Do you have a bottle of salad dressing you just love? One of those dressings that pack a real good flavor punch. The type of dressing you reach for to amp up the taste of an otherwise boring salad. For our founder, Nina, that bottle of salad dressing used to be a certain brand of raspberry vinaigrette. Ask That Salad Lady and she’ll tell you it was her go-to dressing for just about every salad bowl recipe.
But after getting into the habit of making her own dressings, she decided to give up that bottle and create a more “nutrition-forward” version of the vinaigrette blend.
While the bottled raspberry vinaigrette dressing she once loved was light-bodied and fat-free (which, more often than not, equates to more sugar), That Salad Lady put lots of taste, texture and nutrition into hers by adding richly flavored natural sweeteners and quality fats for a more full-bodied dressing that can stand up to even the heartiest of salads. We’re bringing you all the deliciousness, in what’s now our “Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette” dressing.
The perfect blend for the spring and summer months, this one’s naturally vegan, gluten-free and ready for your salad in 10 minutes. You won’t believe how fresh, fruity and delightfully rich and creamy it is.
THE BALANCING ACT
While raspberries deliver delicate sweet and tart flavors, they are slightly bitter in taste. For more pleasant sweetness and a double dose of raspberry flavor, we include naturally sweetened raspberry preserves in our recipe. This full-flavored sweetness can really help balance out the bitterness of vegetable salads making it a great choice for veggie skeptics. The kiddos will love it too!
Just a little drizzle of this dressing can bring a whole lot of nutrition to your salad bowl. Besides the raspberries, which are packed with disease-fighting fiber and a cocktail of powerful antioxidants, the addition of walnuts and extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) as a base creates a smooth, almost buttery blend that’s not only flavorful but even more “functional” (study up in our “Nutrition Glossary” to learn about functional foods).
Both walnuts and EVOO are rich in good fats. The presence of these fats makes our Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette a “full-fat” dressing. Using full-fat dressing will help your body make the most of the health-promoting nutrients housed in the raspberries and other salad ingredients. Enhanced with the vibrant grape flavor and tangy goodness of red wine vinegar, our dressing can appease just about all of your taste buds.
Let’s talk more about what’s in our Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette dressing recipe and why.
Fresh Raspberry Deliciousness
As the berry that gives our dressing recipe its name, raspberries are deliciously bittersweet and just plain ole’ good for you. Like other berries, they’re naturally high in antioxidants including vitamin C and flavonoids, which are well known for their protective effects against common chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes and various cancers.
When choosing fresh raspberries, go for those that are brightly colored, plump, firm and fully ripe. If you have frozen raspberries, you can use them in place of fresh so long as they’re unsweetened.
As we’ve already mentioned our recipe also calls for adding raspberry preserves. Preserves will cut some of the tartness in raspberries giving you a subtly sweet blend. We suggest using raspberry preserves naturally sweetened with fruit juice (grape or apple juice concentrates). Other berry-based preservatives work too. You can also use pure honey if that’s all you have.
Whether you use honey or preserves, just be sure to check your food label to make sure no additional sugars or artificial ingredients are present.
The Rich Goodness of Fats
One of That Salad Lady‘s “Five Bowl Basics,” fats are must-have ingredients in all our salad bowls. Our dressing recipe calls for two fat sources: walnuts and EVOO. As a base, EVOO delivers sweet and savory flavors that both elevate and balance out the overall taste profile of the dressing blend. In and of itself, EVOO is naturally rich in disease-fighting antioxidants and heart health-promoting monounsaturated fats.
Then there are the walnuts which, unlike other types of nuts, contain both monounsaturated and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. Omega-3s themselves support heart health, brain function and metabolism. Walnuts are also a valuable source of muscle and bone-building protein. While you won’t get a huge dose from the amount in our recipe, in combination with the fat, this small bit of protein helps slow down the absorption of the sugar in the blend.
We recommend cooking or, more specifically, “toasting” the walnuts prior to mixing the dressing (see recipe card). If you are allergic to nuts, the recipe is just as tasty without walnuts so definitely give it a shot. You’ll still get a good dose of fat from the EVOO.
Fruity, Tangy Red Wine Vinegar
Our recipe specifically calls for red wine vinegar. While you can also use white wine or even balsamic vinegars, red wine vinegar gives the blend a fruitier flavor, as it’s made from red wine grapes. As with other high-quality vinegars, red wine vinegar adds a tasty twang and it’s also a “functional food” with powerful antibacterial, antioxidant and anticancer effects. For similar fruity flavor and functional benefits, you can also use sherry vinegar if you have it.
Cooking is only required for the walnuts. To toast them, just heat up the oven to 350 degrees F and bake them for 5-10 minutes. That’s it! Doesn’t get any simpler than this.
Once you’ve toasted your walnuts and gathered all the other ingredients for the dressing the hard work is practically done. At this point, you’ll simply blend or mix the ingredients to your desired consistency.
Start by adding everything to your blender or food processor. With variable speed units, start with a low speed and then gradually increase it to a higher speed until the mixture is perfectly smooth. That’s it!
The Versatility of Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette
Our Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette dressing recipe makes about 6-8 delicious servings (2-3 tablespoons per serving). In addition to elevating the taste and nutritional profile of practically any salad bowl, it also makes a great marinade. It’s especially great for chicken, pork and shrimp. To really experience the flavor of this delicious blend, try it on That Salad Lady’s “Salmon Spinach Salad with Goat Cheese Croquettes.”
We recommend transferring any leftover dressing to an airtight sealed container and then storing it in the fridge. It’ll last for up to 10 days.
That Salad Lady wants to see all your great work. If you enjoy our sweet balsamic vinaigrette dressing, which we are sure you will, drop a comment below and tag pics on Instagram with @thatsaladlady, #thatsaladlady and #buildyourbowl. If you love it, pin it on Pinterest and share it on Facebook and Twitter using #thatsaladlady.
Simply Sweet Balsamic Vinaigrette DressingCourse: DressingCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy
Fresh, fruity and delightfully creamy, our raspberry walnut vinaigrette dressing is naturally vegan, gluten-free and ready for your salad in 10 minutes.
1/2 cup fresh or frozen raspberries*
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup raw walnut halves or pieces, toasted**
1/4 white red wine or sherry vinegar***
1 tablespoon raspberry preserves****
Salt, to taste
- Measure all the ingredients and add everything to your blender or food processor.
- With variable speed units, start with a low speed and then gradually increase it to a higher speed until the mixture is perfectly smooth.
- Use the dressing on a salad or as a marinade for other dishes. Transfer any leftover dressing to an airtight sealed container and store it in the fridge for up to 10 days.
- *When choosing fresh raspberries, go for those that are brightly colored, plump, firm and fully ripe. If you have frozen raspberries, you can use them in place of fresh so long as they’re unsweetened.
- **Toast walnuts by simply baking them on a cookie sheet at 350 degrees F for 5-10 minutes or until they’re golden brown. Check the walnuts frequently as they burn easily and quickly. If you are allergic to nuts, the recipe is just as tasty without walnuts so still give it a shot.
- ***Red wine vinegar gives the blend a fruitier flavor, as it’s made from red wine grapes. For similar fruity flavor, you can also use sherry vinegar if you have it. While not as sweet, white wine and balsamic vinegars work too.
- ****We suggest using raspberry preserves naturally sweetened with fruit juice (grape or apple juice concentrates). Other berry-based preservatives work too. You can also use pure honey if that’s all you have.
This information is provided as a courtesy and is only an estimate. Please review our full disclaimer to get a clear understanding of the nutrition and health information and resources presented and written on our website.