Our Favorite (Healthy!) Homemade Salad Dressing Recipes

 
Our favorite healthy homemade salad dressing recipes made with real food ingredients.
 

Salad dressings, even “all natural” ones, can have some pretty strange ingredients in them. In order to give the product a viable shelf life, store-bought dressings typically contain unnatural flavors, preservatives, colors and consistency-enhancers. Most are high in sugar, sodium and unhealthy fats, and, if not organic, are made with oil (canola or soybean) derived from genetically engineered crops (which we recommend avoiding—for now).

In general, we recommend eating real, whole foods, and salads are one of our favorite healthy meal prep options—so they’re a great place to start with healthier choices!

Healthy salad dressing ingredients

Canola oil is generally favored in large-batch salad dressing because it retains its consistency in the refrigerator, whereas olive oil solidifies when cooled. If you’re choosing store-bought dressings (or using canola oil in homemade dressings), choose organic, which is non-GMO. 

If you’re making small-batch dressings to be consumed fresh (mmmm!), choose olive oil-based dressings when possible. Olive oil has one of the healthiest fat profiles of all oils, making it better for heart health and digestion.

We also love to incorporate plenty of fresh herbs, which are packed full of beneficial phytonutrients that help to boost your health.

Healthy homemade salad dressings

Here are some of our favorite fresh, healthy homemade salad dressing recipes. Some are quick enough to make fresh each day, and some we like to make a larger batch for the week. Enjoy!


Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

  • 2 tablespoons honey

  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (or similar)

  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • salt & pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk (or, you can put them in a sealable glass mason jar and shake!). Serve immediately. Olive oil doesn’t do very well in the fridge, but if you want you can make a large batch and store this in the fridge for up to 10 days. Just take it out 15 minutes or so before you plan to use it.


Sesame Soy Dressing

This one has amazing flavor and stores really nicely in the fridge if you’d like to make a larger batch for the whole week.

  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil

  • 2 tablespoons honey

  • 3 tablespoons tahini

  • 4 tablespoons tamari (or soy sauce)

  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped

  • pinch or two of red pepper flakes

Add all ingredients to a small bowl and whisk until smooth—or add them to a sealable glass jar and shake it up! Adapted from My Name Is Yeh.


Carrot Ginger Dressing

  • 1 large carrot, peeled and roughly chopped

  • 1 small shallot, peeled and roughly chopped

  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh ginger

  • 2 tablespoons white miso

  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seed oil

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons water

Whiz the carrots, shallot and ginger in a blender or food processor until finely chopped. Scrape down the sides, then add the miso, vinegar and sesame oil. While the machine running, slowly drizzle in the grape seed oil and the water. Adapted from Smitten Kitchen.


Yogurt Ranch Dressing

Fresh herbs are ideal for both flavor and nutrition, but dried work in a pinch too. This dressing is pretty thick, so works well with sturdier greens like kale and crisp lettuces.

  • 1/2 cup plain whole fat yogurt

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill (or, 1 tablespoon dried)

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (or dried)

  • 1 clove garlic, chopped

  • salt & pepper to taste

Add all ingredients to a bowl and whisk until smooth (or, shake in a sealable glass mason jar).


Coconut Ranch Dressing

This one is vegan and paleo-friendly!

  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk refrigerated overnight

  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill

  • salt & pepper to taste

Scoop the coconut cream from the top of the can and add to a mixing bowl. Add 4 tablespoons of the coconut water (save the rest in case you need to thin the dressing!). Add remaining ingredients and whisk to combine. Cool in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. Test the consistency and add more coconut water as desired. Adapted from Blissful Basil.


Avocado Lime Dressing

  • 1 ripe avocado

  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped finely

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • juice of 1-2 limes

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • salt & pepper to taste

Mash avocado in a bowl. Add all other ingredients and whisk to combine.


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