Tuesday, April 16, 2019

15 Easy Vegan Salad Dressings

     I love my salads, especially in the warmer months of the year. While we're not quite there yet, it is starting to warm up enough that I've been craving more and more greens and raw veggies. But I feel that salad dressings are one of the main attractions of a salad, and a great way to hide a little extra nutrition for your family. So I figured that I'd share some of my favorite salad dressings with you guys.

1. One of the basics, Italian salad dressing is packed full of healthy herbs, oils, and amazing flavor. This is a good staple to keep in your fridge for just about anything. I use this to make my favorite pasta salad, but it's also great to use as a marinade, or to drizzle over freshly steamed (or grilled) veggies. Also, if you use all lemon juice instead of the vinegar, and add in a tsp or 2 of miso, you get a pretty good Greek style dressing.


(with an option to make it “creamy”)

¾ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
2 tbsp Lemon Juice (about 1 lemon)
2 Garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp fresh Parsley, chopped
1 tsp fresh Basil, chopped
½ tsp dried Oregano
a Pinch each of dried Thyme and Rosemary
Salt and Pepper to taste
*Optional- ¼ package of Silken Tofu

Combine all ingredients, except the oil, in a food processor and process for a few minutes. Keep processing while you slowly drizzle in the oil (this should take about 5 minutes). Process for a few more minutes afterward. This may eventually separate, so shake before serving if you need to. *Optional- to make this a Creamy dressing, add in ¼ package of Silken Tofu to the food processor and process until the desired consistency is reached.

2. Who doesn't love ranch? It's the perfect condiment for almost every situation. It works great as a dip for your raw or cooked veggies (especially if you like buffalo cauliflower as much as I do), it's great to spread on your sandwiches, and it's just perfect as a salad dressing on those warm days.


1 container of Silken Tofu
1 Garlic clove
¼ cup fresh Parsley, chopped
3 tbsp fresh Dill, chopped
1 tbsp fresh Chives, chopped
¼ tsp Lemon Juice
Salt and Pepper to taste
*optional Soy Milk

Remove the tofu from the package and allow to drain while you are preparing the other ingredients. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until well blended and smooth. If you want to thin it out a bit, add in some Soy Milk until it reaches your desired consistency.

3. I have always loved Vidalia onions. They're the sweetest onions, and I grew up eating them with almost every meal. But one of my favorite ways to use them is in this salad dressing. The traditional version of this dressing is super loaded down with sugar, so I tweaked it a bit to make it a little healthier. However, this one may not turn out as brightly white as it's original inspiration. Bonus! This dressing also makes a great marinade and goes equally well over warm veggies!

Sweet Onion & Poppy Seed

1 cup Grape Seed Oil
1 medium Vidalia Onion (or other sweet onion), chopped or grated
1 clove Garlic, minced
¼ cup Cane Sugar
¼ cup Agave Nectar
1/3 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
¾ tsp Mustard Seeds (I use whole mustard, if you use ground only use about ½ tsp)
¾ tsp Sea Salt
½ tsp Turmeric Powder
½ tsp Black Pepper, freshly ground
1 tbsp Poppy Seeds

Add all your ingredients, except the poppy seeds and the oil, to a food processor and process until everything is smooth. Slowly drizzle in the oil while continuing to process, this should take about 5 minutes. Add in your poppy seeds and give it a bit of a blend until the poppy seeds are evenly distributed.

4. This dressing didn't really hit my radar until a few years ago. But ever since I first tried it, I'm obsessed! It's another great dressing to use as a veggie dip, and you can eat it on just about anything (trust me, I do). But one of my favorite ways to use this is over falafel.

Green Goddess

1/3 cup Tahini
½ of a ripe Avocado (or more if needed)
2 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
2 tbsp Lemon Juice (about 1 lemon)
1/3 cup Coconut Milk (or try Cashew or Hemp Milk)
¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Avocado Oil
1 tbsp Sesame Oil
2 tbsp Water (or more if needed)
2 Garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp fresh Parsley, chopped
½ cup Green Onion, chopped
½ cup Sweet Onion, chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients, except the Oils, in a food processor. Pulse for a few minutes to thin everything out. Keep the processor running and slowly add in the oils (this should take about 5 minutes). Process a little bit longer to thoroughly mix all the ingredients. If it's too thick, add in more water or oil. If too thin, add in more avocado.

