By Maryann Tomovich Jacobsen, MS, RD
I stopped buying salad dressing years ago when I realized how easy and tasty it is to make your own. Every Monday, I make enough salad dressing to last the week, keeping it in the fridge for quick access.
I reached out to other registered dietitians to find out what their favorite simple salad dressing recipes were and compiled a list of 10 excellent options. Warning: what you are about to read will make you want to eat a salad!
1. Sort of Sweet Balsamic Dressing: This is my favorite salad dressing. It’s three parts olive oil to one part balsamic vinegar (usually about 1/4 cup olive oil to 1-1.5 tablespoons balsamic). I add a crushed garlic clove, a pinch of brown sugar, and a splash (about 1/2 teaspoon) of red wine vinegar.
2. Basic Vinaigrette: This recipe is courtesy Kristen Smith, MS, RD, who blogs at 360 Family Nutrition. It makes about 1/2 cup or four servings: 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 1-3 teaspoons spicy mustard, 1 garlic clove (minced), 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.
3. Everyday Salad Dressing: Kimberly Buchholz, MS, RDN, shares her favorite dressing, which she says is best when made fresh each time. In a small bowl, add and whisk 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. With your whisk moving the whole time, add 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil in a small stream, until dressing is combined. “To serve two, use half of each of the first four ingredient amounts,” she adds. “For the olive oil, use 3 tablespoons.”
4. Lemon-Thyme Dressing: Jessica Levinson from Nutritioulicious likes this dressing with her Spinach Pear Salad With Goat Cheese: 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon honey, 1/4 teaspoon thyme, and salt and pepper to taste.
5. Lemon Avocado Salad Dressing: Lindsay Livingston, RD, who blogs at The Lean Green Bean, shares a simple dressing with creamy avocado: 1/3 cup mashed avocado, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon honey, and 2-3 tablespoons water (to reach desired consistency).
6. Maple Cider Vinaigrette: Ayla Withee, MS, RDN, from Eat Simply shares a salad dressing with just three ingredients: 1/3 cup olive oil, 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, and 2 tablespoons real maple syrup.
7. Simple Mustardy Dressing: This one comes from Kate Scarlata, RDN, LDN, best-selling co-author of The 21-Day Tummy: 1/8 teaspoon sea salt, 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, 2 teaspoons fresh chives (chopped), 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, and 3 tablespoons olive oil. Mix the first three ingredients, and let sit to let flavors infuse. Whisk in Dijon and olive oil.
8. Lime Salad Dressing: Julie Beyer, MA, RDN, shares this simple combination with the option of fresh chopped cilantro: 1/2 cup of olive oil, the juice of one lime, 2 tablespoons of honey, and salt and pepper to taste. “It is adds a burst of flavor when drizzled on fresh pineapple!” she says.
9. Beyond Basic Vinaigrette: Christine Palumbo, MBA, RDN, keeps it basic with the super-simple vinaigrette she grew up eating: equal amounts extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar (option is garlic-flavored red wine vinegar), a pinch of dried oregano, crushed between finger and thumb, to taste, and salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. “To make it a Greek dressing, substitute freshly squeezed lemon juice for the vinegar,” she says. “The amounts depend upon how much salad you are making. If you’re making a salad for two, about 1 tablespoon of each oil and acid.”
10. Greek Yogurt Balsamic Vinaigrette: This one from Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN, cofounder of the Nutrition Babes, is lower in fat and calories than traditional vinaigrettes: 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon nonfat plan Greek yogurt, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 3/4 teaspoon honey, and salt and pepper to taste.
What’s your favorite simple homemade salad dressing?