Creamy Low-Cal Vegan Dill Dressing…..and Resistant Starch

Since discovering Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s trick of blanching silken tofu (to remove the cardboard-y taste), I’ve started using blanched tofu as a substitute for nuts in my various dressing, dips, and sauces.

The key is that you need to keep some of the nuts in the recipe to retain the richness of the original. The recipe below replaces one cup of cashews with one cup of blanched silken tofu and a quarter cup of cashews, which is a big savings in the calorie department!

Creamy Low-Cal Vegan Dill Dressing

  • 1 cup silken tofu, BLANCHED
  • 1/4 cup cashews
  • 2 Medjool dates
  • 1 TBS capers with brine
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 TBS yellow mustard
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 TBS apple cider vinegar
  • 2 TBS lemon juice
  • 1 TBS vegetable broth powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups water

Add and pulse a few times:

  • 1 TBP dill (or 1/4 cup fresh dill)

Slather freely on your salads! This recipe makes about three and one-third cups of dressing at about 10 calories/TBS.

This dressing is also absolutely delicious on potato salad, which leads me to my next topic of discussion: resistant starch!

Resistant Starch….and how to work it into your life

So, as we all know, foods like rice and potatoes contain starch, which when ingested is converted into glucose. However, if you cook and cool certain starchy foods–like rice and potatoes–the starch is converted to something called “resistant starch.” Resistant starch is good for us in several ways. First off, the conversion to resistant starch reduces the calories in the cooked-and-cooled food by as much as fifty percent. Second, resistant starch is a powerful prebiotic for your microbiome. It also increases insulin sensitivity and lowers blood sugar levels. And this effect is not diminished if the food is reheated!

According to Time,

“Humans don’t have the enzymes to digest resistant starch, so it isn’t transformed into sugar and absorbed quickly in the bloodstream like digestible starch. Instead, it bypasses the small intestine and is metabolized in the colon, where it’s fermented into short-chain fatty acids that feed healthy colonies of gut bacteria. The more resistant starch a food has, the fewer calories from that starch our bodies will absorb. Resistant starch is plentiful in foods like legumes, beans, whole grains, uncooked potatoes and unripe bananas.”

For potatoes, you apparently, simply cook the potatoes and then cool them for several hours to increase the resistant starch. For rice, however, you need to add a teaspoon of coconut oil for each half cup of dry rice:

“…the glucose units in hot cooked rice have a loose structure, but when it cools down, the molecules rearrange themselves into very tight bonds that are more resistant to digestion, says Pushaparaja Thavarajah, PhD, who supervised the study. Scientists already know that it works in potatoes, but in the new study, researchers thought that adding a fat like coconut oil could add extra protection. It seemed to. The fat molecule wedges its way into the rice, Thavarajah says, and provides a barrier against quick digestion.”

With rice, apparently, the process “…works because coconut oil enters the starch granules during the cooking process and changes their architecture. It acts as a barrier against the digestive enzymes. Cooling is important because it releases amylose, the soluble part of starch. During the cooling process, amylose molecules arrange themselves into tight hydrogen bonds around the grains which make it more resistant to digestion.”

Brown Basmati Rice

In the hopes of increasing our resistant starch in our diet, I’ve been dutifully adding a tablespoon of refined coconut oil to two cups of water in the Instant Pot (on the saute function so it melts), then adding two cups of brown basmati rice and cooking on manual for 22 minutes. I then cool it for several hours and reheat for dinner….an easy way to incorporate a resistant-starch health bomb into dinner!!

For more on the health benefits of resistant starch, check out this link!

And the song of the day is Leonard Cohen’s 1967 performance of “Stranger Song” because I was listening to a mixed playlist on Spotify this afternoon and this song came on. I said to James, “Wow–this guy is sure a Leonard Cohen wanna-be, eh?” He agreed and I looked up the song. As it turns out, it was, in fact, Leonard Cohen!

A very young Leonard Cohen, mind you: