+ Healthy Salad Dressings - 3 Recipes to Jazz up Salads and Vegetables

Healthy salad dressings – 3 recipes to jazz up salads and vegetables

A few months ago we went to a sailing club with a group of friends and family for lunch.  I ordered fish and salad, a safe bet, but when it came I struggled to eat it.  Not because it wasn’t a nice piece of fish, the salad was lovely and fresh, but the cheap, processed salad dressing just killed it for me.  I realised it had been SO long since I’d eaten anything but a homemade (vegetable oil and sugar-free) salad dressing, that this one was a real insult to my senses.  My husband said I should have stuck to the Parmigiana!

Okay, I’m sure at this point you’re thinking, get over your fussy self and just eat the and bloody meal!  I did just that, but it really made me realise just how a good dressing can make or break a meal.  I also resolved that I might have to become a ‘dressing on the side’ kinda girl from now on.

Why you should always avoid shop bought dressings
Looking at the ingredients list, even the ‘natural’ dressings are a nutritional disaster and need to be avoided.  Most are a combination of highly processed vegetable oils, sugar (many of the dressings on the market list it as the third ingredient), sulphites and other damaging and allergenic additives.  To read more about the dangers of vegetable oils and why we need to avoid them, click here.

Why homemade dressings are healthy
Where processed salad dressings are so bad, homemade dressings are really good for you and super simple to make.  The monounsaturated fats in extra virgin olive oil are beneficial to your health and when served with salad and vegetables, actually enhance the absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins found in them.  The acid half (vinegar or citrus juice), assists in the digestion of vitamins and minerals, most of which are more efficiently absorbed in an acidic environment. Plus, vinegar is a source of acetic acid, and acetate is fabulous for modulating immune responses via the gut.

Plus they taste incredible and make eating a salad, steamed or roasted vegetables, so much more enticing and interesting.  Salads and vegetables will never be boring again and you may just win over veggie/salad fussy little ones with a really tasty dressing!

Rule of thumb
The rule of thumb with any dressing is approximately 3 parts oil to 1 part acid (vinegar or citrus juice).  Always taste your dressing before pouring, it should be on the acidic side as once dressed the salad and veggies will balance this out.  Dress your salad or veggies just prior to serving and be careful not to overdo it, less is more (you can always add more if you need to).

I like to make my dressings in small jars.  It’s a quick no mess way to make dressings and you can throw any leftover in the fridge for another day.

Ingredients:
Creamy French dressing
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine, white wine or apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
¼ clove of garlic, crushed (optional)
Pinch of sea salt and ground black pepper to taste

Balsamic vinegar dressing
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (this is also lovely with lemon infused EVOO)
2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar (for fructose free, choose a sugar-free raspberry vinegar instead – I love Young’s Already Famous Raspberry Vinegar)
Pinch of sea salt and ground black pepper to taste

Lemon dressing
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Zest one lemon, finely grated
Pinch sea salt and ground black pepper to taste

Method

  1.  Place all ingredients in a small jar and shake until well combined.
  2. Store leftover dressing in the fridge.
  3. You can use these bases to add in other flavours like herbs and spices too if you like.

How easy is that?  Hopefully, I’ve given you enough inspiration and direction to make your own dressing.  If you’re feeling lazy, you can just pour the dressing ingredients directly over your salad.  You’ll just get a better consistency if you premix them first.

 

Love to receive your comments or questions.  Post yours below…

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Salad dressings

  • Lisa

    How long does the leftover salad dressing last?

    • Hi Lisa, Keep it airtight and in the fridge. I generally make enough for what I need that night as they are just so easy to make. If I do have left overs I would use within a few days. A straight oil and vinegar blend (no perishables like garlic and lemon) would keep for longer. G x

  • Naomi

    Macadamia nut oil and balsamic vinegar is a favourite at my house

    • Yum, I love Macadamia Nut oil with raspberry vinegar too, G x

  • Deb dunt

    Georgia do you have a recipe for a honey mustard dressing please?

    • I would add a tsp of honey (or to taste) to the creamy french dressing and leave out the garlic Deb G x

  • Deb dunt

    Great, thanks Georgia.

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