Clara Ole's versatile vinaigrettes for healthy meals

Versatile vinaigrettes for healthy meals
By Walter Ang
July 2, 2010
Philippine Daily Inquirer

"Vinaigrettes offer an alternative healthy way to enjoy your greens and other meals," said Nancy Hernandez, brand manager of Clara Ole Vinaigrettes, at the launch of their new line of products.

She explained that vinaigrette is a healthy option as it contains lower fat compared to dressings because vinaigrette's base is vinegar whereas dressings have egg yolks, cream and other ingredients that make it thick. What's more, the Clara Ole vinaigrettes have zero trans fat and zero cholesterol.

"Anything in moderation is healthier than overdoing it," Hernandez said. She suggests pouring vinaigrette onto a tablespoon first before drizzling it on greens. "This way, you are aware of and can control the amount. Two to three tablespoons per salad serving is okay."

Portion control is one of the usual behavioral modifications for weight management. Two tablespoons may not seem enough for people used to drenching their salads in dressing, but featured guest host Chef Carlo Miguel said that this amount can go a long way if you toss your salad with your hands to ensure that all the greens are coated.

"Just make sure that your hands are clean. This also ensures that you will avoid mashing the greens too roughly. Always pick the freshest vegetables and wash them properly using clean flowing water," he said.

Miguel is the latest winner of the reality TV show "Biggest Loser Asia." He used to weigh 300 pounds but lost a total of 120 pounds by cutting down on his food intake and exercising regularly. He now focuses on maintaining his weight and advocating the advantages of healthy eating.

Clara Ole is manufactured by Sysu International and is actually named for the wife of the company's founder, Ruben Sysu. "Ole is a Spanish word that connotes celebration, good cheer and thanksgiving," Hernandez said.

"The brand Clara Ole calls to mind the spirit and passion of Spain and hopes to make every meal a sumptuous celebration while highlighting the importance of good health, that's why we came up with the Clara Ole Vinaigrettes."

She said that eating nutritious, highly fibrous and a well balanced meal combined with daily exercise is one sure way of attaining good health and protection from sicknesses and diseases. "It's also beneficial to your emotional and psychological wellbeing to enjoy simple encounters, like having meals, with family and friends," she added.

For family members who aren't keen on greens, Hernandez pointed out the versatility of the Clara Ole vinaigrettes. "They don't have to be used only for salads, you can use them as dips or for cooking meals, too," she said, while advocating steamed, grilled, baked or barbecued meals instead of fried food. (See sidebar for sample recipe.)

The "My, my Parmesan!" variant is made with parmesan cheese and garden-fresh herbs. "It has a cheesy-tangy taste," she said. "Besides using it with crisp, fresh vegetables, you can drizzle it over baked chicken and potatoes. It can also serve as the perfect dip for chips and it delicately complements soft Italian bread."

Hernandez recommended using the "Pesto Please!" variant to add flavor to grilled or baked seafood or chicken. "You can add a deliciously nutty, peppery flavor with a hint of fruitiness to your meals," she said. For a quick refreshing salad for the humid weather, Hernandez recommends using this variant with tomato and mozzarella slices with chopped fresh basil.

Pinoys love sweet dressings for their salads and will most likely enjoy the "Orange you Glad!" and "Mango Mio!" variants.

"The 'Orange you Glad!' vinaigrette has a citrus freshness and tart-to-sweet flavor," she said. "For a deliciously exciting contrast of sweetness, saltiness and creaminess, mix this variant with cubes of feta, blue or gorgonzola cheese."

"The 'Mango Mio!' vinaigrette instantly gives your favorite vegetable, fruit, meat and seafood salads a tropical boost. It is also perfect when sprinkled over salsa," she added.

For a more Asian flair, Hernandez suggested the "Sesame Mucho!" variant. "It has a mix of nutty, salty and sweet, complemented by a hint of tanginess that can be used as a dip for steamed vegetables and grilled or steamed seafood," she said. "You can also add it to your barbecue marinade and instantly transform the taste to a distinctly oriental caramel flavor."

For more recipes, visit or call 926-8852 or 926-8859.

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