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Nothing says summer like fresh strawberries! This Strawberry Balsamic dressing is oil-free and sugar-free. The vinaigrette is made with Medjool dates for sweetness, fresh basil, white balsamic vinegar, and of course, fresh strawberries! No oil is needed for this flavorful, fruity salad dressing drizzled on top of your fresh summer salads.
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This recipe was created when I had made a super refreshing Very Berry Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette for a dinner party along with a raspberry dressing that had oil – lots of oil! It was fine to take to a party. Honestly, I’m still a little shy about sharing my “crazy” healthy plant-based foods with others. But I wanted a healthier dressing that I could feel comfortable with while slathering on at home. If you are in the mood for berries, I have another awesome oil-free dressing, my Raspberry Mint Vinaigrette (Oil-Free).
To Make this Strawberry Balsamic Dressing Oil-Free and Sugar-Free You will Need:
- fresh strawberries
- Medjool dates
- fresh basil
- lemon juice
- white balsamic vinegar
- a little salt and pepper to taste
- a high-speed blender like a Vitamix (affiliate link)
Why no oil? Can you even make salad dressing without oil?
Absolutely! Many whole-food plant-based eaters avoid processed oils in their food. This is actually a pretty hot debate amongst the plant-based community. Dr. Esselstyn puts it brilliantly:
But don’t salad dressings need oil in them to taste good?
I will say, absolutely not! This strawberry balsamic dressing is bursting with flavor. The oil will only detract from the flavors and is not necessary. Oil does lend a certain “mouth feel” though that if you are accustomed to, you might miss. If you’re not sure about this, and if you are wanting to try a little experiment, start out by replacing just a little of the water in the ingredients with a very mild low-taste oil like avocado oil for the mouthfeel. Next time you make the dressing, replace less. Get yourself used to letting go of the oil and you might be surprised that you don’t really miss it!
Tips and Tricks for Making this Strawberry Balsamic Oil-Free Salad Dressing as Awesome as Mine!
Read through all of the tips and tricks section so that you won’t miss a thing.
- Use the freshest most flavorful strawberries possible for the best outcome. Nothing is going to compensate for a bitter or flavorless fruit.
- Medjool dates are what we will use for a sweetener. Dates work well with a whole-foods diet because they are not processed. They are the whole food. Have you ever held a Medjool date in your hands and wondered what they are like just picked from the tree? Well, they are exactly like what you are holding in your hand. The Medjool dates you buy in the store (probably in the produce department) haven’t been dried but are picked that way, all wrinkly and “dry”. They will keep for quite a while in your cupboard. I always refrigerate them though so I have them on hand when I need just a little sweetener. In fact, I actually made a healthy homemade bbq sauce as well as a pasta sauce – homemade and plant-based with Medjool dates.
- Take the pits out of the Medjool dates and soak in hot water for about 30 minutes. If your dates are super fresh, that’s all you should need. If the dates are dried out and hardened, you will need more soaking time. Soak until they are soft and pliable before putting in the blender.
- I found the best vinegar for this dressing is white balsamic. It has a mild yet slightly sweet taste. If you can’t find white balsamic, use white wine or champagne vinegar but you might want to throw in an extra Medjool date for sweetness.
- Use fresh basil leaves for the best flavor.
- The lemon juice can be bottled or squeezed from a fresh lemon. I really haven’t noticed a difference in the outcome.
Items I Found Helpful in Making this Recipe:
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The Recipe For Strawberry Balsamic Dressing with Fresh Basil Oil- Free and Sugar-Free:
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Strawberry Balsamic Dressing, Oil-Free and Sugar-Free
- 6 Medjool dates seeds removed and soaked
- 2 cups strawberries hulled (about 8 large)
- 3/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- 10 basil leaves
- 1/3 cup water plus more if needed
- salt and pepper to taste
- Take the seeds out and soak the Medjool dates for about 30 minutes in hot water. If the dates are quite dried out, you will need to soak longer until they are soft and pliable.
- Wash and hull fresh strawberries.
- Wash and pick basil leaves off stem.
- Add all ingredients to a high-speed blender. Blend on high for about 3-5 minutes or until smooth and pourable, adding more water by the teaspoon full if necessary for best consistency.