A healthy vinaigrette has a good amount of vegetable or nut oils in it. We use the 3 to 1 proportion chez nous (our house), mixing 3 portions of oil to 1 portion of vinegar. A link to an article published here explains this “French mother sauce” vinaigrette recipe in better detail. But here is the step that adds the extra healthy punch: mixing the type of oils in your vinaigrette. Simple and easy. If you are using olive oil as the sole oil for your vinaigrettes, why not be creative?
Vegetable and Nut Oils Contain Different Nutritional Properties
By mixing and matching and matching and mixing and experimenting with taste you will ensure your health gets the best advantages! Polyunsaturated, Monounsaturated, Saturated, Linolenic, Linoleic, Omega 6, Omega 3 fatty acids. So many different nutritional properties in these vegetable and nut fats. Are you confused like the average consumer with these terms? On what is the right combination for these fatty acids and how much? The ideal is to increase intake of monounsaturated, Omega-3 and linolenic fatty acids. But even polyunsaturated and Omega-6 fatty acids are also essential in our diet. Our bodies, being human, can not make these fatty acids on our own. We need to get it from our foods. Mixing and matching your nut and vegetable oils in your dressing is a great way to get these essential fatty acids.
So, What to Mix to Get the Best Match?
Safflower: high in polyunsaturated and linoleic acids
Canola oil: contains a good amount of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids
Soybean oil: has both Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids
Walnut: high in polyunsaturated and linolenic fatty acids
Olive oil: high in monounsaturated fatty acids
Sunflower oil: high in Omega-6
Flaxseed oil: best source of Omega-3 fatty acids
Hard to choose how to get the best mix for overall health. Additionally, other foods in your daily diet add their own mix of different fatty acids. This is why it is a great idea to mix and experiment often on the type of oils you put into your vinaigrette. A concise article can be found here on choosing oils for dressings and cooking based on the healthiest to least healthy oils. For taste and fun, we like to “do” three different oils each mix. Usually walnut oil is one basic, as well as olive oil. The taste of canola oil is one my kids like, so we also put this in often. Try your own mixes at home. Is there any good mixes you would like to share? Perhaps you use flaxseed oil? This is considered the healthiest oil, but where we live it is hard to find. If you can get some of this liquid gold, use it on your salads. We use canola oil, but in France it is called colza, otherwise known at rapeseed oil. It is a stronger taste than “American” canola oil and we prefer using an organic brand, because we feel this oil tastes better in its organic form. (From a double-blind study using my 4 kids 🙂 ) Finally, it is a great idea to sprinkle some different types of nuts on your salads. If you like the taste, bien sur (of course)! If you are interested in learning more about the different nutritional compositions of oils, click on this link here.
Until next time, Bon Appetit! and…don’t be shy! Shout out your recipes for your favorite vinaigrette dressings in the comment section below this article.