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Creamy Greek Salad Dressing (dairy-free)

I love Greek salads, the salt from the creamy Feta cheese and the Kalamata olives, balanced by the pungent aroma of oregano.  Yum.

My all time favorite Greek salad is the one offered at Pappadeaux, have you ever had their Greek Salad, the one with the shrimp?  My oldest son Sam and I would always fight over the two shrimp that came with our salad, and while I should probably tell you that I always allowed him to have both of them (“good” mothers would do that, right?), I did not…in fact I would try to steal his, LOL!!  :-D

Even though we no longer consume dairy products, I have found that quite a few recipes stand very well on their own without cheese, like my dairy-free basil pesto (still trying to make a good cheese-less pizza though…I can’t seem to figure out how to make the toppings stick to the crust without some type of cheese “glue”).

The following recipe is my adaptation of a recipe I discovered on Allrecipes.com called Absolutely Fabulous Greek/House Dressing, how can you not try something with ‘absolutely fabulous’ in the title?  The recipe also got 908 great reviews (make that 909 with my seal of approval), so you know it’s good stuff!

The “creaminess” in my adaptation comes from the addition a few Macadamia Nuts (they’ve become my DFBFF over the past few months).  The dressing is great without the addition of the nuts, so if you are allergic or don’t have any on hand (or if you do not have a high powered blender like a Vitamix), I would still recommend still trying this recipe, it will just be a thinner consistency.

Creamy Greek Salad Dressing (dairy-free, egg-free and soy-free with a corn-free recommendation)

printable recipe

1/2 cup plus 2 tsp. Red Wine Vinegar (if you’re feeling adventurous, try making your own red wine vinegar!)

1/3 cup plus 1 Tbs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 tsp. Garlic Powder

1 tsp. dried Oregano

1 tsp. dried Basil

3/4 tsp. Onion Powder

3/4 tsp. Sea Salt

3/4 tsp. Black Pepper

3/4 tsp. Dijon Mustard (for corn-free: try this recipe for Homemade Dijon Mustard, sans the Tobasco Sauce)

5 Macadamia Nuts* (see notes)

  • Add all of the ingredients to the wet blade container of a Vitamix (or other high-powered blender) and blend until smooth and creamy.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container (I use a mason jar) for up to a week.

Notes:

  1. You can certainly add more macadamia nuts if you like your dressing creamier, but add the additional nuts slowly so you don’t overdo it and make Greek Pudding instead of Greek Dressing. ;-)
  2. You can also substitute cashews for the macadamia nuts (they’re much less expensive).

Oregano has some amazing health benefits, which I only recently discovered after my 3 year old was found to have a significant yeast overgrowth last February.  Not only is oregano an excellent source of vitamin K but it’s also a good source of iron, manganese, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin C, omega-3 fatty acids and dietary fiber.

In addition, the volatile oil of oregano contains thymol and carvacrol, which are two powerful antimicrobial agents.  A clinical study in Mexico compared oregano to tinidazole, a commonly used prescription drug used to treat Giardia lamblia.  These researchers found oregano to be more effective against Giardia than the commonly used prescription drug (click here to read more).

Thymol and carvacol have also been shown to inhibit the growth of bacteria, including Pseudomonas and Staphylococcus aureus, two bacteria that are often the cause of impetigo (click here to read the study).

Oregano also has tremendous antioxidant activity.  In one analysis conducted by the USDA, oregano scored highest in antioxidant activity of any herb or food tested, ranking even higher in antioxidant activity than fruits and vegetables known to be high in antioxidants.  Oregano had 42 times as much antioxidant activity as apples, 30 times as much as potatoes, 12 times as much as oranges and 4 times as much as blueberries.  The active component was rosmarinic acid, which is also found in rosemary as well as other herbs in the mint family (“Antioxidant Activity and Phenolic Compounds in Selected Herbs.” J. Agric. Food Chem., 2001, 49 (11), 5165-5170).

Pretty impressive for a tiny little leaf, huh?

On another note, my cyber friend Al Klapperich shared an excellent article he wrote on Dr. Rodney Ford’s Gluten Free Planet Facebook Page last week.

The article is titled Cross Contamination in the Home – Living in a Mixed House and I highly encourage you to read it and also share with your loved ones (I also put a permanent link to this article in my sidebar under “recommended reading” for easy future reference).

Lastly, I will not be doing a menu plan this week.  Time just slipped away from me with all the Father’s Day activities and I am also working on a presentation on celiac disease that I will be giving this Tuesday for my sister’s college level nutrition class.

Did I tell you that I have a major fear of public speaking? :shock:

No kidding, when I took a speech class back in college, I took donuts for the entire class each and every time I had to speak…just to take the focus off of me, LOL!

I better go pull out my “semi-retired” gluten free flours and get to baking…

What should I make? (can you tell I haven’t really baked in nearly 6 months??). :-D

 

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Comments

  1. Heidi, I love Greek salad and Greek salad dressing although I've never had the one with the shrimp. Only two shrimp? I'd be reluctant to win the mommy award and give those up, too. I love shrimp! I made an impromptu salad of shrimp with cucumber, raw squash, red onion, and avocado with a light balsamic/EVOO dressing last night. It was terrific, but it would have been better with this dressing! I think you need to buy some stock in macadamia nuts, girlie. You'll have us all stocking up on them all the time. ;-)

    I know you are going to do a fantastic job on your presentation. When you speak on topics you are passionate about, the fear and anxiety slip away. That was my trick for getting through speech in college–a class I put off until my final year. I kept hoping the tough old guy teaching it would retire … no such luck. But as long as I spoke on a topic I knew and cared about, I did just fine. And you will, too!!

