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Sauces & dressings - finishing touches

While most vegetables, grains and proteins taste good by themselves, a simple sauce or salad dressing can help to light the digestive fire. It is this digestive fire that ‘cooks’ the food within the body, transforming it into blood, flesh and bone. Adding a finishing touch such as a dressing or sauce can turn a simple dish into a special meal.

Seeded Yoghurt Dressing

Caraway seeds – excellent for helping the digestion – give this oil-free dressing a sweet and spicy taste. Fennel, anise or cumin seeds can be used instead of caraway.

Makes 250 ml

2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
200 ml yoghurt
½ teaspoon mustard powder
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt

Roast the seeds in a hot dry frying pan over a high heat until they begin to smell aromatic. Crush them slightly and blend with the other ingredients in a blender or whisk them in a bowl. Thin with a little water, if necessary.

  • For a richer dressing, substitute soured cream for all or part of the yoghurt.
  • For a vegan version, replace the yoghurt with 200 g silken tofu, steamed for 2–3 minutes and crumbled.

Olive Spread

This attractive spread serves four as a sandwich stuffing or many more as a topping on crackers for party nibbles. Spread on wholewheat bread and garnished with salad cress or parsley sprigs, it makes a tasty picnic or lunch snack.

Serves 4–6

20 green olives stuffed with pimento
3 tablespoons walnut pieces
½ a red pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons oil

Put all the ingredients in a blender and blend to a coarse purée. Alternatively, chop the ingredients very finely. Allow to set for about 1 hour before serving.

For a green spread, omit the walnuts and red pepper. Halve the amount of oil and blend in 4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley and 2 tablespoons tahini.

Tahini Mint Dressing

The tahini gives the dressing a hint of Middle Eastern flavours. It is particularly good drizzled over salad leaves or fruit. Tahini has a very high oil content, so no extra oil is needed.

Makes 250 ml

75 g tahini
juice of 1 lemon
dash of tamari
125 ml water
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint

Mix all the ingredients together in a blender or whisk them in a bowl. Thin the dressing with a little more water, if necessary.

Variations:
1) Use 3 tablespoons peanut butter instead of tahini and omit the mint.

2) For a lovely topping for fruit salads, omit the tamari and use apple juice instead of water. Add a little honey, if desired.

3) Omit the water and serve it as a party dip with vegetable crudités, crisps or crackers.

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