Healthy Cook

The Vinaigrette Variations

by Kate Sherwood, June 2011

  • Print

Got a question or suggestion? Write to healthycook@cspinet.org

Each recipe uses a different take on balsamic vinaigrette to highlight the other ingredients. The combination of tart vinegar with something savory and something sweet makes for three deliciously different dishes.

Sydney Stir Fry

For a rich caramelized taste, brown the broccoli and peppers well. If tofu isn’t in the cards, you can use chicken or shrimp.

extra-firm water-packed tofu, drained
15 oz.
balsamic vinegar
3 Tbs.
reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 Tbs.
honey
1 Tbs.
cloves garlic, minced
2
grated ginger
1 Tbs.
vegetable oil, divided
3 Tbs.
broccoli florets
½ lb.
red pepper, thinly sliced
1
scallions, sliced
4

Cut the tofu across the width into 6 slabs. Cut each slab in half to make 12 squares. Blot the tofu to remove some of the moisture and set aside.

Whisk together the balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, honey, garlic, and ginger in a small bowl and set aside.

Sauté the broccoli in 1 Tbs. of oil over medium-high heat until bright green and starting to brown in places, about 5 minutes. Remove from the pan. Sauté the pepper in 1 Tbs. of oil over medium-high heat until it starts to brown, about 3 minutes. Remove from the pan. Sauté the tofu in the remaining 1 Tbs. of oil over medium-high heat until browned, 2 minutes per side. Add the vinegar mixture to the tofu and simmer until slightly thickened, about 1 minute.

Return the broccoli and peppers to the pan and gently toss to coat with the sauce. Garnish with the scallions and serve with brown rice or another whole grain.

Serves 3.

PER SERVING (2 cups, without rice)

  • Calories: 340
  • Total Fat: 21 g
  • Sat Fat: 3 g
  • Protein: 17 g
  • Sodium: 440 mg
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Carbohydrates: 22 g
  • Fiber: 5 g

Saint-Tropez Chicken

The recipe is great with grilled vegetables (mushrooms, peppers, eggplant, onion, and zucchini) instead of chicken.

balsamic vinegar
3 Tbs.
Dijon mustard
1 Tbs.
honey
1 Tbs.
cloves garlic, minced
2
Freshly ground black pepper
extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbs.
boneless, skinless chicken breast
1½ lb.
fresh basil leaves
1 cup
baby arugula
4 cups
oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
¼ cup

Make the marinade by whisking together the vinegar, mustard, honey, garlic, pepper, and oil in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil and simmer until slightly thickened, 3-5 minutes. Set aside.

Put the chicken breasts in a heavy plastic bag and pound to an even ½” thickness. Grill the chicken on a well-seasoned, mediumhot grill until cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Allow to rest for 5 minutes, then slice across the grain. Toss the chicken slices with the cooked marinade.

Roughly chop the basil and arugula and toss with the sun-dried tomatoes. Arrange the chicken slices on a platter and top with the basil-arugula mix. Serves 4.

PER SERVING (2 cups)

  • Calories: 310
  • Total Fat: 12 g
  • Sat Fat: 2 g
  • Protein: 37 g
  • Sodium: 310 mg
  • Cholesterol: 110 mg
  • Carbohydrates: 10 g
  • Fiber: 1 g

Santa Monica Mushroom Salad

Here’s an ideal summer meal for two or side salad for four. Try a mix of cremini, portobello, and/or shiitake mushrooms. To ratchet up the taste a notch, toss in a few wild mushrooms (like chanterelle or porcini).

balsamic vinegar
3 Tbs.
orange juice
½ cup
fresh dill sprigs
½ cup
cloves garlic, minced
2
Dijon mustard
1 tsp.
extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 Tbs.
mixed mushrooms, caps sliced and stems discarded
1 lb.
scallions, cut into 1” pieces
6
kosher salt
1 tsp.
Freshly ground black pepper
cups mixed baby greens
10
cup sunflower seeds
¼ cup

Make the dressing by whisking together the vinegar, orange juice, and garlic in a small pan. Simmer until slightly thickened and reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Allow to cool, then whisk in the mustard.

Using 1 Tbs. of oil for each batch, sauté the mushrooms in two batches in a large skillet over medium-high heat until well browned, 5-7 minutes. Add the scallions during the last minute or two. Allow to cool to warm or room temperature and season with up to ¼ tsp. of salt and plenty of pepper.

Toss the greens with the dressing and arrange on a platter. Top with the mushrooms and sunflower seeds. Serves 4.

PER SERVING (3 ½ cups)

  • Calories: 380
  • Total Fat: 21 g
  • Sat Fat: 3.5 g
  • Protein: 36 g
  • Sodium: 420 mg
  • Cholesterol: 110 mg
  • Carbohydrates: 11 g
  • Fiber: 4 g

Spicy Black Bean Salad

It’s fabulous solo, but also makes a great side dish for grilled chicken, salmon, or shrimp.

jalapeño pepper, seeds removed
1
cilantro
1 cup
orange juice
¼ cup
lime juice
1 Tbs.
low-fat sour cream
¼ cup.
15 oz. can no-salt-added black beans, drained and rinsed
1
red onion, diced
¼
yellow pepper, diced
1
avocados, diced
cherry tomatoes, diced
1 cup
kosher salt
½ tsp.

Make the dressing: In a food processor, combine the jalapeño, cilantro, orange and lime juices, and sour cream. In a large bowl, toss the dressing with the beans, onion, pepper, avocado, and tomato. Season with up to ½ tsp. salt. Serves 4.

PER SERVING (2 cups)

  • Calories: 250
  • Total Fat: 12 g
  • Sat Fat: 2 g
  • Protein: 9 g
  • Sodium: 280 mg
  • Cholesterol: 5 mg
  • Carbohydrates: 30 g
  • Fiber: 12 g

CSPI TV

Watch Kate prepare healthy and delicious dishes at youtube.com/cspitv or nutritionaction.org/healthycook.

Download This Article

This article is reprinted from the June issue of Nutrition Action Healthletter. To view the full content click below.

Download Now

Request permission to reuse content

The use of information from this site for commercial purposes is strictly prohibited without written permission from CSPI.

Guidestar