Easy Homemade Salad Dressings
Sesame Ginger DressingThis is an easy Asian inspired dressing with the flavors of toasted sesame and ginger. It is tangy and sweet and goes great with Chinese vegetables. What makes it so easy is that the ingredients are in a 4-1-1-1-1 ratio. Once you make it a couple times, you will have the recipe memorized. Nutrition tip: Add some sesame seeds to a salad with this dressing. Sesame seeds are a great source of calcium. Just 1 tablespoon has about 90 mg, which is almost 10% of your calcium needs for the whole day.
Avocado Taco DressingThis is the third version of my Taco Dressing. Just changing one ingredient adds some great fat and nutrients and the dressing takes on a great flavor. Nutrition Tip: Although avocados have a lot of fat, there are great things about eating fat. It helps keep you full longer because it takes longer to digest than protein or carbohydrates. Fat is also important for absorbing nutrients. Some vitamins, like vitamin A, D, E, and K need fat to be absorbed. So in order to absorb more nutrients from your salad, get a normal fat dressing.
Taco DressingThis taco dressing recipe uses only 5 ingredients. It makes a fantastic dressing for a taco salad. I encourage you to make your own taco seasoning. If you buy those packets at the store, you may be getting the following: Wheat, Flour, Salt, Dried Garlic, Maltodextrin, Chili Peppers, Spice, Dried Onions, Monosodium Glutamate, Paprika, Sugar, Contains less than 2% of Silicon Dioxide As An Anticaking Agent, Soybean Oil, Malic Acid. Note the wheat, which means this is not gluten-free. Monosodium Glutamate - AKA MSG which some are sensitive to and can cause headaches, among other issues. If you are looking for an amazing homemade taco seasoning mix, my favorite is Dyno-moms: http://www.dyno-mom.com/2012/07/my-super-secret-taco-seasoning-recipe.html. I have used this seasoning in countless ways.
Creamy Taco DressingThis is the second version of my taco dressing. With one ingredient change, you can take the taco dressing to a whole different level. Nutrition Tip: Lately, everyone is excited about Greek yogurt. It has a thicker texture and higher amount of protein than regular yogurt. But if you notice that the price is higher for Greek-style, make your own by simply taking regular yogurt and straining it through a cheese cloth or cotton linen.
Cilantro Lime DressingIf you have ever been to Cafe Rio, you may know how good their dressings are. Although I do not live near any, I would visit a friend in Utah often, and we would always stop by. Their cilantro lime vinaigrette is practically drinkable. I have created a pretty good match with this dressing. Nutrition Tip: The shelf life/fridge life of store-bought dressings is quite long. This is due to the added preservatives as well as the less-than-fresh ingredients used. When making homemade dressing, the fridge life will be much shorter. However, most homemade dressings without dairy in them (mayo, cream, half-n-half, cheese, etc.) should be okay in the refrigerator for about a month. If it looks like your dressing is cloudy or the oil has solidified a bit, do not worry. It is normal for some oils, like olive oil, to do that when placed in the fridge. Just set it out on the counter to warm up to room temperature.
Creamy Cilantro Spice DressingThis is a variation of the Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette. The great thing about making your own homemade dressings is being able to change a couple ingredients or add some spices and you have created a whole new dressing. Don't be afraid to change things up. You might create an even better version than the original. Nutrition Tip: Although extra virgin olive oil is the healthier version, sometimes it has a strong flavor that does not always pair well with other ingredients. Light olive oil is a good substitute. Avoid corn, soy and canola which are usually genetically modified and over-processed.
Classic Blue Cheese DressingThis creamy classic is a great alternative to store bought dressing. A look at the ingredients on a bottle of blue cheese can be scary. Soybean Oil, Water, Blue Cheese (Milk, Cheese Culture, Salt, Enzymes), Vinegar, Sugar, Salt, Contains Less Than 2% of Sodium Lactate, Natural Flavor, Xanthan Gum, Phosphoric Acid, Polysorbate 60, Propylene Glycol Alginate, Dried Garlic, Dried Onions, Lactic Acid, Artificial Color, Vitamin E, Natamycin (natural Preservative). By making your own, you can avoid these less than healthy ingredients.
Balsamic Blue Cheese DressingThis recipe was a request from my brother. He wanted a blue cheese based dressing that was not creamy. My sister had mentioned a dressing she made with blue cheese and balsamic. So I took those 2 ideas and combined them to create this Balsamic Blue Cheese Dressing. Although this exact combination may not be available in a store-bought version, there are many varieties of balsamic dressings. Don't be fooled into think a fat-free version is better. -the ingredients comparison- Vinegar (Red Wine, Balsamic Cider, Distilled) Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Salt, Soybean Oil (Contributes a Trivial Amount of Fat)Garlic, Spice, Xanthan Gum and Caramel Color. Yes, there is no fat, but there is high fructose corn syrup. Not a healthier version.