5. My dad is a one dish kind of guy. Just about everywhere we go to eat he always gets the same thing, Chicken Caesar Salad. Needless to say, I was raised on the stuff. But as I grew older, I started disliking some of the flavors, such as anchovies. Eeew! But I still wanted my Caesar salads. So what to do? I figured out how to make this delicious dressing without anchovies or any kind of dairy.


2 Garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp Miso Paste (red has the strongest flavor, but you can use any color)
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
2 tbsp Lemon Juice (about 1 lemon)
2 tbsp Water (or more if needed)
¼ cup Silken Tofu, pureed
½ cup Grape Seed Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients, except oil, in a food processor and process until smooth. Slowly drizzle the oil into the mixture and continue to process (this should take about 5 minutes). Continue to process for about 2-5 more minutes to ensure it's all mixed together.

6. I love Southwestern flavors. Avocado, Salsa, Roasted Corn, Lime, Cilantro, yum! So I created this dressing to go on my favorite Southwestern salads. However, it's also a great dip for parties (just make it a bit thicker by adding more avocado), or a great sauce to put on your favorite Tacos.

Avocado Cilantro Lime

1 ripe Avocado
2 Limes, Juice and Zest
¾ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Garlic Clove, minced
¾ cup fresh Cilantro, chopped
 Salt and Pepper to taste
*Optional- 1-2 fresh Jalapenos, seeded and diced

Combine all ingredients in a food processor, except the oil. Process until everything is blended, then slowly drizzle in the oil. Keep blending for an additional 3-5 minutes to well incorporate. *To give it a bit of a kick, add in some hot peppers!

7. I'm a huge fan of vinaigrette dressings, and playing around with those can be fun and delicious. One variation that I just adore is this Citrus blend that I have been making since my teens. Feel free to spice it up with a bit of mustard, garlic, Italian seasonings, etc. It's just a great basic that tastes so much more than a basic dressing should.

Balsamic Citrus Vinaigrette

2 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
2 tbsp Orange Juice
1 tbsp Grapefruit Juice
1 tbsp Lemon Juice
¾ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tbsp Agave
Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a food processor, except the oil. Process until everything is blended, then slowly drizzle in the oil. Keep blending for an additional 3-5 minutes to well incorporate.

8. I grew up using Raspberry Vinaigrette dressings on just about everything. When my taste buds developed further, I realized that any berry works on a salad and that basil goes really well with just about every fruit. So of course I had to try a mixed berry basil dressing! This recipe can be used with any berries, or really any fruit. Try sticking to blueberries for an antioxidant rich treat. Try using peaches for a summer flare....maybe even switching out the basil and using a tsp or 2 of lavender flowers to make it really summery. Any way you play with this recipe, you'll enjoy it!

Berry Basil Vinaigrette

½ cup Mixed Berries, frozen
2 tbsp Lime Juice
4 tbsp Champagne Vinegar
4 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 tbsp Coconut Oil
2-3 tbsp Agave
¼ cup fresh Basil, chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.

9. Honey mustard has always been an easy, go to for a dipping sauce. So here's a version that uses Agave in place of honey, and is made a bit on the thicker, creamer side with a little Silken Tofu. If you want this to be a bit thinner, just add in a bit more of the oil.

“Creamy” Agave Mustard

¼ cup Sunflower Oil
3 tbsp Agave
3 tbsp Dijon Mustard
1 tbsp Lemon Juice
¼ package of Silken Tofu
1 tsp Nutritional Yeast

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy.

10. This dressing is super fun over a fruit salad. But it also makes a great party dip for a fruit and veggie tray, or sauce for just about any tropical dish. The original recipe I created uses the chia seeds as a thickening agent, ground up. However, if you want to have some real fun, make this dressing ahead of time and don't grind up the chia seeds, use them whole. They'll reconstitute in the liquid and create a fun texture to amuse your friends and family with. Enjoy!

