After realizing the store bought salad dressings are loaded with added sugar and oil, I decided to invent my own Italian salad dressing without sugar or oil. As you can see from the picture, I still use the old glass container that I’ve always used, just without the accompanying packet of mystery ingredients.
When I was a kid, I didn’t like salads. At least not the ones my mom made. But when we went to Villa Capri in Overland Park, KS, I loved their salads. The difference was their house-made Italian salad dressing, which my parents eventually bought so I would eat salads at home.
It wasn’t until just a few years ago that I realized why I liked their salad dressing so much…enough to get me to eat salad as a kid. Their Italian salad dressing has two ingredients that make all the difference: red wine vinegar and crushed fennel seeds. I think these two ingredients are what makes my dressing almost as good.
Like most Italian salad dressings, Villa Capri’s has a lot of oil, but I’ve omitted it. To be honest, I like it better without the oil. It doesn’t leave that oily, filmy residue in my mouth and I can taste the seasoning’s much better. Plus, skipping the oil took this recipe from 90 calories per serving all the way down to 5 CALORIES PER SERVING!
You don’t need the bottle to make your own seasoning. Just mix the ingredients in any sealable container, shake well and serve. The crushed fennel seeds and red wine vinegar give it an extra Italian-y taste and licorice aroma. Let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes before serving to allow the seasonings to absorb the liquid.