Honey Lemon Dijon VinaigretteThis version of a honey mustard dressing has the perfect combination of sweet from the honey and tang from the Dijon. It compliments a beet and onion salad. And here is more encouragement to make your own. -the ingredients comparison- Water, Vegetable Oil (Soybean and Canola Oil), Honey, Dijon Mustard (Water, Vinegar, Mustard See, Salt, White Wine, Citric Acid, Tartaric Acid, Spice), Rice Vinegar, Sugar, Salt, Contains Less Than 2% of Dried Garlic, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Natural Flavor, Spices, Mustard See, Dried Honey, Xanthan Gum, Artificial Color, Vitamin E.
Chipotle Orange DressingTangy. Spicy. Citrusy. Not only is the color on this dressing vibrant, but the flavors are as well. Pair it with a mango or pineapple salad for a great summer dressing. Although this flavor combination is not available in a store-bought version, there are some chipotle dressings out there. This creamy one is to be avoided. -the ingredients comparison- Water, Soybean Oil, Sugar, Egg Yolk, Salt, Dried Onion, Spices, Less Than 1% of: Chipotle Chili Powder, Dried Red & Green Bell Pepper, Sour Cream Powder (Cream, Nonfat Milk, Cultures), Paprika, Dried Garlic, Nonfat Milk Solids, Cream, Buttermilk Solids, Cultured Nonfat Milk, Cheddar Cheese Powder & Cheddar Cheese (Cultured Milk, Salt, Enzymes), Vinegar, Phosphoric Acid, Modified Food Starch, Xanthan Gum, Natural Flavors (Soy), Corn Flour, Dextrose, Monosodium Glutamate, Citric Acid, With Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, And Calcium Disodium EDTA as Preservatives. Instead of buying something like that, play with this recipe to get a creamy version. Leave out the orange, add some sour cream and maybe throw in some spices like garlic and paprika. Don't be afraid to take these recipes and make a new version before reaching for that bottle with 30 ingredients! (yes, I counted)
Classic Caesar DressingMy absolute favorite salad is a Caesar salad. It is my go-to order at most restaurants. I never seem to get tired of it. And to me, it is not a Caesar without anchovies. Those pungent, salty little fish really make this dressing special. And here is more encouragement to make your own... -The Ingredients Comparison- Soybean Oil, Water, Distilled Vinegar, Egg Yolks, Sugar, Parmesan Cheese (Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes), Salt, Anchovies (Fish), Soy Sauce (Water, Wheat, Soybeans, Salt), Garlic, Spices, Phosphoric Acid, Onion, Monosodium Glutamate, Sorbic Acid and Sodium Benzoate and Calcium Disodium EDTA (Used to Protect Quality), Corn Syrup, Polysorbate 60, Xanthan Gum, Garlic Powder, Soy Flour, Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Tamarind.
Buttermilk Ranch DressingA tried and true classic that is so versatile. This dressing is great on salads, but can also be used as a dip or smothered over chicken and baked. Although this recipe uses a few more ingredients than some of the other dressings in this book, it still does not have as many ingredients as a store bought bottle. Case in point: Vegetable oil (soybean and/or canola), water, egg yolk, sugar, salt, cultured nonfat buttermilk, natural flavors (milk, soy), less that 1% of: spices, dried garlic, dried onion, vinegar, phosphoric acid, xanthan gum, modified food starch, Monosodium glutamate, artificial flavors, disodium phosphate, sorbic acid, calcium disodium EDTA, disodium inosinate and disodium guanylate.
French DressingYou may be expecting a red/orange sweet dressing from the title. However, a true French dressing is a very basic oil, vinegar and herb dressing. This is the perfect dressing to use your own herbs if you grow an herb garden. If not, it is a perfect reason to start growing your own! And here is more encouragement to make your own. -The Ingredients Comparison- Soybean Oil, Vinegar, Tomato Puree (Water, Tomato Paste), Sugar, Skim Milk, Salt, Contains Less than 2% of Water, Spice, Dried Garlic, Propylene Glycol Alginate, Xanthan Gum, Vitamin E, Natural Flavor, Yellow 6, Yellow 5.
Roasted Garlic & Parsley VinaigretteThis is a great dressing to make if you have some extra roasted garlic lying around. Side note: You should always have some extra roasted garlic lying around! And here is more encouragement to make your own. -the ingredients comparison- Water, Vinegar (Cider, Balsamic), Soybean Oil, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Roasted Garlic Puree, salt, minced Garlic, Contains Less Than 2% of: Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Soy Sauce, Red Bell Pepper, Parsley, Xanthan Gum, Phosphoric Acid, Monosodium Glutamate, Sorbic Acid, Sodium Benzoate, Calcium Disodium EDTA (To Preserve Freshness) And Sulfiting Agents.
Lemon Ginger DressingThis is a light, citrus-y dressing that is great any time of the year. The lemon makes it very summery, but the warmth coming from the ginger can dress up a spinach salad nicely. Nutrition Tip: Ginger helps with indigestion. Put a bit of fresh ginger in some warm water, tea, or soda water to help an upset stomach.
Why make your own dressing? Some ingredients in store-bought dressings are unhealthy, over-processed and unnecessary. By making your own, you can control what you put in and avoid those ingredients.
In each recipe, I also included some bonus information. When available, the ingredients in a store-bought bottle of dressing are listed so that you can compare. Other recipes include a nutrition tidbit. I hope you find the recipes enjoyable and the information valuable.