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Putting Hot Sauce on Salad Is the Next Nutritional Life Hack

Fuck ranch. There, I said it.

Having another salad for lunch, I see. Impressive! You must be rather healthy. Greens are excellent for your body and soul. Hey, what do you have there? Is that ranch dressing? What are you doing?!?! No! Stop! Not ranch! ANYTHING BUT RANCH!!!

As you can tell by my definitely not manufactured horror, I believe that most salad dressings are a disgrace to salads and otherwise healthy diets round the world. Store-bought dressings in particular are customarily brimming with extra calories, unnecessary sugars, unhealthy saturated fats and unreasonable amounts of sodium.

Instead, I suggest drowning your salads in hot sauce. Calorically, hot sauce is virtually inconsequential. Studies suggest that capsaicin — the compound behind the heat in hot sauces — boosts metabolism and suppresses cravings, contributing to weight loss. Even more remarkable, one Harvard study shows that consuming spicy foods at least once or twice a week can reduce your overall mortality risk by 10 percent. If you set out to eat salads, surely you care about these kinds of things.

I realize that you may be screaming at me through the computer right now. You use salad dressing because you hate the taste of vegetables, you argue, and hot sauce is simply not flavorful enough to work the same. I have a few counterarguments: First, if you hate vegetables so much, I suggest simply burning the fuck out of your tongue with a scorching-hot hot sauce so that your taste buds retreat until your vegetables have been wholly consumed.

Second, I suggest rethinking hot sauces and how they match with salads. “Tabasco, with its heavy vinegar presence, plays similar to a vinaigrette,” says Matt Bray of PepperScale. “Sriracha is thicker, like a dressing, and has more of a garlic undertone that plays well with fresh greens.”

These are only basic hot sauces, though, and Bray says there are many other craft hot sauces on the market that are even better suited for salads. “They use a ton of fresh and fun ingredients, like tropical fruits, avocado and berries,” he explains. “Take, for instance, Angry Goat Purple Hippo Hot Sauce — it uses prickly pear and strawberries. Some of them are so mild that you can use them just like a dressing, like Kumana Foods’ Avocado Sauce line.”

There are also hot sauces made specifically for salads, like Sacred Salad Sauce. Sacred Sauce founder and heat chaser Allan Price tells me he created this sauce after realizing that hot sauces were customarily added to unhealthy foods, like wings and pizza, so he wanted something formulated specifically for heating up your greens. “I found that we were making bad food decisions based on the fact that we needed some spice,” he says. “We were craving the chili, craving the burning, craving the endorphins and everything that comes with spice, but then ultimately making bad decisions.”

Price explains that Sacred Salad Sauce is made from mango, habanero and tangerine juice, which he argues makes way more sense as a fresh-and-healthy salad topper than something creamy, like blue cheese dressing. “It really tastes fresh and summery,” he says. 

When you think about it, yeah, adding plants to plants does make more sense than adding a bunch of creamy shit to plants. And if nothing else, at least the heat makes eating a salad less boring and more exhilarating.

Now put down the ranch and step away slowly.