Updated: Dec 12, 2019
By Meredith Aycock
Quick, easy, nutritious, & delicious.
When my husband, Bryan, and I began eating a (mostly) whole-food, plant based diet nearly a decade ago, we found ourselves eating a lot of salads. Salads can be so delicious and pack in a wealth of nourishing foods, however one downfall of many would-be healthy salads is often the dressing. Most store-bought dressings are full of sugar, preservatives, and artificial food dye, which do not promote the health and well-being of our bodies. Making salad dressings at home is so easy and can really up the flavor and nutrient profile of your dish.
A note on choosing your oil
Not all oils are created equally. Oils we recommend for salad dressings are extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, & sesame oil over vegetable oils such as soy, canola, palm & corn.
Super simple, one minute vinaigrette.
I almost didn't include this recipe, because it is hardly a recipe, but it is my go-to when I'm in a hurry and need to get dinner on the table in record time. I also love this recipe when I've made a complex salad and just want a simple compliment to the flavors.
I typically put all the ingredients in a mason jar, put a lid on it, and shake! Do a little dance while shaking and it will make the dressing even more delicious ;-)
3 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 TBS Vinegar (balsamic, red wine, apple cider, ... any will do!)
Pinch of salt
A few turns of freshly ground pepper
** I usually follow the 3:1 ratio rule for oil:vinegar, so you can increase or decrease serving size as desired.
Vegan Green Goddess Dressing
(adapted from Oh She Glows)
This dressing is delicious not only on salads, but as a veggie dip, over roasted meats, vegetables, or grains. It is light, yet creamy, with a little kick to it.
1 garlic clove
1 cup packed avocado flesh (2 small)
7-8 tbsp water
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar (I like the Bragg's brand)
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice, to taste
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup packed fresh parsley
1/2 cup packed green onion (green part only)
1 tsp sea salt or Himalayan pink salt, or to taste
Pinch of cayenne (optional)
1 tsp honey
1. Add garlic clove to food processor and process until finely chopped.
2. Add in the water, oil, avocado, herbs & onion. Process until smooth. Now, add in the lemon juice and apple cider vinegar slowly, stopping to taste it. Finally, add in the salt to taste.
3. Store in an air tight container or jar in the fridge.
4. Lick the bowl!
Keeps for about 5 days.
Asian Sesame Dressing
(adapted from Tasty Thin)
This recipe is so delicious and Whole 30 compliant because it is sweetened with dates.
1/4 cup coconut aminos (or soy sauce for non Whole30/paleo)
2 TBS rice vinegar
2 TBS olive or avocado oil
1/2 TBS sesame oil
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
3 large, pitted Medjool dates, soaked
1. If the dates are not soft and squishy, they soaked them in hot water for 5 minutes.
2. Remove dates from water and combine with remaining ingredients in a food processor or blender.
3. Blend until you have a creamy consistency and there aren't any date chunks.
Will last about 2 weeks in air-tight container in the refrigerator.
Paleo Ranch Dressing
(adapted from Tasty Thin)
Also Whole30 compliant, this is also a great dip for chicken wings or a veggie platter!
1 cup mayo (**see below for SUPER EASY, healthy mayo recipe)
1/4 cup coconut cream
2 TBS red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp sea salt or pink Himalayan salt
1/4 tsp paprika
2 TBS fresh parsley leaves
1 TBS fresh cilantro (optional)
1. Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor. Pulse to blend until smooth.
Keep refrigerated in mason jar or other air-tight container.
** Homemade mayo is super easy to make, especially if you have a hand-held immersion blender.
You will need: 1 egg, 1 cup avocado oil (I prefer this in mayo over other oils for its mild flavor), pinch salt, a few twists of freshly ground pepper, 1 tsp mustard. (You can add other ingredients like minced garlic and honey for flavor, but it isn't necessary).
Add all ingredients to a wide-mouthed mason jar. Once the egg has settled at the bottom, put your immersion blender in the jar, all the way at the bottom. Start blending and slowly raise the blender as the mayo takes shape. Voila! (If you do not have an immersion blender, add all ingredients except for oil into a food processor or blender. Very slowly add oil while blender is on, continue until you have a thick consistency and all oil is added.)
This will last a few days in the refrigerator. To make it last longer, add 1 TBS (real) sauerkraut juice to the mix and let the mayo sit out for a couple of hours. Put it in the fridge and it will last a couple of weeks.
If you use these recipes and love them, please share! We'd also love to hear your favorite dressing recipes in the comments below!