This Sweet Vidalia Onion Dressing is bursting with flavor from sauteed sweet Vidalia onions and a hint of maple syrup that is complimented perfectly with tangy Dijon mustard and apple cider vinegar! Perfect for any salad or as a creamy dip! 

I LOVE sauces, dressings, and dips! I am that annoying dinner guest who always asks the waiter what kind of in-house dressings & sauces they make then proceeds to ask for one of each. However, one thing I do not love is finding that so many of my beloved store bought sauces/dressings are made with ingredients that I can not pronounce! Luckily, I have a simple solution for a catastrophe of this sort and that is to stop buying store bought sauces/dressings and instead, make my own!

For some, that may seem like a daunting time-consuming task, but recreating store bought items can sometimes be easier than it sounds, take as little as 10 minutes and not to mention, you will be able to pronounce all the ingredients! You will taste the freshness and feel good about eating something that was made with REAL ingredients!

One of my favorite dressings to recreate is my Sweet Vidalia Onion dressing; it is seriously perfection! (and it’s vegan!)

This dressing offers a subtle sweetness complimented by a tanginess that will keep you wanting more! This dressing pairs well with fresh salads, like my Not Your Average Kale Salad, or for drizzling over some grilled vegetables to make the most addicting side dish. I can assure you that you will begin to make dishes only so that you can douse it in this dressing! 

The best part about this dressing (especially for those of you pressed for time), is that it takes very little time to make and includes only a short list of ingredients!

Seriously though, I whipped up this dressing within 10 minutes (while doing 5 other things) then stuck it in the fridge while I prepared the rest of our dinner. It is so great that this can be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge so that you can always have some ready to use or take to a party to impress your friends with your how domestic you are! 

Sweet Vidalia Onion Dressing 
Perfect for drizzling, dipping and dressing- A creamy, sweet, and tangy dressing made with sweet Vidalia onions, a hint of maple syrup, and dijon mustard! 


Serving Size: 14 oz. mason jar
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients: 
1 C sweet Vidialia onion, chopped
1/4 C maple syrup
1/2 C apple cider vinegar
2 T dijon mustard
1/4 tsp ground mustard
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 C extra virgin olive oil

Directions:
1. Heat 1 T olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add in chopped Vidalia onions and cook until soft and transparent. Remove from heat. 

2. In a blender (or food processor) add the sauteed Vidalia onions, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, and seasonings. Puree the ingredients until completely blended and the mixture is smooth. Scrape down the sides as needed.

3. With the blender on low, begin to drizzle in the olive oil. Process until thoroughly combined and the dressing has a creamy appearance. If warm, place in containers and store in the fridge before using. 

This kale salad is far from average! This Not Your Average Kale Salad is full of fresh kale leaves dressed up with a Creamy Vidalia Onion Dressing tossed with nutty quinoa, salty parmesan, sweet grapes and crunchy sunflower seeds! 

I absolutely love this salad because it offers an amazing combination of textures and flavors PLUS is chock full of nutrient dense ingredients!

I first had this at a summertime BBQ when the weather was hot and anything cold, crunchy and fresh had me salivating. I piled my plate high with the greens and dressed it generously; I wasn’t holding back on something that looked so delicious. It wasn’t but 5 minutes later that I had devoured my salad and was back in line grabbing more; it is seriously that satisfying & addicting! 

There are many types of kale to choose from, all of which are packed with vitamins and minerals, but for today’s salad, I will be using curly kale. I prefer this type of kale for raw salads because the tightly curled leaves give fullness to a salad and they trap all the salad’s flavors in their tight curls. TIP: Curly kale tends to have a bitter taste. After thoroughly washing (to remove any remaining dirt/grit) and drying the kale, massage the leaves with olive oil. This will not only take away some of its bitterness but will also help in making the texture softer and more enjoyable!  

