What tastes better than a fresh, garden salad? A fresh salad with a delicious homemade salad dressing, of course! Enjoy the flavour of premium whole food ingredients, avoid numerous additives, and save money by making your own. With these six salad dressing recipes in your repertoire, each easily assembled in minutes, you'll be covered for whatever salad you're creating or whatever mood strikes you!
I love these salad dressing recipes because each one is tasty in its own way. From a simple vinaigrette to a sweet poppyseed dressing, there's something for every occasion. They're all free from dairy and refined sugar as well as gluten.
Sugar Free Dressing for Salad
In addition to the questionable additives, one of the main problems I have with most commercial salad dressings is the sugar in them. If you make your own, you can sweeten it with just a little maple syrup or honey. It's not even necessary to sweeten salad dressing at all.
Probably the best food choice for optimal nutrition is raw vegetables. What better way is there to consume them than to toss them in a lovely, fresh salad dressing?
Build Your Own Salad
There is no limit to the variations of salads you can make! Here are a few suggestions to get you started. Feel free to pick and choose ingredients according to your personal preferences. Let me know in the comments below what other things you like to add.
Generally, start with a nice, fresh leafy base.
- Spring Mix
Then add whatever fresh vegetables are available to you.
- Sweet Bell Pepper
- Snow Peas
- Green Onions
- Red Onion
The addition of protein turns a side salad into a meal.
- Cooked Chicken
- Smoked Salmon
- Hard Boiled Egg
- Crumbled Bacon Bits
- Parmesan Cheese
- Romano Cheese
- Swiss Cheese
- Cheddar Cheese
- Feta Cheese
Something sweet and/or crunchy increases the pleasure factor of eating a salad.
- Sunflower Seeds
- Hemp Hearts
- Dried Cranberries
- Sliced Almonds
- Candied Pecans
- Croutons (gluten-free, of course!)
The Best Salad Dressing Ingredients
- Oil - Use fresh oils. Once olive oil has been opened, it should be used up as quickly as possible because it will go rancid within a few months. Sometimes, when people think they don't like an oil, the problem is that they're tasting one that has gone bad. Store your oils in a cool, dry, dark cupboard.
- For salad dressings that require a more neutral flavour than olive oil, I like to use avocado oil.
- Vinegar - Use pure, good-quality balsamic vinegar. Many "balsamic" vinegars on the store shelves have been cut with other, less-expensive vinegars. Read the labels carefully, and look for a good one. It's amazing how deliciously thick a good balsamic vinegar is! It makes all the difference in the world to a Balsamic Vinaigrette.
- Natural apple cider vinegar has greater health benefits and a nicer flavour than plain white vinegar.
Homemade salad dressing is much better for you than most store bought ones. Use pure, simple, clean ingredients and avoid all of those artificial preservatives and flavours with the big names that get added to commercial dressings.
Generally, you should refrigerate your homemade salad dressing. If it's basically just made from oil and vinegar, it should technically be safe at room temperature. However, once you start to use it, it can become contaminated by outside ingredients. Play it safe by keeping it in the fridge. If if contains any fresh herbs or fruits, it definitely needs to be refrigerated.
Since olive oil solidifies in the refrigerator, you'll notice that a solid layer forms in salad dressings made with it. Simply take the dressing out as you begin to make dinner, and it will liquify again for you.
Homemade salad dressing with fresh herbs or fruits should be used up within a week. A simple oil and vinegar vinaigrette with mustard, honey, salt, and pepper will keep in the refrigerator for three or four weeks.
How to Make Homemade Salad Dressing
Most of these salad dressings can simply be stirred or shaken together. I usually pour the ingredients into a measuring cup one after the other, adding up the measurements as I go. Then I transfer the mixture to the jar it will be stored in and give it a good shake.
Use a blender for Raspberry Vinaigrette to puree the fruit smoothly.
For a recipe like Poppy Seed Dressing with mustard, vinegar, and oil, you can make an emulsion with a blender or beater. Simply blend the mustard, seasonings, and vinegar together at low speed. Then very slowly pour in the oil in a thin stream as the blender continues to run. It should thicken up to a nice, creamy consistency. Stir in the poppy seeds by hand at the end.
Refined Sugar Free Salad Dressings Recipes
These are the proven, time-tested recipes that I keep in rotation at my house. They’re each easy to make, free from refined sugars, and keep well in the refrigerator.
The first five are ideal for tossed lettuce, or garden, salads. Make a few, give people a choice, and give yourself variety. The sixth recipe is my homemade mayonnaise, better suited for heavier salads such as potato salad, chicken salad, or coleslaw.
Balsamic Vinaigrette is one of the easiest salad dressings you can make! This healthy balsamic vinaigrette recipe is sweetened just a little with a touch of raw honey.
This is a quick, easy, healthful Honey Mustard Dressing that adds a punch of sweetness to your favourite salad ingredients.
This is an easy vinaigrette for garden salads.
This raspberry vinaigrette is fresh, slightly sweet but tangy, and delicious! It's easy to whip up in a blender and stores well in the refrigerator.
Healthy Poppy Seed Salad Dressing is a lovely sweet and tangy topping for fresh greens and fruit, like Strawberry Spinach Salad. This recipe makes it easy to create your own homemade condiment. Free from refined sugars, it's a healthful addition to your plate.
While it's not your typical salad dressing, mayonnaise falls into the salad dressing department, too.
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