Healthy Meal for DIY Dressing

Making your own salad dressing may seem daunting, but when you get right down to it, many dressings can be easily thrown together in a matter of minutes with ingredients that are already on hand.  The result of your efforts is a salad dressing that is fresh and flavorful.

Consider these four reasons to make your own salad dressing at home:

Appeal: You have made a beautiful and colorful salad, but the bottles of store-bought salad dressing that have been in the refrigerator forever do not look appealing.  Knowing that you can create something delicious out of ingredients that you have on hand is convenient and empowering.  Not to mention versatile.  For example, if you are looking for a Mediterranean flair, add Dijon mustard and oregano to your basic vinaigrette (recipe below).

Control: Creating your own dressing means you control what goes in.  Store bought dressings can be highly processed and usually contain calories (a lot of them), added sugars, excess sodium and saturated fat.  Why is this important?

  • Added sugars can spike your blood sugar, make, make you hungrier later and add empty calories to your diet.
  • Eating too much sodium can cause high blood pressure which can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • The American Heart Association recommends a diet low in saturated fat to help control cholesterol levels.

Quality: With homemade dressing, you control the quality. Using ingredients such as fresh garlic, fresh lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil make for a delicious compliment to your salad.  Once you have tried fresh and flavorful dressings, you won’t want to go back to bottled!

Cost-Effective: Homemade dressings may cost less because you are using ingredients that you already have on hand!

So next time you are considering what to put on top of your salad, remember, it only takes a few minutes and a few simple ingredients to throw together a delicious dressing that is healthy, convenient, and delicious. Check out these simple recipes for your next homemade salad:


Basic Vinaigrette:

3 parts oil (such as extra virgin olive oil)
1-2 parts vinegar or your choice or citrus (such as lemon or lime juice)
Flavorings such as garlic, salt, pepper, or Dijon mustard

Lemon Vinaigrette:

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup
salt and pepper

Directions: Whisk the olive oil and fresh lemon juice together. Whisk in honey or maple syrup for a bit of sweetness. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Balsamic Vinaigrette

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Directions: Combine the balsamic vinegar with the Dijon mustard and minced garlic. Slowly add the olive oil while whisking to combine. Season with a bit of salt and pepper to taste.

Greek Yogurt Ranch Dressing

1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried dill
dash of cayenne pepper
dash of salt
fresh chives, chopped (optional)

Directions: Stir together the Greek yogurt, garlic powder, onion powder, and dried dill. Add a dash of cayenne pepper and salt. Garnish with fresh chives before serving (optional).


For more recipes, click here.

Written By: Kathryn Espeland, VA Dietetic Intern

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