 

Quinoa is a superfood that is full of nutrients and packs a punch of protein! This ingredient paired with kale creates the perfect picture of health. Feel free to use any variety of quinoa you prefer–I like to use white quinoa because it contrasts beautifully with the green kale leaves! Just be sure you give your quinoa a quick rinse before cooking. 

To give this salad a little punch of saltiness, parmesan cheese is sprinkled throughout! I love the texture and saltiness the shredded/grated parmesan (you know, the kind that looks like little sticks and comes in a plastic container) brings to this salad.  You’ll find the parmesan sticks hidden in the curls of the kale and without knowing, you get this explosion of flavor with your bite! 

Now, we have given the salty taste buds something to cheer about, so that can only mean one thing…adding a layer of SWEET! Introducing grapes. Adding grapes to this salad may seem a little odd, but trust me.

Not Your Average Kale Salad

Remember those clumps of parmesan throughout the salad? Well, imagine the flavor combination of the saltiness from the parmesan paired with the creaminess from the dressing and the perfect little pop of sweet from the grapes. It’s divine and it will make you go back for more (why else would I have finished two huge plates within 10 minutes?) I prefer the purple grapes because they add a beautiful new color to the mix!

Last but not least, sunflower seeds. Talk about texture, these bad boys lend the perfect crunch and nutty flavor to this salad! The sunflower seeds can also be substituted with walnuts, pepitas, or pine nuts!

My creamy Sweet Vidalia Onion Dressing is the icing on the cake for this salad. (Did I really just use a cake idiom for a HEALTHY SALAD?! sorry)

I prefer using this homemade dressing because it doesn’t have all the fillers and additives that store bought dressing has. The bonus: it is super easy to whip up and doesn’t require a ton of ingredients! (If you chose not to make your own dressing, don’t be ashamed, just get a dressing with a sweet kick)

Not Your Average Kale Salad
A crisp, refreshing kale salad mixed with quinoa, parmesan, grapes and sunflower seeds all tossed in a creamy, cool vegan Vidalia onion dressing. 


Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 Minutes
Total Time: 45 Minutes

Ingredients:
1 large bunch kale
1 C quinoa, cooked
1 C grapes
1/2 C parmesan, shredded (or the pre-packaged sticks)
1/4 C sunflower seeds
1/2 C Sweet Vidalia Onion Dressing

Directions:
1. Cook quinoa according to package directions. (If bought in bulk, be sure to rinse the quinoa before cooking.) Once fully cooked, set aside to cool.
2. With stems still intact, rinse kale leaves carefully to be sure all dirt is removed. With a towel, remove as much water as possible then set on a towel and let leaves dry completely. Once dry, remove the leaves from the stems and tear the kale leaves into pieces and place in a large bowl. Drizzle kale with olive oil and massage making sure you cover all pieces and crevices. Place in fridge.
3. Cut grapes in half lengthwise, set aside. If using a block of parmesan, shred 1/2 cup and set aside.
4. In a large bowl combine the massaged kale and cooled quinoa. Add grapes, cheese, and sunflower seeds. Toss gently to combine all ingredients thoroughly,  then add the dressing (if serving immediately) and mix gently until the dressing coats each piece of kale. Feel free to garnish the top with some of the ingredients! Serve immediately, or place in the fridge to keep cold. 

Tuna noodle casserole, an American classic made with egg noodles, canned tuna, mushrooms, and peas all tossed in a creamy sauce that gets topped with cheese and breadcrumbs then baked to golden perfection!

 

Though delicious, this casserole tends to be loaded with unhealthy fats and carbs when in all reality this dish actually has the potential to be healthy! How might you ask? If you take a look at the key ingredients that make up this dish then you will see how balanced this dish can be! It is packed with high-protein tuna, mixed with filling carbs (keeping in mind your serving size) and complimented by fats.

Having a solid foundation to start with, I decided I would put myself to the challenge and create my version of a lighter, healthier tuna noodle casserole.

