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What to Use Instead of Olive Oil to Make a Salad Dressing Fat-Free

author image Ramona French
Ramona French owned a massage school and taught massage for 28 years. In that time she wrote textbooks on Swedish, acupressure, deep tissue and lymph drainage massage. She is the author of "Introduction to Lymph Drainage Massage" and "Milady's Guide to Lymph Drainage Massage." Her book, "The Complete Guide to Lymph Drainage Massage," published by Milady, was released in October 2011.
What to Use Instead of Olive Oil to Make a Salad Dressing Fat-Free
Fat-free salad dressing can have plenty of flavor. Photo Credit Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images

Since olive oil contains 100 calories per tablespoon, salad dressings that use it as a base are high in calories and fat. Oil helps dressing adhere to the salad ingredients and provides flavor and texture. To make salad dressing without oil, add low-calorie ingredients that have plenty of flavor. Some ingredients also make the dressing adhere to the ingredients and provide a creamy texture.

Juice and Broth

What to Use Instead of Olive Oil to Make a Salad Dressing Fat-Free
Juices and broth can serve as an alternative to salad dressing. Photo Credit Dar1930/iStock/Getty Images

Juices such as apple cider, pineapple juice or orange juice provide plenty of flavor to salad dressing. Combined with vinegar, they make sweet-tart dressings suitable for salad greens or fruit salad. Combine 2 cups of juice with 0.25 cup of vinegar. Choose a vinegar that complements the juice, such as apple cider vinegar for apple cider or champagne vinegar for orange juice. A tablespoon of honey adds a more luxurious mouth feel and flavor. Use vegetable broth or chicken broth to make a savory dressing with vinegar, mustard, fresh herbs and other aromatics.

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Dairy Products

What to Use Instead of Olive Oil to Make a Salad Dressing Fat-Free
Use non-fat sour cream and yogurts as the base of your dressing. Photo Credit hanhanpeggy/iStock/Getty Images

Use non-fat sour cream or non-fat yogurt as the base of your dressing. Thin the sour cream or yogurt with non-fat buttermilk. Add chopped shallots, fresh herbs, lemon juice, a pinch of sugar and a spoonful of mustard for flavor. Dairy products make a salad dressing creamy, similar to an emulsified vinaigrette made with olive oil and egg yolks or mustard, which are emulsifiers. Non-fat sour cream, yogurt and buttermilk give salad dressing a tart taste that makes the taste of herbs and other seasonings stand out.

Vinegar and Lemon Juice

What to Use Instead of Olive Oil to Make a Salad Dressing Fat-Free
Choose a flavorful vinegar for your dressing. Photo Credit xyno6/iStock/Getty Images

Choose a flavorful vinegar, such as apple cider, tarragon, balsamic, champagne, white wine vinegar, red wine vinegar or raspberry vinegar, to match the other ingredients in the salad dressing and the ingredients in the salad. If the dressing has enough flavor, you won't notice the lack of olive oil. Lemon juice and lemon zest add a pleasant sharpness to dressing.

Make your own raspberry vinegar by putting fresh raspberries in a small glass jar. Cover them with white vinegar and then put on a lid. Store the mixture in a cool cupboard for a few days, then strain the vinegar and discard the solids. Keep the raspberry vinegar in your refrigerator.

Pectin and Water

What to Use Instead of Olive Oil to Make a Salad Dressing Fat-Free
Pectin and thickeners made from seaweed can be used to make dressing creamier and thicker. Photo Credit sugar0607/iStock/Getty Images

Pectin and other thickeners made from seaweed or gelatin can be used to make salad dressing creamier and thicker. Cook the pectin with water and the flavor ingredients until it thickens, and then allow it to cool before using it. For instance, combine 2 1/2 cups of water with 1/3 cup dry pectin, and flavor the mixture with sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, salt, pepper and fresh ginger. Bring it to a boil, stirring constantly, and then allow it to cool. Garnish this salad dressing with fresh coriander leaves, and use it in Asian-style salads.

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