Thursday, September 09, 2010

Healthy Creamy Feta Dressing

We've rediscovered big salads as easy, healthy dinner options. One reason we've made them so often lately is this delicious creamy dressing. It's low in fat and calories, so I'm happy to drench my salad in it. 

The base is Greek yogurt, and buttermilk thins it out and adds more tangy flavor. Of course, the major flavor you'll get is from the Feta, which also gives this lowfat concoction richness and body. Really, it's the same idea behind a basic vinaigrette: emulsify fat with an acid (usually vinegar), then add flavorings. In this case, the fat is flavor-packed cheese and the acid is yogurt/buttermilk.

You can do endless variations on this dressing. I did a version with hot sauce for a buffalo chicken salad. Any cheese you think will blend well is a candidate. You can use sweet onions, as I do here, or opt for scallions or shallots. Mustard, herbs and spices are great too. If you don't tend to have buttermilk in the house, regular milk should work fine.

Healthy Creamy Feta Dressing
Play with the quantities of ingredients to get the flavor and texture you want. The amounts below are a good starting point.

Makes enough for 2 big salads (double or triple as needed)

1/4 cup chopped sweet onion or 3 chopped scallions
1/3 cup Greek yogurt
3-4 Tbs buttermilk
2 oz Feta
Black pepper to taste

Add all ingredients to a blender and puree. Thin with additional buttermilk, or thicken with additional yogurt, as desired.

In case you were wondering what's in that huge salad in the picture:
Mixed salad greens
Grilled chicken
Yukon Gold potato, cubed and boiled until just tender
Steamed green beans
Grape tomatoes
Kalamata olives

It started out as a take-off on salad nicoise, only with chicken. Then it morphed into its own delicious thing. At the end of a long day though, one of my favorite salads (also the easiest, no-cook meal) consists of: salad greens, cannellini beans, crumbled Feta, oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, Kalamata olives and tuna from those tetra pak pouches; plus any chopped fresh veggies I have to throw in. That with olive oil and lots of balsamic vinegar never fails to satisfy. Now tell me, what is your favorite salad?


Tv Food and Drink said...

Fantastic! I can't wait to try both the dressing and that delicious salad. Thanks! - Gary

Anonymous said...

This looks really good. I'm always looking for a tasty and healthy salad dressing. And, my family loves feta. We'll be trying it tonight.

NadineGM said...

I love salad nicoise, too. I had several really good versions awhile ago when vacationing on St. Martin. They all make a really nice salad with a mustardy vinaigrette. (It made me realize how much I do not like cloyingly sweet honey mustard dressings.)

patti said...

i was standing around in my kitchen with feta, yoghurt and sun dried tomatoes....i googled those and found your blog.
i've made your dressing; added sun dried tomatoes, freshly-picked basil, parsley, oregano, mint, sage, thyme....then thinned it all with red wine vinegar and some olive oil.
it's delicious! and it's going on roasted quartered baby beets and green beans tonight.

Welcome! said...

Patti: I'm glad this recipe came to your aid! The red wine vinegar is a great addition. I sometimes keep it thick and add sundried tomatoes and black olives and use it as a spread for pita.