Easy Recipes For Healthy Salad Dressings

By:    Published: January 29, 2012

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Many people who are looking to lose weight and stay healthy try to eat salads regularly. Because most salads are full of great veggies with proteins or fruits added on top, they are a great way to cut calories while still eating a delicious and filling meal. However, the dressings which are added to these salads are often taken for granted. In fact, many salad dressings you find in grocery stores today are high in calories, cholesterol, fat or preservatives. If you really want to get the most out of the salads that you eat, make sure you choose a healthy dressing to go with them as well. Below are some recipes for delicious (and healthy) salad dressings that you can make right at home.

1. Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

Ranch dressing is arguably the most popular dressing today. It is just as likely to be used as a dip for fruits, veggies or other snacks as it is as a salad dressing. Unfortunately, many ranch dressings that you find at the grocery have a lot of fat and calories. This handy recipe contains hardly any calories or fat, so it's a great way to add that fresh and creamy flavor without the negative health effects.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • ¼ cup low-fat mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoons of granulated garlic
  • ½ teaspoons of salt
  • ½ teaspoon of pepper
  • ¼ cup of fresh herbs, chopped (chives, basil, dill, etc.)

Whisk all the ingredients except the herbs in a dish. Once fully mixed, stir in the chopped herbs and serve.

2. Raspberry Vinaigrette

Because of its fresh and fruity flavor, raspberry vinaigrette is just as delicious as a dressing for a fruit salad as it is for a salad of greens. Plus, it's one of the easiest dressings to make on this list. Although canola oil may be used to make it, try to get grapeseed oil for a richer flavor profile.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup grapeseed oil or canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons of raspberry vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon of salt
  • A pinch of pepper

Whisk all ingredients except the oil in a dish. Slowly whisk the oil in last. If necessary, add more pepper to taste.

3. French Dressing

This tangy dressing has long been a favorite for salads, and now you can make it right at home with just a few basic ingredients. The key to getting the best flavors out of this dressing is to use fresh chopped thyme and freshly crushed garlic rather than the pre-packaged versions of those ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup tomato juice
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of chopped thyme
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • ¼ teaspoon of pepper

Add all the ingredients to a food processor or blender and mix until completely smooth.

4. Bleu Cheese Dressing

When you crave big, bold flavors, bleu cheese dressing is a great option. Unfortunately, this is another option that often comes with a lot of fat when purchased from the store. By making your own version of this dressing at home, you can have the rich taste of bleu cheese with fewer calories and grams of fat.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup low-fat mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup nonfat plain yogurt
  • 1/3 cup skim milk
  • 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons of white vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • ½ teaspoon of pepper
  • 1 ounce of crumbled bleu cheese

Whisk all the ingredients except the bleu cheese in a dish. Once fully mixed, add the cheese and stir. If necessary, mash the crumbles of bleu cheese to create a smoother texture.

5. Caesar Dressing

Caesar salads have a very distinct taste that simply can't be replicated by any other dressing. Make your own Caesar dressing (complete with anchovies) right at home with this easy recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup low-fat mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup low-fat sour cream
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of mustard
  • 1 ½ teaspoon of lemon juice
  • 1 ½ teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 anchovy fillets, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ teaspoon of pepper

Whisk the mayo, sour cream, buttermilk, vinegar, mustard, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce in a dish. Then, stir in the anchioves, garlic, pepper and Parmesan.

Healthy Dressing Tips

Get the most out of your healthy dressings by using the following tips:

  • Try putting a specific amount of dressing on the side when you eat a salad rather than pouring it on top. You'll be better able to control your portions this way. About one or two tablespoons of dressing is adequate for most entrée-sized salads.
  • By dipping your fork into the dressing, you can make sure to get a taste of your homemade dressing with every bite, while only eating a fraction of the calories.
  • Always look for low-fat or non-fat options when shopping for ingredients. Making healthy choices at the store will help make your homemade dressings even better for you.
  • Cover and refrigerate all your dressings immediately after you are done mixing them. Remember that these dressings will not keep as long as store-bought dressings, so make smaller amount each time rather than large batches.

Sources:

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