Liven up salad dressings with a touch of flavour

September 26 2014

Healthy eating and salads often go hand-in-hand, but with more consumers looking for new and innovative ways to spice up their meals, the introduction of flavoursome salad dressings without the added calorie count may be the solution, according to Restaurant Central. 

Establishing new tastes in everyday dishes can be exciting and slightly daunting in equal measures. While some flavour duos work so well together, with sweet and sour and lemon and lime as just a couple of examples, spicing up mealtimes can sometimes be a completely new experience. 

However, the good news is that many consumers are swaying away from their staple condiments in favour of brightening up their salads with a touch of flavour thanks to imaginative new dressings. 

Whilst the emphasis firmly remains on clean eating, the introduction of different tastes can liven up mealtimes, allowing consumers to take pleasure in their food and the overall dining experience. 

Delicious sweet raspberry or spicy Tunisian harissa can both lend themselves to a house salad and transform the palate in seconds. With sweet and savoury options on the market, consumer preferences are so much easier to cater for than ever before.  

Speaking about the shift in taste, corporate chef at Heinz North America Juriaan Snellen said: "Consumers are looking for bold, clean flavours that stimulate and excite the ever-evolving palate.

"Salad dressings need to deliver a punch through a variety of ingredients. Heinz expects to see a focus on sweet and savoury combinations created by different kinds of peppers, coconut, superfruits, maple and bacon."

However, adding flavour to food doesn't have to stop at herbs and spices. Natural yogurt is an excellent healthy alternative to mayonnaise, making it perfect to add to sauces and dressings. 

It is starting to appear a lot more frequently on menus as it's a great base to thicken sauces as well as being a fantastic accompaniment to chicken, beef or lamb.  

Apart from the flavour benefits, it falls into the bracket of being an extremely healthy option. Thanks to its low protein content, it is a fantastic alternative to regular dressings. 

Adding flavour is a fantastic way to take culinary influences from around the globe and insert them into your food. 

Kira Smith, corporate chef at Kraft Foodservice, said: "South American flavours are appearing on menus and I think this could come in to play when chefs are looking for elements to create innovative dressing flavours with the addition of items such as aji pepper or chimichurri."

Ethnic influences can transform a dish in an instant as the different flavours blend with the ingredients, creating exciting new dishes that pack a punch without compromising on nutritional value.  

Citing a 2013 Technomic Canadian Flavour Trends report, Ms Smith echoes the view that global tastes have made an impression on salad dressings. The report states that nearly six in ten enjoy spicy foods and new flavourings are bound to reflect this. 

The changing tastes of consumers means restaurateurs have the artistic license to be a little more creative with their menus and explore the way ingredients and flavours are used.