do I make sure it does not have any sugar in it? How are you sure Newman is legal? Have you tried to make it from red wine vinegar as outlined in some of the SCD books? Thanks!

Sarah Smith said...

Hi Jill,
I could be wrong, but I am relying on the labeling laws in the US. The Newman's Own Organic Balsamic Vinegar lists the only ingredient as Balsamic Vinegar from Modena Italy. I am guessing finding balsamic vinegar without sugar would be more difficult in other countries where it is not required to list all ingredients on the label.


Anonymous said...

What dijon mustard do you use?

Sarah Smith said...

I use Natural Value dijon mustard.

Raine Saunders said...

Hi Sarah - I am on GAPS, and I have not used balsamic vinegar for nearly 6 months because I have been told by many people who have done GAPS that balsamic vinegar contains gluten in many instances. Apparently the only way to find out is to contact the manufacturer or producer. For the sake of convenience, I've just stopped using it because I have so many things going on in my life, that was just one more thing added to my list that I had not gotten to yet. Any thoughts about this?

Sarah Smith said...

Hi Raine,
I've never heard that balsamic vinegar may contain gluten. As far as I know (from the SCD list), the reason balsamic vinegar is on the "avoid" list is because many balsamic vinegars contain added sugar, So I've just ensured that the type I buy does not have any sugar (or other thickeners like cornstarch) added. The FAQ for Newman's Own organic balsamic vinegar (that's the type I buy) says that it is gluten-free. I hope this helps.


Erica said...

OH MY, you may have just made my day! We are only on intro, but the one thing I am soooooo sad to let go of are our homemade dressings with DEVO Olive Oil Company olive oil and balsamic vinegars....they are flavored but supposedly only with real fruit/herbs that have been concentrated ....I have tried contacting them again, I know all of their products are imported from Italy, just hoping someone knowledgeable enough is around to get me the answers I need!

Justine Raphael said...

Do be careful with hidden ingredients--our laws actually are not strict enough and many things are allowed to slip under the radar. And then add the purposely deceptive labeling that is allowed. Therefore, I wouldn't trust most companies as far as I could throw them... I just contacted Meyenberg about their goat butter, which lists natural flavor as an ingredient. They claim it is just part of the milk taken out an added back--yup, I think what they do is heat treat it and make msg they don't have to claim on the label. So, most balsamics available in this country are not made in the traditional fashion and shouldn't be trusted. Real balsamic is astronomically priced (like 80 or more dollars for a slender bottle--up to hundreds!) My guess is that if we can afford it, it's not the real thing.

Why not use red wine vinegar and honey? It is definitely safer, if you can handle the sulfites in the vinegar.

Sarah Smith said...

Good point, Justine. I also like red wine vinegar in salad dressings, but like to use balsamic sometimes for variety.

Debra Gaines said... is based in Bar Harbor, ME and they have an AMAZING traditional 18yr old balsamic vinegar that they make which has NO added sugar. Their number is 207-801-2580 and they can provide you with a nutrient sheet. We LOVE their products!

Anonymous said...

I realize this is an older post but I had a question about the flax oil. Is flax oil and/or ground flax gaps friendly? It isn't listed on the eat or not eat lists but I assumed it was a no since I can't find gaps recipes including it. The oil seems logical enough to include in a small amount like this but the flax meal is what I'm really wondering about. If you can help, thank you in advance Sarah. :)

Sarah Smith said...

Yes, flax oil is legal. There is a great list of different foods and whether they are legal on SCD (which is the diet GAPS is based upon) here: