For many people, salad dressing is the main attraction of a salad. Without it, they wouldn’t set foot near a bed of veggies.
Healthy salad dressing recipes upgrade your meals with a refreshing blend of nutrients and flavor. Check out these 5 summer salad dressing recipes to add to your meal planning rotation.
What Makes a Healthy Salad Dressing?
There are many pseudo healthy foods on the market. They look and sound healthy until you start to look closer at the nutrition facts.
Salad dressings are often the target of many wellness critics as the one ingredient that makes a salad not worth eating. High sugar, fat, and sodium are the culprits.
Store-bought dressings give you little flexibility in cutting back on unhealthy ingredients. The genius of homemade recipes is getting the chance to make the best possible dressing with all the right stuff.
Before making your next dressing recipe, make sure you have the following ingredients on hand.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil is one of the healthiest fats you can eat. It’s different from other versions of olive oil because it’s not refined and is less processed than other versions.
Make sure you purchase your olive oil from a reputable brand to avoid filler ingredients. High-quality extra virgin olive oil is known for its antioxidants, Vitamin E and Vitamin K.
Antioxidants are extremely important in removing free radicals from the body that might lead to disease.
Despite being very delicious, honey is a superfood. Skip the sugar in your next salad dressing recipe and opt instead to use honey as your main sweetener.
Honey is known for its antibacterial qualities and can even help heal wounds that don’t respond to antibiotics.
Apple Cider Vinegar
It’s important to have an acid on hand when creating your own salad dressing recipes. While you can choose between a variety of acids according to flavor, this is an easy area to add nutritional value.
Apple cider vinegar has been known to support weight loss and reduce unsightly varicose veins.
1. Green Goddess Dressing
The rich creamy texture of Green Goddess Dressing is perfect for hearty lettuce like kale or romaine. This healthy salad dressing is high in fat, but rich in nutrients because of its variety of healthy greens.
Gather one cup of watercress leaves with all tough stems removed. Then add one-fourth cup of mayonnaise. You can also use a plant-based alternative in place of traditional mayonnaise.
Add one-fourth cup of parsley leaves, one tablespoon of fresh chives and fresh tarragon. These herbs are usually easy to find at an international farmers market.
Measure one tablespoon of sour cream and add that to the mixture and one-half tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Mix all ingredients in a blender and store in a small mason jar up to two days ahead.
2. Mediterranean Vinaigrette
You’ll need a handful of dried herbs to pull off a delicious Mediterranean vinaigrette. To create this simple, fast recipe combine one cup of extra virgin olive oil with one-third cup of apple cider or red wine vinegar.
Crush a fresh clove of garlic and add it to your bowl. Season the combination with dried basil, oregano, and thyme. Add in a tablespoon of lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.
Mediterranean dressings taste great with feta cheese, but it might limit the shelf life. Vinaigrette dressings last up to two weeks without dairy.
If you add cheese, aim to use your dressing within a few days.
3. Raspberry Vinaigrette
One of the best ingredients in a summer salad is fruit. Experiment with fruit combinations to find your fit for the season.
Raspberry vinaigrette is one tried and true summer salad dressing that pairs well with most fruit-based salads. To create, add one-half cup of raspberries and one cup of extra virgin olive oil to your food processor.
Measure one-third cup of red wine vinegar and two tablespoons of honey. Add a teaspoon of basil and one-half teaspoon of dijon mustard.
Dice one shallot and add one tablespoon to the bowl of the food processor. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Store in a mason jar in the refridgerator for up to two weeks.
4. Citrus Vinaigrette
Another delicious fruit based salad dressing is the citrus vinaigrette. It’s a healthy way to add more vitamin C to your diet without the need for sugary juice.
You’ll need a variety of citrus fruits to bring out the rich acidic flavor of this recipe. Juice one orange, lemon, and lime and stir to combine. Be sure to use a sweeter orange to create a balance of tart and tangy.
Blend one-half cup of extra virgin olive oil, one teaspoon of mustard and one tablespoon of honey in Magical butter machine. Add one-eighth teaspoon of cayenne pepper and a tablespoon of white balsamic vinegar. Regular balsamic vinegar also works well in a pinch.
Add one tablespoon of finely chopped shallots and season with sea salt. You can make this recipe more tart by adding the grated zest of your lemon peel.
5. Spicy Avocado Cilantro
Creamy avocado dressing brings taco salads to new levels. Recreate fatty taco salads using only the healthiest ingredients with spicy avocado cilantro dressing.
To make spicy avocado cilantro dressing, add two sliced avocados to a blender. Add one half cup of cilantro and one quarter cup of extra virgin olive oil.
Peel one clove of garlic and add it to the mixture. Juice one large lemon and add it to the bowl. Next, add two teaspoons of honey and one-eighth teaspoon of chili flakes.
Cayenne pepper is also a great option if you don’t have chili. Blend at a high speed until smooth and creamy.
The Magic of Homemade Salad Dressing
Healthy salad dressing starts with a good homemade recipe. The magic of homemade salad dressing is being able to customize your meals to your nutritional needs.
Mix in healthy boosters like chia and flax seeds to add more character to your salad. There are few limits except on the expiration dates.
Always use dairy within a few days of making. For more information and lifestyle tips, check our blog for updates.