Homemade Salad Dressing to
Kick Your Greens Up a Notch

I know it may seem like an extra step that isn’t really worth it, but making your own salad dressing can transform a formerly blah salad into a fabulous one.

These five recipes cover most of your basic flavor profiles for vinaigrettes and there is even an alternative to ranch.

Salads can get a bad rap for being a cold, unappealing diet food but I love luxurious salads with tons of flavor and all the fixin’s you can imagine. As vegetarians, salads aren’t just that measly teaser before the main course arrives. They are full bodied, nutritious multi-dimensional meals.

The problem is, until I my old roommate convinced me to make my own dressing, salads never felt like a practical thing to make at home because I don’t really like the store bought dressings. You may not know this, but most of them are chock full of hydrogenated oils (linked to cardiovascular disease) and corn syrup (linked to diabetes). And even if you do find that one variety that pleases your taste buds and has all the right stuff in it, it’s often $6 a bottle.

So I know making your own salad dressing may not be the first thing you had to check off your cooking list but trust me, it’s worth it. It’s one of the little secrets that will set you, and your meals, apart. Plus, it will make you enjoy eating those healthy greens more which will help you stick to a healthy diet.

All of these salad dressing recipes can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for a while.Toss out the commercially made, globby mystery sauce and replace them with these healthy and delicious alternatives.

For all of the recipes, combine ingredients in a food processor or whisk together by hand. If you’re going to manually mix them you will need to chop the ingredients into fine pieces to prevent chomping down on a whole clove of garlic.

And remember the finer the ingredients you put in, the better the dressing you’ll get out. This is especially true for the olive oil. I tend to keep one bottle of nice olive oil for dressings and one cheaper variety for cooking purposes. The cheaper ones tend to have a strong off-putting taste.

Citrus Vinaigrette Salad Dressing

  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • Zest and juice from 1 orange
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Soy Ginger Salad Dressing

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 ½ tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 quarter sized pieces of ginger, peeled
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons water

Cumin Lime Ranch Alternative

  • ½ cup plain yogurt
  • Zest and juice from 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • pinch of garlic powder
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Basic Vinaigrette

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon real maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon parmesan cheese
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Creamy Mustard Vinaigrette

  • ¼ cup tahini
  • 2 tablespoons brown or dijon mustard
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Zest and juice from 1 large lemon
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ walnut sized shallot

Try any of these salad dressings to dress up a simple green salad or pair with these vegetarian salads.

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