Hey, What’s Cookin’?
Tired of the same old basic oil and vinegar dressing? If you think you’ve had to give up creamy dressings on your salads for good, I have a great recipe that you’re going to want to check out—Creamy Buttermilk Herb Dressing! But, but…buttermilk? You betcha!
At m.e.l.t. we don’t encourage consumption of regular milk because it can create havoc with your digestive system and hamper your weight loss efforts. But all milk is not created equal. There is lactose-free milk, which, as a lactose-intolerant person, I’ve found I can enjoy with no bloat, gas, or digestive disruption. Along with lactose-free milk, there’s buttermilk. So what exactly IS buttermilk? Back in the days when farmwives churned the cream skimmed from cow’s milk to make butter, buttermilk was the liquid left over AFTER the butter had formed. It more accurately should have been called “butterless milk,” but that never caught on.
These days, buttermilk also refers to fermented milk. Regular milk contains a sugar called lactose–which causes the symptoms of lactose intolerance if you lack the enzyme needed to digest it. When active cultures (specialized bacteria) are added to regular milk, they convert the lactose (sugar) in the milk into lactic acid and create buttermilk– a thicker milk with a distinctive, tart taste. The lactic acid in the buttermilk does not require any digestion, and should not cause digestive upset. If your lactose intolerance is being actively managed by a doctor, you may want his/her okay before you try buttermilk.
Along with the tangy buttermilk, this dressing uses lots of piquant, fresh herbs. If your budget can’t stretch to include fresh herbs, you are in luck because this recipe tastes great with dried ones, too! A general rule for substituting dried herbs for fresh is that you use only 1/3 the amount required for fresh herbs. So 1 tbs of dried chives is equal to 3 tbs of fresh chives. That’s a really handy conversion to know–memorize it and you’ll always know how to swap fresh/dried herbs in any recipe!
Creamy Buttermilk Herb Dressing
Adapted from a recipe by Francis Lam for the NYT
Makes approx. 1-1/2 cups of dressing
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 3 tbs Fage Total or 2% Greek plain yogurt
- 1/2 avocado, mashed very well
- 4 tsp lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1teaspoon minced thyme leaves (from about 5 sprigs) OR 1/4 tsp dried
- 1-1/2 tbs minced fresh basil (about 10 large leaves) OR 1 tsp dried
- 3 tbs minced fresh chives OR 1 tbs dried
- In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and sour cream, and avocado. Whisk in the lemon juice.
- Season with salt, black pepper, thyme, basil and chives.
- Refrigerate for several hours to allow flavors to blend (especially if you used dried herbs).
- Serve over salad and steamed or roasted vegetables. Makes a nice dip for raw veggies, too.
Notes: Use any combination of herbs that you enjoy—dill, rosemary, cilantro, and parsley are all great choices!