Tropical Chia

1 cup Coconut Milk
2 tbsp Lime Juice
¼ cup Pineapple Juice
¼ fresh Mango, cubed
2 tbsp Agave
1 tsp fresh Ginger, minced
Salt to taste
1-2 tsp Chia Seeds
*optional a pinch of Cayenne for a bit of heat

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. If you want the chia seeds to remain whole, reserve them until after the dressing is blended, then add them and mix them together with a spoon. I usually blend my chia seeds in as a thickening agent, but occasionally it's fun to have the seeds floating in the dressing. Also, cayenne adds a pleasant touch of heat if you are looking for something a bit spicy.

11. Asian dressings can be so fun. They can give any salad an instant, exotic flare. This one is also my favorite dressing to use for making refrigerator pickles. Just slice up some cucumbers, toss them in a jar and cover them with this dressing. In a few hours you have Asian pickles. Yum!

Asian Sesame Vinaigrette

3 tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
1 tbsp Agave
1 tbsp fresh Ginger, grated
½ tsp fresh Garlic, minced
2 tbsp Sesame Oil
½ cup Grapeseed Oil
1 tbsp Scallion, diced
1 tbsp Sesame Seeds
Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine first 5 ingredients in a food processor and blend until well mixed. Slowly drizzle in the oils, while still blending (should take you about 5 min). Allow to blend for an additional 3-5 minutes after all the oils are incorporated. Add in remaining ingredients and give it a good stir.

12. I love the combination of sweet and spicy, this dressing is all that and more. It's great to put on just about everything too, from tacos, to sandwiches, to just about every kind of salad. It also makes a great dip.

Maple Chipotle Southwest Dressing

½ cup Chickpeas, either cooked or caned and drained
2 tbsp Lime Juice
½-1 tbsp Tahini
1 clove Garlic, minced
3-4 tbsp Maple Syrup
2 tsp Dijon Mustard
2 tsp Chipotle Seasoning (or more if you want)
¼ cup Vegetable Broth
Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. If you want the dressing a bit thicker, cut the veggie broth in half or add more tahini. You can also add ½ an avocado to make it thicker, more like a dip. If you want it sweeter, just add more maple.

13. Ancho chiles have such an amazing flavor. I just couldn't resist spicing up a simple vinaigrette with some. This dressing will take you summer salad to the next level, and it makes a great marinade or sauce as well. Make it creamy by adding a bit of silken tofu.

Ancho Chile Vinaigrette

1 tbsp Dijon Mustard
1 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1 clove Garlic, minced
2 tsp Ancho Chile powder
1 tsp Cumin
1 tsp dried Cilantro
2 tsp Lime Juice
1/3 cup Avocado Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste


Combine all ingredients, except oil, in a food processor and blend until incorporated. Slowly drizzle oil into dressing (this should take about 3-5 min). Continue to blend an additional 3-5 minutes.

14. I love garlic, in just about every way you can eat it. But one of my favorite ways to eat it is roasted. Roasting garlic takes it from being a strong, pungent, somewhat spicy flavor, and turns it into a mild and sweet flavor. Add a bit of lemon to it and you have a delightful combination. So of course, I had to make a salad dressing with this in mind! It also works as a great marinade, or sauce to go over just about anything.

Roasted Garlic & Lemon

2 Heads fresh Garlic (yes, I said Heads)
2 tsp Olive Oil
¼ cup Raw Cashews, soaked for 3-8 hours
1 Lemon, Juice and Zest
2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp Agave
1 cup Vegetable Broth
Salt and Pepper to taste

For the Roasted Garlic:
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Cut off the tips of the heads of garlic, exposing the ends of the cloves. Drizzle the ends with olive oil, sprinkle them with salt and pepper, and wrap them in foil. Place the heads of garlic on a cookie sheet and place into the oven for 30-45 minutes, or until tender. Place aside to cool. Some of the cloves may be so tender that you can just squeeze them out of the paper, but others you may have to peel.

For the Dressing:
Combine all ingredients (including your freshly roasted garlic, and your drained cashews) in a food processor. Blend until it reaches your preferred consistency.

15. Another onion dressing? Heck Yeah! This one has a great fresh flavor because of the dill that's added in. It's not only a great salad dressing, but if you thicken it up with a tsp or 2 of tapioca starch or ground chia seed, you can also get a great dip for just about every occasion!

