Updated: Jan 23
This is my favourite go-to dressing whenever I serve salad as a main or side dish. You can tweak quantities to suit your personal taste, but this is how I make mine more or less, as I make it so often I don’t measure the ingredients anymore and it still tastes good every time.
10 tablespoons Avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil; sometimes I use half of
each to add extra flavour
1 lemon The juice and if you want it extra zingy, add the zest
2 teaspoons Fresh or dried oregano
5 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic Finely grated
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Add a pinch of salt and pepper if needed.
This is why I think this salad dressing is so good:
Avocado oil and extra virgin olive oil contain oleic acid, which helps to reduce inflammation (1) and blood pressure levels (2). Olive oil contains more vitamin E when compared to avocado oil - vitamin E being effective against oxidation, a process which leads to cell and tissue damage and linked to cancer, cardiovascular disease, chronic inflammation and neurological disorders (3). However, both oils are rich in lutein (the “eye vitamin”) due to its link to helping prevent eye disease (4). Avocado oil also helps to increase carotenoid absorption from vegetables - carotenoids acting as a type of anti-oxidant (5).
Lemons contain flavonoids, which are compounds rich in anti-oxidant activity. Studies suggest this can mean anti-cancer and anti-viral benefits, in addition to positive effects on fat and sugar metabolism (6), a process where chemical reactions in the body create energy. Due to the vitamin C content in lemons, they also help to increase the absorption of iron from dark green leafy vegetables – iron helps support the immune system to work properly.
Oregano has been used in traditional medicine to treat respiratory and gastrointestinal conditions, in addition to being anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial (7).
Balsamic vinegar contains amino acids, which are nutrients that regulate cellular metabolism in addition to being bioactive compounds that contribute to improving immunity and brain development. In addition, traditional Modena balsamic vinegar contains polyphenols, which are packed with anti-oxidants. The organic acids in balsamic vinegar also have the ability to kill bacterial cells (8).
Garlic acts as an anti-oxidant and has been traditionally used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. It has the ability to reduce blood pressure and total cholesterol, due to its anti-platelet and anti-coagulant effects (9).
Mustard is made from mustard seeds, which contain a variety of minerals as well as anti-microbial (10) and phenolic compounds, which have anti-oxidant benefits (11).
Mix this salad dressing with other great anti-oxidants such as tomatoes, peppers, avocados and broccoli to benefit from consuming an anti-oxidant rich salad. Serve this with grilled salmon and it becomes an even richer anti-oxidant meal due to salmon’s omega-3 content.
Carillo et al. (2012) Role of oleic acid in immune system; mechanism of action; a review. Nutr. Hosp., 27(4), 978-90.
Teres et al. (2008) Oleic acid content is responsible for the reduction in blood pressure induced by olive oil. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 105(37), 13811-13816.
Brigelius-Flohe et al. (2002) The European perspective on vitamin E: current knowledge and future research. The American Journal for Clinical Nutrition, 76(4), 703-716.
Buscemi et al. (2018) The Effect of Lutein on Eye and Extra-Eye Health. Nutrients, 10(9), 1321.
NZ et al. (2005) Carotenoid absorption from salad and salsa by humans is enhanced by the addition of avocado or avocado oil. The Journal of Nutrition, 135(3), 431-436.
Fukuchi et al. (2008) Lemon Polyphenols Suppress Diet-induced Obesity by Up-Regulation of mRNA Levels of the Enzymes Involved in β-Oxidation in Mouse White Adipose Tissue. J Clin Biochem Nutr, 43(3), 201-209.
Veenstra et al. (2019) Oregano (Origanum vulgare) extract for food preservation and improvement in gastrointestinal health. Int J Nutr, 3(4), 43-52.
Xia et al. (2020) Nutrients and bioactive components from vinegar: A fermented and functional food. Journal of Functional Foods, 103681.
Rana et al. (2011) Garlic in health and disease. Nutrition Research Reviews, 24(1).
Szollosi (2020) Chapter 25 - Indian Mustard (Brassica juncea L.) Seeds in Health: in Nuts and Seeds in Health and Disease Prevention (Second Edition), 357-364.
Gok et al. (2020) Comparison of chemical properties, antioxidant capacity, and phenolic acids of autoclaved and unautoclaved ground mustard seeds. Food Sci Technol.