Food For Thought

Healthy Salad Dressing Options

Kate Glover, 06/18/2015

While eating salad is always a healthier option than the tempting cheeseburgers, pizza, and chicken wings, topping your salad with fatty dressings and oils will turn your healthy meal into what you were trying to avoid—empty calories and saturated fat that stifle your weight loss efforts.

Many processed salad dressings contain dangerous trans fats, sodium, lots of sugar, preservatives, and artificial flavors. Just two tablespoons of beloved ranch dressing contains an average of 126 calories from fat. And many of us won’t skimp on dressing and add more than two tablespoons! Saturated fat is known to raise cholesterol and cause obesity and heart disease, which means we are making ourselves susceptible to these health problems with poor dietary decisions.   

Instead of smothering salads in unhealthy calories, choose healthy dressing options that will make them both delicious and nutritious. Get creative with your salad toppings! You don’t need to stick with traditional types of dressings like vinaigrettes. Salsa, hummus, and even a squeezed lemon or lime can be great options for filling, tasty, healthy salad dressings. And the good news -- they are easy to make! If you have a high-speed blender, all you will need to do is toss your ingredients in for a few seconds and you will have a nutritious salad topping. Try some of these healthy salad dressing recipes that not only taste good but are good for you!


Pear Ginger Dressing

2 pears, quartered

⅓  cup balsamic vinegar

4 dried figs

2 tbsp lemon juice

½ cup water

1 tsp ground ginger

    Blend high-speed until creamy



3 cup cherry tomatoes

½  small red onion

3 cloves garlic

1 lime, squeezed

1 cup sliced jalapeno

1/2 cup cilantro

    Blend low-speed until chunky


Almond Balsamic Dressing

6 cloves garlic

1 cup water, as desired for consistency

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup whole raw almonds

1/2 cup packed raisin

1/4 cup chopped onion

1 tsp oregano

1 basil leaf

   Blend high-speed until creamy


Mango Passion Dressing

1 cup diced mango

2 tsp fresh ginger, grated (more or less according to taste)

¼ cup water, as desired for consistency

1 tbsp organic apple juice concentrate

    Blend all ingredients until creamy


Lemony Garlic Bean Hummus

4 cup black bean, drained and rinsed no-salt-added

1/4 tbsp raw tahini, organic

1/4 cup water.

6 cloves garlic, minced

4 tbsp lemon juice, to taste

2 tsp no-salt seasoning

1 tsp ground cumin

½  tsp cayenne pepper, to taste

½  tsp paprika, for garnish

    Blend all ingredients, except the paprika, until smooth. Add lemon juice or water for consistency as needed.

Adding avocado or balsamic vinegar to your salad are both great healthy dressing options. You could also squeeze a bit of lemon, lime, orange, or grapefruit juice over your salad. This will enhance the already-flavorful ingredients, and the vitamin C from the citrus will help your body absorb iron from your leafy greens. To compliment your healthy salad dressing options, throw in some raw nuts and seeds for extra crunch!

What are your favorite healthy salad dressing recipes? Share with us in the comments below!   



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