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8 Simple and Healthy Salad Dressings

Health + Wellness
Westend61 / Getty Images

By Rachael Link, MS, RD

There's no doubt that salad can be a healthy addition to a balanced diet.


Unfortunately, most store-bought dressings are brimming with added sugar, preservatives, and artificial flavorings that can diminish the potential health benefits of your salad.

Making your own salad dressing at home is an easy and cost-effective alternative to store-bought varieties.

Furthermore, it can give you better control of what you're putting on your plate.

Here are 8 simple and healthy salad dressings that you can make at home.

1. Sesame Ginger

This simple salad dressing doubles as an easy marinade for meat, poultry, or roasted veggies.

It's also easy to make using ingredients you likely already have on hand.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) rice vinegar
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon (2 grams) freshly minced ginger

Directions

  1. Whisk together the olive oil, sesame oil, soy sauce, maple syrup, and rice vinegar.
  2. Add the minced garlic and ginger and stir together until combined.

Nutrition Facts

A 2-tablespoon (30-ml) serving contains the following nutrients (1, 2, 3, 4, 5):

  • Calories: 54
  • Protein: 0.2 grams
  • Carbs: 3.5 grams
  • Fat: 4.5 grams

2. Balsamic Vinaigrette

With just five basic ingredients, balsamic vinaigrette is one of the easiest homemade salad dressings to prepare in a pinch.

It has a sweet yet savory flavor that works well in just about any salad, making it one of the most versatile options available.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup (118 ml) olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Combine the balsamic vinegar with the Dijon mustard and minced garlic.
  2. Slowly add the olive oil while continuing to stir the mixture.
  3. Season with a bit of salt and pepper prior to serving to give the flavor a quick boost.

Nutrition Facts

A 2-tablespoon (30-ml) serving contains the following nutrients (1, 6, 7, 8):

  • Calories: 166
  • Protein: 0 grams
  • Carbs: 1 gram
  • Fat: 18 grams

3. Avocado Lime

Creamy, cool, and refreshing, this avocado lime dressing works great on salads or served as a tasty dip for fresh veggies.

Avocado is a great source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and may help boost your HDL (good) cholesterol levels (9, 10Trusted Source).

Ingredients

  • 1 avocado, cut into small chunks
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup (5 grams) cilantro
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) lime juice
  • 4 tablespoons (60 ml) olive oil
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Add the avocado chunks to a food processor along with the Greek yogurt, cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, and minced garlic.
  2. Top with a bit of salt and pepper and then pulse until the mixture reaches a smooth, thick consistency.

Nutrition Facts

A 2-tablespoon (30-ml) serving contains the following nutrients (1, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13):

  • Calories: 75
  • Protein: 1 gram
  • Carbs: 2.5 grams
  • Fat: 7 grams

4. Lemon Vinaigrette

This tart, tasty salad dressing is a great choice to help brighten up your favorite salads and vegetable dishes.

It works especially well for simple salads that need a bit of extra zing, thanks to its zesty citrus flavor.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup (59 ml) olive oil
  • 1/4 cup (59 ml) fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon (7 grams) honey or maple syrup
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Whisk the olive oil and fresh lemon juice together.
  2. Mix in honey or maple syrup for a bit of sweetness.
  3. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Nutrition Facts

A 2-tablespoon (30-ml) serving contains the following nutrients (1, 14, 15):

  • Calories: 128
  • Protein: 0 grams
  • Carbs: 3 grams
  • Fat: 13.5 grams

5. Honey Mustard

This creamy homemade dressing has a slightly sweet flavor that's ideal for adding a bit of depth and rounding out your favorite savory salads.

It also works well as a dipping sauce for sweet potato fries, appetizers, and fresh veggies.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup (83 grams) Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup (59 ml) apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup (102 grams) honey
  • 1/3 cup (78 ml) olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Whisk the Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, and honey together.
  2. Slowly add the olive oil while continuing to stir.
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Nutrition Facts

A 2-tablespoon (30-ml) serving contains the following nutrients (1, 7, 15, 16):

  • Calories: 142
  • Protein: 0 grams
  • Carbs: 13.5 grams
  • Fat: 9 grams

6. Greek Yogurt Ranch

Versatile, creamy, and delicious, ranch dressing is one of the most popular salad dressings available.

In this homemade alternative, Greek yogurt gives a healthy twist to this tasty condiment. This version works well as a dipping sauce or dressing.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (285 grams) plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon (1.5 grams) garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon (1.2 grams) onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon (0.5 grams) dried dill
  • dash of cayenne pepper
  • dash of salt
  • fresh chives, chopped (optional)

Directions

  1. Stir together the Greek yogurt, garlic powder, onion powder, and dried dill.
  2. Add a dash of cayenne pepper and salt.
  3. Garnish with fresh chives before serving (optional).

Nutrition Facts

A 2-tablespoon (30-ml) serving contains the following nutrients (11, 17, 18, 19):

  • Calories: 29
  • Protein: 1 gram
  • Carbs: 2 grams
  • Fat: 2 grams

7. Apple Cider Vinaigrette

Apple cider vinaigrette is a light and tangy dressing that can help balance the bitterness of leafy greens like kale or arugula.

Plus, drizzling this apple cider vinaigrette over your favorite salads is an easy way to squeeze in a serving of apple cider vinegar, a powerful ingredient loaded with health benefits.

In particular, some studies have shown that apple cider vinegar may reduce blood sugar levels and lower triglyceride levels (20Trusted Source, 21Trusted Source).

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup (78 ml) olive oil
  • 1/4 cup (59 ml) apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon (7 grams) honey
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) lemon juice
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Combine the olive oil and apple cider vinegar.
  2. Add the Dijon mustard, honey, lemon juice, and a bit of salt and pepper to taste.

Nutrition Facts

A 2-tablespoon (30-ml) serving contains the following nutrients (1, 7, 14, 15, 16):

  • Calories: 113
  • Protein: 0 grams
  • Carbs: 1 gram
  • Fat: 12 grams

8. Ginger Turmeric

This ginger turmeric dressing can help add a pop of color to your plate.

It has a zesty flavor that can complement bean salads, mixed greens, or veggie bowls.

It also features both ginger and turmeric, two ingredients that have been associated with several health benefits.

For example, ginger may help reduce nausea, relieve muscle pain, and decrease your blood sugar levels (22Trusted Source, 23Trusted Source, 24Trusted Source).

Meanwhile, turmeric contains curcumin, a compound well studied for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties (25Trusted Source).

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon (2 grams) turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon (1 gram) ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon (7 grams) honey (optional)

Directions

  1. Mix the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, turmeric, and ground ginger.
  2. To enhance the flavor, you can add a bit of honey for sweetness.

Nutrition Facts

A 2-tablespoon (30-ml) serving contains the following nutrients (1, 15, 16, 26, 27):

  • Calories: 170
  • Protein: 0 grams
  • Carbs: 2.5 grams
  • Fat: 18 grams

The Bottom Line

Many healthy and nutritious salad dressings can easily be made at home.

The dressings above are packed with flavor and made from simple ingredients that you probably already have sitting on your shelves.

Try experimenting with these dressings and swapping them in for store-bought varieties in your favorite salads, side dishes, and appetizers.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Healthline.

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