I'm trying to eat more salad but practically every store-bought dressing is either too fattening or full of preservatives, so I've been looking up delicious homemade salad dressings. When you make your dressings yourself, they're fresher, healthier, and tastier than anything you can buy in the store, even the so-called healthy options. If you love salads filled with traditional or exotic vegetables, raw or roasted, take a look at these amazing homemade salad dressings!
1. Creamy Feta Vinaigrette
Using fresh cheese in your homemade salad dressings is an excellent way to get a lot of flavor. Thanks to the feta, this one isn't quite fat-free, but it's definitely rich, and just as creamy as it promises. Since it's a vinaigrette, it's not as fattening as it could be, and a little bit goes a long way. According to the source, it tastes great with salads filled with grilled or roasted vegetables, it works with cucumbers or spinach salads, it's delicious in potato salad, and it's ideal with shrimp or tomatoes.
3 ounce(s) feta cheese, preferably French, crumbled
2 1/2 tablespoon(s) red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon(s) water
1/2 teaspoon(s) dried oregano
1/4 cup(s) plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
In a food processor, pulse the crumbled feta with the red wine vinegar, water, oregano, and olive oil until the vinaigrette is smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Buttermilk Dill Dressing
I have a shameful confession: I'm a ranch girl at heart, and if it's buttermilk ranch, that's even better. However, any kind of ranch is terribly unhealthy, and I'm actually losing my taste for it. I still love that richness though, and that's why this recipe caught my eye. I'm also a sucker for dill, so this one is like double-trouble. It does have buttermilk and mayo, meaning it's not exactly a healthy option, so don't go overboard. However, if you're into making your own mayonnaise (I strongly recommend Julia Child's recipe), you can have some control over the fat content. Either way, this is a worthwhile indulgence when you want something richer.
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh chives
1 tsp. salt
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. garlic powder (optional)
Whisk together buttermilk and mayonnaise to thoroughly combine. Stir in dill, chives, and salt. Add garlic powder to taste, if you like. Cover and chill at least 3 minutes and up to 1 week before using.
Makes 3/4 cup Buttermilk Dill Salad Dressing.
3. Sherry-Shallot Vinaigrette
Shallots are so aromatic and flavorful, they're practically made for salad dressings. If you let them sit in the vinegar for a bit before tossing the dressing together, they'll get wonderfully tangy, almost pickled! Up the tartness by letting them set longer. If you want something a little fresher and softer, serve right away – it's all up to you!
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
1 1/2 tablespoon(s) sherry vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup(s) extra-virgin olive oil
In a small bowl, toss the shallot with the vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Let stand for 15 minutes, then whisk in the oil.
4. Garlic-Herb Vinaigrette
This dressing is absolutely magnificent. I love nearly anything with a Dijon base, and this is fabulous. It has a lot of kick thanks to the mustard and the vinegar, plus the herbs and garlic make it flavorful and complex. The olive oil adds just the right amount of texture, so it's just perfect from start to finish. I definitely recommend using fresh garlic if you've got it.
1/2 cup raw apple cider vinegar
1-2 tablespoons dijon mustard
3 garlic cloves, minced
generous pinch of sea salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh herbs or 2 teaspoons dried (basil, oregano, chives, and thyme are all nice)
scant 1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil
Combine all ingredients except olive oil in a jar. Stir well with a fork.
Add olive oil, cover tightly, and shake well until combined. You can also use a blender and drizzle the oil in slowly while it is running.
Serve over your basic green salad with added chopped vegetables.
5. Orange Sesame Vegan Salad Dressing
This is without question one of the best vegan salad dressings I've ever tasted. Another vinaigrette, the toasted sesame seeds really make this recipe. I actually used freshly squeezed orange juice instead of a concentrate, and I think that made a huge difference as well. This has a lovely tang, and since it contains no oil, it's a wonderfully healthy option.
1 tbsp sesame seeds
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp orange juice concentrate
1 tbsp water
Heat oven to 400 degrees and toast the sesame seeds.
In a blender, food processor or coffee grinder, grind the toasted sesame seeds into a powder.
Whisk together the sesame seeds with remaining ingredients.
6. Cilantro-Lime Dressing
If you're eating a salad with grilled shrimp or chicken, this is a fantastic dressing. It's full of flavor, with definite fiery infusions. The ginger and the cilantro work beautifully with the lime, making this a tart, refreshing salad dressing that gets a lot of kick from the ginger and the jalapeno.
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic
¾ teaspoon minced fresh ginger root
¼ cup lime juice
1/3 cup honey
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
¼ cup packed cilantro leaves
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Place the jalapeno pepper, garlic clove, and ginger into a food processor or blender; pulse until the jalapeno and garlic are finely chopped.
Pour in the lime juice, honey, balsamic vinegar, and salt, add the cilantro leaves; pulse a few times to blend.
Turn the food processor or blender on, and slowly drizzle in the olive oil until incorporated into the dressing. Season to taste with salt before serving.
7. Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette
If you're looking for something rich and earthy, this is the one. I can't decide what aspect I like best, the sun-dried tomatoes or the way they mix especially well with the red wine vinegar. Give this one a taste and let me know your opinion!
2 sun-dried tomato halves
1-1/2 Tablespooons balsamic vinegar
1-1/2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 garlic clove, minced and mashed to a paste with 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup olive oil
1 Tablespoon fresh basil leaves, minced
In a saucepan simmer the sun-dried tomatoes in 2 inches of water for 3 minutes, or until they are tender, drain them, and mince them.
In a bowl wisk together the tomatoes, the vinegars, and the garlic paste. Add the olive oil in a stream, whisking, and whisk the vinaigrette until it is emulsified. Stir in the basil.
Yield: about 2/3 cup
Who says you have to rely on store bought dressings? If you're looking for fresh ingredients and explosive flavors, any one of these will tickle your taste buds! Do you have any to-die-for dressing recipes you'd care to share?