Who says salads have to be boring? Surely not with my healthy homemade salad dressings! 🥗 Lately, I’ve been obsessed with making my own salad dressing, and I bet you will too!
Whether you’re looking to impress your guests or simply add a little flavor to your lunchtime routine, making your own dressings is a great way to experiment with different flavor combinations and amp up your salad game! Plus, you don’t have to worry about unhealthy additives, preservatives, and other unhealthy ingredients in store-bought condiments. 🛒And they are certainly cheaper as well!
But how can you start making your healthy homemade salad dressings? Luckily, I came up with a foolproof formula for you! 🦸♀️. What I like the most about it is that besides being very easy to follow, it is very versatile and will allow you to come up with your own signature dressings for different recipes. All you have to do is choose the right ingredients that best match the “theme” and vibe of your salad (or whatever recipe you are wanting to make).
Ready to take your salads to the next level? 🔝 Grab your favorite bowl and whisk, and let’s get started!
My Formula for Healthy Homemade Salad Dressings
Whether you prefer a creamy dressing, a vinaigrette, or something in between, the following formula will help you enhance the taste and nutrition of your salads -and not only- in no time!
The basic formula is very simple:
All you have to do is mix all the ingredients very well with a good whisk (I personally love this one).
Let’s break the formula down.
Extra-virgin olive oil (or EVOO):
together with the vinegar, EVOO is the star of all my dressings! Besides being rich in polyphenols (powerful antioxidants) and vitamin E, extra-virgin olive oil is a great source of healthy fats and can help absorb the liposoluble nutrients from the veggies in our salad. I strongly recommend using a cold press, Italian EVOO, like this one.
as far as the acidic part of our healthy homemade salad dressing is concerned, you can choose between different types of vinegar. My favorite is balsamic vinegar, great on salads containing cheese, fruit, or tempeh. Other great options are red wine vinegar (great on bright, strong-flavored veggies, such as bell papers or tomatoes), white wine vinegar (perfect on veggies with a more delicate flavor, such as spring greens, zucchini, or cucumbers), rice wine vinegar (great on Asian-inspired dishes), and apple cider vinegar (ideal for salads containing sweet ingredients). However, feel free to experiment with other kinds of vinegar!
Optional flavors and seasonings:
these can vary depending on the “theme” of your salads or the texture you want to achieve with your dressing.
Here are some examples of flavors and seasonings you might add to your salad dressing:
- Lemon is great in Mediterranean-inspired dishes, and adds a touch of zestiness and “brightness” to your dish;
- Spicy or deli mustard, to bring a little zest to your salad. I love to put it in almost all of my dressings – even the fruity ones as it’s a good way to balance out their flavor. However, always remember to add it in moderation, as it has a quite strong taste!
- Honey, or agave/maple syrup to balance the tartness of the dressing. Try with date syrup for a richer, caramel-like taste.
- Mayonnaise, adds a touch of creaminess to the dressing. Use in light amounts.
- Pomegranate juice (or any other berry juice), is great in salads that are made with both fruits and vegetables. For example, I love it with beets, sweet potatoes, and pears.
- Muddled fruit, adds some texture and sweetness to the dressing. However, if you prefer a smoother condiment, you can swap it with some fresh juice.
- Peanut butter, if you are looking for a richer, thicker texture. I love it on Asian-inspired salads and even stir-fries.
- Tahini, perfect on Middle-easter falafel bowls, balances out the tanginess of the other ingredients;
- Greek yogurt is great for rich and enveloping dressings. Goes without saying that I love it on my Greek salads!
In addition, you enrich your dressing with the following herbs and seeds:
- Salt and pepper are an evergreen in almost all salad dressings!
- Chia seeds are with salads containing strawberries and other berries. In addition, they will make your dressing thicker and more “gelatinous”.
- Poppyseeds are great in dressings containing lemon juice and/or mulled berries;
- Fresh ginger (grated) is typically used for Asian dressings, but you can experiment with other themes!
- Italian seasoning (oregano, basil, thyme, and rosemary) is great for Mediterranean salads;
- Mint is a great addition to fruit-based salads, but also with some types of fresh cheeses, such as ricotta or cream cheese;
- Garlic (preferably fresh and minced) will give some character to your dressing. I love it in salads containing white fish and chicken;
- Pepper flakes are what you need if you want to add some spice to your dressing!
As you can see, making your healthy homemade salad dressing is very simple and require very limited ingredients and equipment. However, you will gain a lot in terms of nourishment and satisfaction. 😋
If you are looking for some salad dressing inspirations, I highly suggest trying my Honey Ginger Dressing (easy & low-carb), Pear and Gorgonzola Salad with Spinach and Pomegranate Vinaigrette, Watermelon Shrimp Avocado Salad with Lemon Maple Dressing, and Light Broccoli Salad with Creamy Dressing. And stay tuned as I am about to post a couple more recipes with incredible dressings!
Until then, let’s stay in touch on my socials (all the links are down below)! 💗