Sweet Onion & Dill

1 cup Vidalia Onion, chopped
½ cup Sunflower Oil
¼ cup Apple Cider Vinegar
3 tbsp Agave
1 tsp Nutritional Yeast
¼ cup fresh Dill, chopped fine
1 clove Garlic, minced
Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.

     In any of these recipes, feel free to play with the ingredients. Switch up the vinegar, change up the spices, make these recipes your own.  Have fun, play around, and let me know what you think below!

Monday, April 8, 2019

Violet, for health and heart

     My husband and I enjoy a good hike, especially this time of year, before the heat of the summer. One of our favorite things to do is to watch all the wildflowers grow and bloom. While Florida's main wildflower season is usually in the fall, the spring also brings a bunch of beautiful blossoms. One, in particular, always stands out to me (possibly because my favorite color is purple) and that's the Violet.

     There are over 550 species of Violet world-wide, and we have about 10 here in Florida. All of them have similar medicinal and edible qualities, so they're all pretty much interchangeable. The most common one you'll find in North America, and especially here in the South East region of the US, is the Common Violet, or Viola sororia. This little flower is a light blueish purple color with heart shaped leaves. However the super fascinating bit about this plant is the other flowers that develop below ground. These subterranean blooms are the part of the plant that actually produce the seeds and only emerge from the ground when they're ready to spread those seeds. Some people refer to these flowers as “Plan B” flowers, which fairly accurate. If you were a plant who's leaves and flowers were so pretty that every little girl wants to pick them all, or so tasty that every passing animal wants to eat them all, wouldn't you want a different method of propagation for yourself? A “Plan B” so to speak?

Here are some examples of what different Violets may look like.

Special Announcement Time!!!:

     I have finally done it! I've made a video! And guess what... it's on VIOLETS! Check it out here and please follow, subscribe, like, and comment on it! Also, keep in mind it's my very first video. I am well aware that the editing is a bit rough. Practice makes perfect, so the more videos I make, the better they'll be, and I plan on making many more of these videos.

Now back to the lovely Violet 

Medicinal Uses:

Scientific Name- Viola spp. Most commonly used are Viola ororata, Viola sororia, Viola tricolor, and Viola yezoensis

Common Names- Ordinary violet, Common blue violet, Sweet violet, Garden violet, Common violet, Chinese violet, and other common names throughout the world.

Parts Used- All parts of this herb are used in various ways, however the most commonly used parts are the flowers and leaves. The roots tend to cause nausea and vomiting, so they are used in selective preparations.

Parts Eaten- Eat the aerial parts of the plant, the flowers and leaves, raw or cooked. The roots of most species can cause nausea and vomiting so it's best to avoid those. Violet is often used used to decorate cakes, salads, poultry, and fish. Candied violets are preserved with a coating of egg white and crystallized sugar.

Summary of Actions- Antioxidant, Anthocyanin, Uterotonic, Anticancer, Cathartic, Emollient, Laxative, Nervine, Antitussive, Antiscrofulous, Anodyne,  Depurative,  Diuretic, emetic, Refrigerant

General Benefits and Energetics- Violets are cooling and moist. They nourish and uplift our bodies and our spirits. However, they're not a nervine, nor are they antidepressant. They help to calm people who tend to be slightly “hotheaded,” especially if you notice an outburst looming. Violet tends to soften and bring about more flexibility in those who tend to be rigid, especially in their reaction to stress. Due to it's nourishing nature, the best way to gain it's benefits are by eating this lovely plant. The flowers make for a beautiful addition to any salad, cookie, cake, or even frozen in ice cubes. The leaves make a great, nutrient rich, thickener for soups and sauces. Put the flowers and leaves in water and allow to sit in the sun for a while, this makes a great sipping tea. Drying the leaves and making an overnight infusion is also a great way to get all the nutrients this little plant has to offer, this is especially great when you combine Violets with Nettles.

Flower Essence- The essence of Violet helps to open people up, this is especially useful for shy people who are searching for a new job, or anyone who is looking to start a new friendship. It also helps to calm down heat centered personalities. Helping hot headed people to maintain an even keel.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)- Known as Zi Hua di Ding in Chinese Medicine, Violet/Pansy works on the Heart and Liver Meridians. It's spicy, bitter, and cold properties are used to clear heat, remove toxins, and resolve masses. It's helpful in treating boils and carbuncles. It's also used to treat snake bites and inflammation. It's used in conjunction with dandelion to eliminate toxicity and is used to help treat cold deficient conditions.