Creating healthier versions of classic dishes is always a challenge. There is something comforting and familiar to American classics and switching out the ingredients for healthier, lighter ones could be a recipe for disaster, literally. Knowing that, I had to think long and hard on I would use as the substitute ingredients; ones that were very similar to a traditional tuna noodle casserole’s main ingredients so I would not compromise its creamy consistency and delicious breadcrumb topping. Ingredients like the peas, mushrooms, and tuna did not need to be replaced, so revamping the creamy sauce was my main focus! Off to the drawing boards…

One look in my fridge and I was onto something. Low and behold my trusty 0% Greek yogurt was staring me in the face.

This is a food product I love to use as a replacement for a “creamy” ingredients because of its high protein content, 0g of fat and its…can you guess? Creaminess! This time was no different and Greek yogurt seemed to be a great start for creating a creamy sauce. The rest began to fall into place as I scoured my pantry for ingredients! 

Nutritional yeast was a key ingredient in making this dish resemble the real deal. If you have never tried or even heard of nutritional yeast, then you are in for a real treat! Its texture and appearance are nothing like cheese (it’s actually comparable to fish food), but its flavor profile is nutty, cheesy and salty; just the thing we need to make this sauce! Because nutritional yeast is dairy free, many vegans and nondairy eaters use it to replace the taste of cheese in a dish. Using nutritional yeast also helps replace all those unwanted grams of fat & calories without comprising the flavor! 

You better believe I was not taking those veggies out of the mix; not only for keeping their health benefits but can you imagine finding substitute ingredients for peas and mushrooms? Now that would be a challenge! 

After fiddling, mixing and creating for a while, I was excited to try my creation! I must admit, this dish turned out fantastic! Aside from swapping the traditional, unhealthy ingredients to one’s much lighter and nutritious, the flavor and consistency between these two casseroles were very similar! Give this revamped tuna noodle casserole a try and feel good about what you are serving and eating! 

Healthy Tuna Noodle Casserole 
A healthy twist on the traditional tuna noodle casserole. Canned tuna, noodles, peas and mushrooms in a (healthy) creamy sauce with topped a delicious bread crumb topping. Feel good about eating this casserole! 


Serving size: 6 servings   
Prep time: 15 minutes   
Cook time: 25 minutes    
Total time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:
6 oz Egg Noodles (Ronzoni Healthy Harvest Rotini, for gluten free)
.5 T oil, for sauteing ( I use grapeseed because of its high cooking point)
1 medium onion, minced fine
1 tsp. garlic, minced fine
.5 T sherry (optional)
10 oz sliced baby bella mushrooms
1 cup frozen peas (thawed)
1 cup Greek yogurt, 0%
1/4 cup Nutritional Yeast
2 (5 oz) cans tuna in water, drained (I used albacore)
1 t salt
1/4 t pepper
Non-dairy milk of your choice 
3 tbsp sprinkle parmesan cheese (1 T. for creamy sauce, 2 T. for topping)
2 tbsp whole wheat seasoned breadcrumbs

Directions: 
1. Preheat oven to 375°. Lightly spray an 8×8 casserole dish with cooking spray.
2. Cook noodles in salted water until al dente, or slightly undercooked by 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.
3. Add the oil to a large deep skillet. Add onions, garlic and mushrooms cook on medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Add sherry vinegar to deglaze the pan. Set aside to cool.
4. In a separate bowl, combine Greek yogurt, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, 1 tablespoon of parmesan cheese, and tuna. Add nondairy milk 1 tablespoon at a time until consistency is that of a creamy dressing. Adjust salt and pepper to your taste.
5. Once cooled, combine the sauteed onion mixture with the peas and add to the Greek yogurt cream sauce.
6. For the breadcrumb topping, combine breadcrumbs with remaining 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese. Set aside. 
7. Combine the creamy tuna mixture with the cooked noodles and stir until all noodles are covered with sauce. Pour into prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle breadcrumb topping evenly over the top of the noodles. Bake for about 20 minutes. For an extra crispy topping, briefly, place the casserole under the broiler–watch carefully not to burn!

Enjoy!