Walnut Champagne Vinaigrette

As the holidays roll around many people have to watch what they consume to protect their hearts.  Heart disease is one of the top diseases in America today.  The way to protect yourself from future or further harm is to avoid trans fats and eat healthier fats.  Healthier fats are monounsaturated fats or polyunsaturated fats.  The trick is to consume the right kind of fat in the appropriate amount. When it comes to calories, all oils are the same. They each contain 9 calories per gram — this includes oils labeled “light,” a term which refers only to the oil’s taste, not its nutritional makeup. But some oils are better for you than others.

Fats and oils are either saturated or unsaturated; unsaturated fats can be either monounsaturated or polyunsaturated. No oil is completely made of one fat; they all are a combination of the three fats in different percentages, based on the nut, seed or fruit from which the oil is derived.

Saturated fats, which come mainly from animal sources, increase cholesterol levels. Hydrogenated oils such as margarine and vegetable shortening are saturated fats that have been chemically transformed from their normal liquid state into solids. During the hydrogenation procedure, extra hydrogen atoms are pumped into unsaturated fat. This creates trans fatty acids, the most unhealthy type of fat found to be the number one cause of heart disease.

Monounsaturated fats are known to help reduce the levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol without lowering the good HDL cholesterol. The most widely used oils that are high in monounsaturates are olive oil, avocado oil and peanut oil. Polyunsaturated fats, made up of omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids are also considered relatively healthy and include grapeseed, safflower and sunflower oil.  Oils high in omega-3 rich polyunsaturate fat such as walnut oil are a good addition to the diet since our body require omega-3s for good health but cannot manufacturer them. New studies show incorporating omega-3s into your diet reduce the risk of stroke, heart attack and heart disease.

We like to make this dressing for salads and to put into our rice or potatoes or over steamed green beans with Champagne Walnut Vinegar and Walnut Oil.  Very heart healthy.  You may substitute Hazelnut Oil for a different taste.

Walnut Champagne Vinaigrette

2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard (I like Edmund Fallot)

3 Tablepoons Walnut Champagne Vinegar

¼ cup Walnut Oil

pinch sea salt and cracked black pepper

Place the mustard in a non-reactive bowl, add the salt and pepper.  Add the Champagne Walnut Vinegar whisk in the walnut oil s-l-o-w-l-y until the dressing is emulsified.  Add chopped walnuts to your salad or into green beans for extra crunch.

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