Lymphatic System and Cancer- This herb is considered a great lymphatic stimulant. It helps to move the lymph, unclog blocked lymph nodes, and over time it can also clear up some of the more stubborn problems associated with slow or static lymph. This also helps to shrink tumors and clear up certain types of cancer before they can take hold and cause health problems.

Dry Skin, Wounds, and Insect Bites- Violet's mucilage content helps to soothe sore, inflamed skin. This makes it great for eczema, psoriasis, and other skin conditions. However it also works well to speed the healing of wounds and insect bites. It's also known to help bring boils to a head and to aid in their draining, helping to speed their healing.

Circulatory System, Varicose Veins, and Hemorrhoids-  Violet is considered to be a blood cleanser and circulatory tonic, but it''s anti-inflammatory actions work especially well on varicose veins and hemorrhoids. It works really well as a poultice for this action.

Digestion- Violet is one of many plants that contain a slimy substance that we commonly refer to as Mucilage. Mucilage is a great aid to digestion as it lubricates the entire GI tract, and I do mean the ENTIRE tract. It helps soothe any irritation and helps to move your food through the digestive processes, especially in cases of constipation. It really does aid just about everything from your mouth through to your bum.

Breast Health- Violet helps to clear up growths in the lymphatic tissues that make up our breasts. It helps to reduce the size of the growths and to clear up lumps, cysts, mastitis, plugged milk ducts, and fibrocystic breasts. In this case, violet is especially potent in the form of an infused oil. Just use the oil externally, as a massage oil, and give yourself a good breast massage. The action of the massage will help move congested lymph fluids and the violet will boost this action.

Headaches- Violet is a mild analgesic, which means that it does have some pain relieving properties. However, there are much better herbal analgesics out there, so it's not the first plant I'd call on for a headache or any other pain. However, it can be super helpful, especially in cases where your headache is caused more from dehydration (as is a large percentage of headaches), just add a bit of violet to your water, or make a quick tea, and drink away the pain.

Contraindications and Warnings- Consuming the root of a violet may cause nausea and vomiting.

     I only included a basic introduction to this amazing and beautiful little herb.  If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.


7 Flowers Used in Chinese Medicine: Mercola: https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/08/31/7-flowers-chinese-medicine.aspx

Medicinal and Culinary Uses of Shy Violet: Heirloom Gardener: https://www.heirloomgardener.com/plant-profiles/medicinal-and-culinary-uses-for-shy-violet-zm0z19szhoe?utm_sq=g1ercttptv

Sweet Violet: Web MD: https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-212/sweet-violet

The Virtues of Violets: The Herbal Academy: https://theherbalacademy.com/health-benefits-of-violets/

Violet: Alternative Nature Online Herbal: https://learnaboutherbs.com/gallery/violet.htm

Violet: Annie's Remedy: https://www.anniesremedy.com/viola-spp-violet-leaf.php

Violet: Susan Weed: http://www.susunweed.com/An_Article_wisewoman3e.htm

Violet Herb: Herbs with Rosalee: https://www.herbalremediesadvice.org/violet-herb.html

Violet (Wild Pansy): Ageless: https://ageless.co.za/herb-violet.htm

Violet (Pansy): White Rabbit Institute of Healing: https://www.whiterabbitinstituteofhealing.com/herbs/violet-pansy/

Violet's Edible and Medicinal Uses: Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine: https://chestnutherbs.com/violets-edible-and-medicinal-uses/

Violet, Sweet: A Modern Herbal: https://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/v/vioswe12.html

Zi Hua Di Ding (Viola or Yedeon's Violet): Sacred Lotus Chinese Medicine: https://www.sacredlotus.com/go/chinese-herbs/substance/zi-hua-di-ding-viola-yedeons-violet


Greetings from the Bat Lady!

     Welcome to Bat Lady Herbals.  I have been fascinated by herbs and various herbal uses for quite a few years now.  Plants are amazing t...