    Thanks for all the info and links, too. Will check them out for sure.

    xoxo,

    Shirley

    • Shirley,

      You always have a special way of making me feel not so guilty, LOL! I am a bonafide shrimp stealer and Pappadeaux is entirely to skimpy on the shrimp! :-)

      Pappadeaux was one of the restaurants on my FOUR "farewell" restaurant tours (lol)…I loved their seafood gumbo (just wish it weren't thickened with a wheat flour based roux) and I've been trying to recreate it ever since. Unfortunately, I can't seem to find a GF flour that will darken appropriately for the soup base…have you had any luck in this department (I know you are a seafood aficionado!)?

      Thank you on the confidence booster for tomorrow's talk, I'm a nervous wreck! Thankfully, Mike is coming with me so I will have someone I know to focus on…wish you could be there too!

      xoxo,

      Heidi

  2. Susan says:

    Heidi, how did you use oregano to help your son's yeast overgrowth? I've been fighting a systemic yeast problem for a while. Each time I get it under control my Crohn's acts up and I'm back on the anti-inflamatiory meds and it starts again. I hadn't heard of oregano being used for this.

    Girl, you are going to do awesome giving your speech! You have so much information and knowledge to share. My chiropractor emailed me the other day because he had a patient just diagnosed with Celiac's disease and they were confused and upset. He wanted to know what website, blogs and any other info I could give him to help them. Your blog was the first on the list. I have learned so much from you!

    I'll be sending good vibes your way on Tuesday, you'll do great!

    • Susan,

      I gave Luke an oregano supplement for several weeks (http://www.amazon.com/N-American-Herb-Spice-Oreganol-Oregano/dp/B0002BB68W). That supplement is a liquid and I would place one drop in a glass of water for him (he's only 3).

      If you are the one taking the supplement though, I would recommend using the pill version: http://www.amazon.com/SuperStrength-Oreganol-P73-… (the liquid is supposed to be used as a sublingual (placing a drop underneath your tongue…and that burns!).

      You can read more about this on The Candida Diet website: http://www.thecandidadiet.com/oreganooil.htm

      Thank you for the kind words and vote of confidence, I really appreciate it!! And I also thank you for sharing my blog…my heart absolutely goes out to those who find themselves in a similar (scary, lonely, denial, etc.) boat as I did, which is why I try to share my complete story. Yes, I am enthusiastic about my gluten free life and diet now…but 6 years ago, that couldn't have been further from the truth. It's a journey and sometimes, we just need someone to grab our hand and say, "everything is going to be okay." :-)

      Hugs,

      Heidi

      • Susan says:

        Heidi, I looked online at the oreganol but decided to shop at the health store after a dr. appt. today and found it. I really hate waiting! LOL! I got the liquid supplement because my yeast problem is on my skin. I have frequent outbreaks of thrush because of the crohn's meds and I unknowingly transfer thrush to my face and now I can't get rid of it. My chiropractor has supplements that have really helped with the thrush but the stuff on my face is in the pores and never completely clears. I'm going to use this topically and see what happens. Thanks so much!

        Oh, and how did today go? I'm sure you were awesome!

  3. CassidyS says:

    This recipe looks great! I love greek salad but I've never attempted to make it dairy free – thanks for the recipe.

    I had no idea oregano had so many health benefits!

  4. Greek salad dressing — just what I've been looking for! I just printed it out to make today since I'm determined to eat more salads this week. (Somehow I've gotten away from my daily salad lately & I'm really missing it.) I had no idea oregano hadding so many things hiding in it!

    You have so much to offer, that class will just love what you have to say tomorrow!

  5. Maggie says:

    Mmm, this is awesome. I love that you're dairy-free :) I've yet to dive into the macademia world, however I just put them on my grocery list so I will be trying them soon a la this dressing. xo

  6. Maggie says:

    PS I hope you're making them cinnamon rolls :)

  7. Tom says:

    My girlfriend loves greek salads. I can’t wait to make this version for her.

  8. Mmmmmmmmmm. I love Greek salad. I have a friend who is Greek who just uses olive oil and a dash of salt on her salads. That's what I do. But his dressing sounds great. I just need the high powered blender. My wimpy one won't be liquefying nuts anytime soon. Or ever. :(

    I hope the talk goes well tonight. I know you will do great. Like Shirley said, it's a topic you are passionate about, so once you get rolling, you will be fine. Just look at Mike and talk to him.

    xo – Tia

  9. Maggie says:

    Deeelish! Halved this recipe and enjoyed it thoroughly. I also used fresh herbs since it's SUMMER! Thanks for a great recipe Heidi girl. xo

  10. Jamie says:

    Hi –

    I just stumbled upon your blog and i LOVE it. I just wanted to let you know that there is cheese made from almonds as well as Pea Protein. I bought it at Whole Foods. Sliced Cheddar, American and also shredded cheeses. They are pretty tasty too! As a fellow gluten free, dairy free, casein free, egg free eater as well – I can finally have pizza again! I put mine on polenta with pizza sauce or a brown rice base! Yummm!

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