Sweet Italian Dressing

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I’ll bet that you have noticed that I post loads of recipes for sweet delicious baked goods on a regular basis… What you might not know is that I don’t eat any of them. They are all lovingly made for family and friends, but I stay away from them completely. You see, several years ago, I decided to give up eating carb laden goodies with lots of sugar. Oh, I still enjoy the sweet taste of sugar but I have found some great substitutes over the years. A few of my latest favorites are monk fruit extract, stevia in the raw, or coconut palm sugar.

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Sure, there is quite a bit of controversy circling artificial sweeteners, but these are the few I choose that seem to work for me. When I’m looking for something sweet, I engineer things for myself so that the carbs are low and the fiber content high.
A sweet revelation…
This salad recipe idea came to me after having a similar salad at a recent Christmas party. It was a carry-in party where my co-workers and I were asked to bring beverages, salads, side dishes and desserts. One of my co-workers brought in a fabulous pre-made salad that she bought at Cosco. There were 7 different greens, sunflower seeds, pepitas, and dried cranberries. A pre-made dressing was included. Everything delivered in a sizable package. Here’s the kicker…all for just $5.00.

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Well, I went back for seconds…and thirds on the salad. I raved about it all afternoon. It’s called the Sweet Kale Vegetable Salad Kit. It’s made from a blend of kale, broccoli, shaved Brussels sprouts, green cabbage and chicory. Seven “super greens” are blended within the salad to provide a wide variety of textures and flavors. One drawback here…is the dressing. My taste buds are highly sensitive to the sweet taste of sugar and I tasted a lot of it in the pre-made poppyseed dressing. The other drawback…I don’t live near or have a shopping card for Costco.
So, I did the next best thing…I made my own salad. It’s a bit different because of the availability of some of the salad items in my grocery store. When I priced out the cost of purchasing all of the different “super greens” needed to make the salad, the bill really added up quickly. My next idea meant looking for salad blends that had been prepackaged to save a little “green”. I found a blend made with broccoli stalks, red cabbage, romaine lettuce, and green onion. I found another mix with mini kale and Brussels sprouts so I combined the two. Then, instead of the poppy seed dressing, I added my own sweet Italian dressing and topped the salad with 1/4 cup of finely diced lean meat and a light sprinkle of shredded mozzarella cheese. I often add sunflower seeds, walnuts, or slivered almonds.
The Sweet Italian Salad Dressing is sort of a copy cat recipe of the Olive Garden salad dressing recipe. The important thing here is to find a mix of greens that you enjoy that are packed with vitamins and nutrients, lots of texture and flavor. Chop the greens up finely, mix in a little of your favorite dressing, add a few flavorful toppings and eat more vegetables!
Here’s to the new year…here’s to your health!

Sweet Italian Salad Dressing

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons water
1 (2/3 ounce) package Good Seasons Italian dressing
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup sugar or 2 packets sugar substitute

Combine all ingredients. Shake vigorously. Store refrigerated in an air-tight container.

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12 thoughts on “Sweet Italian Dressing

  1. Gosh you are so good, Linda, to make all those scrumptious sweet things and not eat them! Sometimes I’m lucky to have any “mixture” left to put in the oven because I’m already eating what hasn’t even been baked yet! I am definitely going to try some of those sweeteners you’ve recommended – and that gorgeous looking salad! How healthy and crunchy and totally yum looking! Thanks for sharing it. Dani xoxox

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    • Linda says:

      Thanks, Dani… I made the decision about 3 years ago. I was having reoccurring headaches/migraines and knew I needed too change my diet. This did the trick for me so I try to stick with the plan. Hope all is well with you…keep kayaking and soaking up the sun! Linda

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  2. Linda,
    I am glad to hear that you are passing on your gorgeous sweet recipes to your family and loyal blogging followers, even if you aren’t eating them regularly. I, myself, love 70% dark chocolate, cheese and wine. I would be incredibly skinny (like I am sure you are!) if I could just give up any of the three. 🙂
    I love super greens. The variety from Whole Foods, Organic Girl super greens, are out of this world. However, they don’t have the lovely shaved Brussels sprouts that you suggest in your recipe. The dressing recipe would be great with balsamic vinegar, too. I love the crunch you suggest from any seed or nut. I am a huge lover of a “real” salad, like this one! Thank you for sharing. 🙂
    Best wishes,
    Shanna

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    • Hi Shanna! Your comments are always so informative…I’ll have to check out the salad at Whole Foods when I have a chance. The problem is…I live in the country and I am limited to a few locally owned stores for food. I’m not even sure where the closest Whole Foods store is and it takes roughly 1 hour to travel to the Costco in my area. I’m certainly not complaining…we chose the quiet of the country over the big city life…I make due with our summer garden and buying from local farmers and family owned stores. Currently, I am looking at 12+ inches of snow outside my window and temperatures are unbearably cold. I’ve purchased lots of food for the weekend as I’m sure we will be spending lots of time indoors. Be well, Shanna. –Linda

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      • Please stay warm and drive carefully, Linda. What state are you in? I have read about the bitterly cold conditions in the North! I hope your kids’ pools for swim practice are well-heated. 😉 If you have food processor, you could shave some Brussels sprouts and just throw in chopped kale and spinach, which Costco always sells, pre-washed and chopped in bags. It would last at least a week (good for you, if you are in a little piece of country heaven). Maybe make your own, huge, homemade mix at some point. I love Costco for fresh produce – in our area, they often carry organic. The issue is this: going to Costco with a baby and a toddler by yourself. Relaxing, for sure. 🙂 Have a great weekend – and I look forward to trying your recipe. Best wishes, Shanna

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        • We are in the great state of Indiana…all of our roads have been closed by order of the state police. Record breaking low temperatures are on their way. Spent the day shoveling and snow blowing our long drive. Open fields of blowing snow make for white-out conditions. We have the fireplaces going and I brought in lots of food as we had plenty of warning. No school/work tomorrow…we shall see about Tuesday. I’ve been thinking about “the ladies”… Any news?

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          • Hi, Linda… My maternal great grandfather and grandmother came to Indiana from Sweden in the 1800’s. They were farmers! I still have a lot of family in Indiana and Ohio. I know it is very cold there now and the conditions are treacherous. Please stay warm and be safe! As for The Ladies, no updates. However, the local news has been asking to speak to us. I am worried that this would be further traumatizing for my kids – and if it would be productive. Hopefully you can do some reading or movie-watching while you are snowed in. 🙂 Best wishes, Shanna

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            • Linda says:

              Thanks, Shanna… Take care of your children and you’ll know best whether to speak to the officials. As you said, it might not help. Although, others might be more vigilant after hearing your story. I’m sure you will do whatever you decide is best for your family. Take care –Linda

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  3. I’m like you, living in a rural area of New Hampshire where the nearest Costco is an hour away. I like how you took a great tasting salad and created your own version.

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    • Thanks, Karen…
      I love the taste of this salad! I am happy to find things that my family loves and are nutritious. Thanks for your comment. Stay warm… I’m sure you have been experiencing some cold and wintery weather!

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      • Thank you. We have barely gotten into the teens and twenties for so long but would you believe that we have rain tonight. Hopefully it will melt a lot of our snow here in New Hampshire. 🙂

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