Oh my goodness! You're gonna want to sop this up with the biggest lettuce, spinach or kale leaf in your salad bowl. The Best Toasted Pecan Balsamic Vinaigrette is not only amazing on salads, but it's also wonderful on Buddha bowls and for dipping veggies.
The Dijon mustard and balsamic vinegar gives this sauce nice umani notes, while the dates give it a sweet flavor. The pecans not only gives this wonderful dressing amazing flavor, but also a beautiful richness. With the omission of oil, and using water (used to soak the dates), the calories density isn't as bad as the customary balsamic vinaigrette dressings. Also, because you're making it from scratch, store bought doesn't hold a candle to this deliciousness.
The Best Toasted Pecan Balsamic Vinaigrette has 4 key ingredients
- Dates, pitted
- Balsamic vinegar
- Dijon mustard
How to prepare
- The first step is to soak two pitted dated in hot water for at least 5 minutes to soften.
- While the dates are soaking, toast the raw and unsalted pecans in a dry hot skillet for a minute or two.
- Add the dates with water, pecans and remaining ingredients to a high powered blender and blend until smooth and creamy. The dressing will be a little warm, but that just adds to the yumminess.
- Store any extra dressing in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Frequently asked questions
Is balsamic vinaigrette healthy?
Generally speaking, balsamic vinaigrette dressing tends to be a healthier choice than cream-based dressings because it has less saturated fat than dairy-based options. However, most balsamic vinaigrettes have a lot of oil, which is a processed food item. This recipe, however, is oil-free and uses whole pecans as its source of unprocessed and healthy fat.
Is there a difference between balsamic vinegar and balsamic vinaigrette?
Yes. In short, balsamic vinegar is a key ingredient in balsamic vinaigrette along with other seasonings and a source of plant-fat, like toasted pecans.
The word ‘balsamic’ comes from the Latin word balsamum for balm-like, meaning ‘healing’ or ‘restorative.’ Balsamic vinegar is made from grapes, and there are two main classifications:
- Traditional balsamic vinegar that has been aged for 12 or more years.
- Commercially prepared that’s less expensive but mimics traditional balsamic vinegar.
Traditional balsamic vinegar is the “OG” of vinegars. It’s produced from just white grapes (e.g., Trebbiano) that have been boiled down, then fermented with a slow aging process that results in concentrated and intensified flavors. This happens because the vinegar is stored in wooden containers for at least 12 years, though some traditional balsamic vinegars will be aged for 25 years. Traditional balsamic vinegars will come from the Modena or Reggio Emilia regions of Northern Italy.
Commercially prepared balsamic vinegar is also referred to as Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, and readily available in grocery stores and restaurants. This type is less expensive. Some commercially prepared balsamic vinegars have been aged for a few months or up to about three years.
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What do you eat with this toasted pecan balsamic vinaigrette?
This recipe makes a great dipping sauce for a raw veggie plate, or as a drizzle over Veggie Pizza for One. But my favorite way to enjoy this delicious vinaigrette is on a good salad, like the Elegant Beet Arugula Salad, Gigi's Big Rainbow Salad, and Curry Quinoa Chickpea Salad. You'll love it!
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