Food & Nutrition
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How to Make Your Own Healthy Salad Dressing

Salad on a plate

When you want to eat healthy, salads are a great place to start. And, with the right dressing, they can be downright delicious. The only problem? Many store-bought dressings contain added sugars and sodium that you don’t need. That’s why it makes sense to make your own.

Whether you’re beginning your kitchen adventures or you’re a seasoned chef, you can make your own salad dressing in minutes. All you need is the right formula. Once you’ve got the basics down, you’ll have endless options, along with the confidence to try new combinations and tweak your dressings to suit your tastes.

Ready to get started? Here’s what you need to know.

The Basic Formula: 3 Parts Oil + 1 Part Acid + Flavoring to Taste

This dressing formula has been popular for decades. It’s easy, adaptable and uses ingredients you probably already have on hand. Your homemade dressing has three basic components: oil, acid and (optional) flavoring. Here’s a breakdown of what these components may include:

  • Oil

Take your pick of olive oil, grapeseed oil, avocado oil or nut oils. Whether you opt for roasted walnut oil or flaxseed oil or another oil entirely is totally up to you.

  • Acid

For your acid, choose from various types of vinegar (such as balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar, among others) or citrus juices (for example, lemon juice, orange juice or lime juice).

  • Optional Flavorings

While the most basic flavoring choices are salt and pepper, you can get creative by adding ingredients such as minced garlic, grated Parmesan cheese, mustard, herbs, jam, honey, tahini or soy sauce.

How to Make Your Dressing

To make your dressing, first, gather your ingredients. Next, whisk together the acid and your desired flavorings. Then, keep whisking and slowly drizzle in your oil. Stop frequently to taste the mixture and see if you like it before adding more oil. Finally, adjust the flavorings to your taste. Store the mixture in an airtight container in the fridge and use as desired.

Try These Tasty Recipes

Here are a few tasty suggestions to give you an idea of how the formula works. For an Asian twist, combine olive oil, rice vinegar, minced garlic, a little soy sauce and some sesame seeds. Or go Italian and mix up a dressing with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, grated Parmesan and garlic.

Do you like creamy dressings? If so, use a light mayonnaise as your oil, and combine it with lemon juice and herbs. Are you looking for a classic dressing? You can’t go wrong with olive oil, white wine vinegar, fresh thyme, Dijon mustard and honey. The more you experiment, the more combinations you’ll discover.

Once you know how to make your own salad dressing, the possibilities are endless. Incorporate your favorite flavors and try new combinations to keep your salads interesting and delicious.

Shanna Mallon

Shanna Mallon

Shanna Mallon is a Nashville writer and food blogger (http://foodloveswriting.com) who likes real food and real talk. Her work has been featured by Bon Appetit, Better Homes & Gardens, BlogHer and Entrepreneur.

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Shanna Mallon

Shanna Mallon is a Nashville writer and food blogger (http://foodloveswriting.com) who likes real food and real talk. Her work has been featured by Bon Appetit, Better Homes & Gardens, BlogHer and Entrepreneur.

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