Making a healthy salad dressing is really as simple as knowing what ingredients to use. Those bottled dressings that claim to be healthy, low-fat, low-carb, etc. are really nothing more than preservatives and processed ingredients in a fancy package. They’re also not necessary when you want a healthy salad dressing. You can make many healthy salad dressings right at home using condiments and other ingredients you likely have in your own kitchen already. Check out some of these ingredients to use in your next healthy salad dressing recipe. I use all of these to create one mean dressing that I never get tired of. It’s tangy, sweet, and nice and creamy - everything you could ask for in a salad dressing, despite it being incredibly healthy for you too.
Mustard is one of the best ingredients to use in a healthy salad dressing recipe because even though it’s calorie-free and virtually has no sugar or fat, it’s actually very good for you. Mustard seeds contain antioxidants and properties that lower your blood sugar and help fight off stress. I typically use 1 tablespoon of yellow or stoneground mustard per 4 ounce salad dressing recipe.
2. Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
Raw apple cider vinegar is full of enzymes and prebiotics that can aid digestion. There’s also rumor that it can help fight off obesity due to the way it lowers insulin and food cravings. Regardless that it’s great for you, this vinegar is one of the best vinegars to use in a healthy salad dressing recipe. It’s tart, tangy, and slightly sweet so it’s the perfect marriage of flavors. I like to use around 2 tablespoons per 4 ounce salad dressing recipe.
3. Lemon Juice
Lemon juice is a secret weapon in a healthy salad dressing recipe. Its light flavor adds a delicious freshness and it’s also extremely healthy. Lemon juice is rich in enzymes that can help aid digestion and a great source of vitamin C. I use the juice from two lemons in a 4 ounce recipe. You can also use a mix of lemons and limes if you’re looking for a more exotic flavor.
4. Black Pepper
I never make a salad dressing without black pepper (preferably fresh cracked pepper if I can get my hands on any!) Black pepper is one of the best ingredients to add flavor to a food, along with health benefits and for absolutely no calories. It’s spicy, pungent, and a little goes a long way. Plus, black pepper contains a compound known as bioperine, which acts as an antioxidant in the body and as a metabolism booster. Just one teaspoon is all you need for a 4 ounce recipe.
5. Your Choice Liquid
Since this healthy salad dressing is oil free, you’ll need to add a liquid body as the base for your dressing. I’m partial to water since it allows the other flavors to shine through but you can also use a non-dairy milk, such as plain almond or soy (unsweetened) to give your salad dressing a creamier flavor with very few calories. Oil is pretty heavy and dense, despite some forms being healthy, so choose a smarter liquid as your base. Use 4 ounces of liquid per 4 ounce recipe.
Parsley may not seem like it has an appealing herb-like flavor but it’s actually one of the key ingredients to this amazing dressing. I find using dried parsley works much better than fresh in this recipe (and also keeps the dressing from spoiling sooner.) Add one tablespoon per 4 ounce salad dressing recipe.
Oregano is my secret ingredient to a healthy salad dressing recipe. Just one tablespoon contains more antioxidants than a half cup of blueberries! Oregano also adds an incredible depth of flavor to this recipe you won’t get elsewhere. To beat all, this herb has been known to boost mood and contains a nice dose of vitamin B6. Add one tablespoon to a 4 ounce dressing recipe.
I suggest combining all of these ingredients in a mason jar that you can seal tightly and shake to combine. Alternatively, you can also process them in your blender. Do you have a favorite recipe for a healthy salad dressing?