I made a salad dressing (of sorts) today that turned out fantastic - it was loosely based on a dressing I had on a Starbucks salad of all places. Looked up their ingredient list online and got this:
mild chile vinaigrette (tomato puree [water, tomato paste], olive-pomace oil, honey, red and ancho chile puree [red bell peppers, water, dehydrated red chile peppers, dehydrated ancho chile peppers, lemon juice concentrate], roasted red bell peppers, apple cider vinegar, salt, contains 2% or less of: lemon juice concentrate, spices, garlic puree, mustard flour, black pepper, natural flavor),
Soo.. my version started with about a dozen yellow peppers that I roasted and stuck in the fridge over the weekend. Today I peeled them all, saving all the dark syrupy liquid that had collected in the bottom of the bowl. Added the peppers back to that, added a splash of olive oil, some red wine vinegar, a bit of honey, a single chipotle pepper and some of the sauce from the can, a couple of cloves of garlic, some onion powder, mustard powder, and salt and pureed the heck out of it with an immersion blender. I forgot about the lemon, or I would have added some of that as well. I ended up with a cup full of thick puree/dressing that worked beautifully on a salad of spinach, quinoa, beans, olives, and sun-dried tomatoes. Compared to my usual dressing choices (blue cheese!) it was light, but it packed a LOT of flavor, and I probably got a full serving of veggies worth of yellow peppers out of the two tablespoons or so I used too.
This recipe was definitely a keeper for me - I'll make tweaks to it each time I make it I'm sure. But the concept of pureeing a veggie as the base of a dressing for a salad has me intrigued now. What other veggies can I do this with? Unfortunately I'm drawing a complete blank so I thought I'd ask here. I'm not necessarily looking to stay with the same spice/flavor palette.. more for ideas of other vegetables that might work in a similar way to dress a salad. I've had a salad with a hummus dressing that was basically a liquidy hummus, and I plan on trying to replicate that sometime too. I'm just looking for more options for a dressing that will actually offer up some nutrition, rather than empty calories for the sake of flavor.