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Vegan for the Holidays

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Vegetarians in Paradise
Ask Aunt Nettie

We're delighted to share our Aunt Nettie with you. She's agreed to answer any questions you might ask about food, its preparation, and even clean-up tips. But we have to prepare you. She just might want to come right over to your house and help you fix dinner.

To send any questions to Ask Aunt Nettie, .

Dear Aunt Nettie,

I've been searching for a recipe for oil-free salad dressing, and it's next to impossible to find. I would be grateful if you have any ideas.


Well, cuss it all, Matthew, darlin',

There oughter be oil-free salad dressin' in everbody's kitchen an' it makes me angrier 'n a hornet that them recipes is so hard ta find. But, now, don't you fret, 'cause right here's where you kin find jes what yer lookin' fer. Here's some of my favorite dressin' s.

Yer ever lovin' Aunt Nettie


1 1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. dry mustard
4 to 5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 C. (120 ml) balsamic vinegar
1/4 C. (60 ml) lemon juice
3/4 C. (180 ml) water
1/4 t. guar gum *

Combine all ingredients in a jar and shake well. It's best if made a day ahead to allow the guar gum to thicken the dressing slightly. Keep refrigerated and shake well before each use. Use within 2 weeks. Makes 1 3/4 cups (420 ml) .

For a creamier alternative, combine all ingredients in a blender, and blend on high speed until well combined and smooth. Transfer to a bottle or jar.

* Guar gum is a dried, ground powder that comes from an East Indian plant. Used in small quantities, guar gum is on the FDA GRAS list for use as a thickener or stabilizer. Look for it in health food markets such as Whole Foods or Wild Oats. Many health food markets will special order it for you if it is not one of their regular products.


1/2 C. raw cashews
1 1/2 t. sea salt
1/4 t. ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic
1/2 C. fresh lime juice

1 C. water
1/4 t. guar gum

  1. Combine cashews, salt, pepper, whole, peeled garlic, and fresh lime juice in a blender. Blend on low speed for a few seconds, then switch to high speed until cashews are thoroughly ground.
  2. Add water and guar gum and blend on high speed until mixture is smooth and creamy. It's best if the dressing is made a day ahead to allow the guar gum to thicken it slightly. Refrigerate leftovers. Keeps well for one week. Makes 1 3/4 cups.

If You Haven't Met Aunt Nettie. . .

Our Aunt Nettie has a head like a hard disk. It's filled with gigabytes of information about food and cooking. And she's just itchin' to share her learnin' with city folk who live in mortal fear of the stovetop.

Aunt Nettie grew up on the farm. She did not eat out of a can or reach into the freezer. There was no microwave to pop her food into. Everything she made was from scratch. All the food she ate was natural, without pesticides. It was grown right there on the family farm, and she had to cook to survive. At eighty-three years young she still leaps and bounds around the kitchen and can shake, rattle, and roll those pots and pans with the best of them.

Nowadays, Aunt Nettie just shakes her head and complains, "Nobody cooks anymore. They have no idea about puttin' a meal together." She's on a mission. She wants to help those younguns eat better so they can grow up healthy like her own eight kids.

Click here for past Ask Aunt Nettie Columns

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