Update: This recipe is now in Plant-Powered Families.
Cooking and baking are sometimes described as science… but I like to think of it more like magic. Because sometimes an idea unfolds and is realized in food form with a way that is almost mysterious, yet very exciting!
This week this magic happened with an idea for vinaigrette. I actually had this concept in my head many years ago, when I was writing Vive le Vegan. I toyed with it, but left it behind at the time. As recipe developers, we sometimes do this. Either the notion becomes further developed down the road as our cooking evolves, or it never materialized.
The idea that was with me for years and manifested this week is… wait for it… using applesauce in a fat-free (or low-fat) vinaigrette. Sounds a little strange at first, right? But, think about the qualities of applesauce. It has viscosity and moisture (the very things that help replace fat in baking) so why not aid a vinaigrette as well?
Initially the combination didn’t quite come together for me in terms of flavor balance. After a few rounds of testing this week – ta-dah! The magic happened. The applesauce blends and helps emulsify the other ingredients so that you have a thicker, more rich and full-bodied textured dressing.
“Magical” No-Oil Vinaigrette
This dressing uses applesauce to emulsify the ingredients and produce a surprisingly thick vinaigrette that is virtually fat-free! Try it as is first, and then play with some of the seasonings to your own preferences.
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp mild miso (ex: chickpea miso or brown rice miso)
3/4 – 1 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tbsp pure maple syrup (or more to sweeten to taste if desired)
1/4 tsp (rounded) sea salt (or more to taste)
freshly ground black pepper to taste
Using an immersion blender and deep cup (if using a blender, you may need to double the batch for enough blending volume), combine all ingredients, whizzing through until very smooth. Taste, and if you’d like a little sweeter add another teaspoon or so of maple syrup. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper as well. If you’d like a thinner dressing, simply add a couple of teaspoons of water and blend through again.
What are you favorite vinaigrette and salad dressing ingredients?