• Jamie McDermott, MS, RD

Easy, Healthy, Salad Dressings

Updated: Nov 16, 2019

Empower yourself in the kitchen by easily making your own salad dressing, with so many variations!


I used to be so intimidated by homemade salad dressing, thinking that it was for someone who really knew what they were doing in the kitchen. Fortunately, that belief was proven wrong during my education in nutrition and dietetics. I had to take a class in Food Science, where I was taught so much about the basic properties of food, and how to combine them in simple ways to create amazing, homemade recipes. I also wanted to learn how to make my own dressing to try to consume a diet based around whole, real foods.


One of the first things we learned about was how oils and fats work together with acids to affect the texture and flavor of our food. Acids are frequently used as tenderizers as they can break down the fibers and proteins in the food. They are also chock full of flavor and are detected strongly by our tastebuds. But, they can be overpowering, and that is where fats come into the picture! Oils and fats serve as flavor and texture enhancers, and also to soften the "bite" that we all have experienced before. In the case of vegetables, they also are critical in helping us to absorb certain vitamins that are known as "fat soluble."


The most basic salad dressing involves combining an oil (usually olive oil) and an acid (vinegar), hence the reason that oil and vinegar are often paired together in a cruet. Of course many dressings have additions, but when you're in a pinch, use equal parts olive oil and vinegar, and add in some salt and pepper, and minced garlic if you have it.


In moderation, of course I'm okay with store bought dressings - but the dark side of these is that the majority contain large amounts of soybean oil, which is high in inflammation promoting Omega-6 fatty acids. Extra virgin olive oil, on the other hand, is chock full of Omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce inflammation. Why should you care? Because inflammation is at the root of many chronic diseases, such as heart disease, and cancer, among many others.


Today, I'm happy to share with you the simple salad dressing recipe that I use in my home, plus lots of delicious variations! I use this for waaay more than just salads. Its amazing as a base for sautéed vegetables (kale and green beans are favorites!), as a marinade for meat, poultry or fish, and even for roasting veggies such as zucchini, peppers, and onions. I'd love to hear what you think of this recipe, and suggestions you would have, and of course any new ideas that you come up with on your own! Cheers to yummy salads and more!


Basic Vinaigrette Dressing

10 servings

2 Tbsp per serving


1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar or lemon juice

1 tsp mustard (I usually use Dijon)

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp stevia or sugar


1. Combine all ingredients and whisk with a fork to combine. Store in a lidded container, refrigerated, for up to 2 weeks. If oil hardens in the fridge, leave out for 10 minutes before serving. Shake before using.



Red Wine or Champagne Vinaigrette Dressing


To the basic vinaigrette recipe, substitute red wine or champagne vinegar for the balsamic vinegar.



Bleu Cheese, Goat Cheese, or Feta Cheese Vinaigrette Dressing


To the basic vinaigrette recipe, add 1/4 cup of crumbled bleu cheese, goat cheese, or feta cheese. If you're feeling fancy, add in a few tablespoons of crumbled bacon!



Creamy Italian Dressing


1/4 cup mayonnaise (this is our favorite mayo)

1/3 cup white wine vinegar

1 tsp mustard (I usually use Dijon)

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1 tsp dried Italian seasoning

2 tsp stevia or sugar


1. Combine all ingredients and whisk with a fork to combine. Store in a lidded container, refrigerated, for up to 2 weeks. Shake before using.



Mexican Lime Vinaigrette


1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup white wine vinegar

1 tsp mustard (I usually use Dijon)

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1 tsp dried Italian seasoning

2 tsp stevia or sugar


1. Combine all ingredients and whisk with a fork to combine. Store in a lidded container, refrigerated, for up to 2 weeks. If oil hardens in the fridge, leave out for 10 minutes before serving. Shake before using.


Asian Sesame Dressing


1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil

1 Tbsp lime juice

2 Tbsp soy sauce, liquid aminos, or coconut aminos

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar (can be purchased at any major grocery store or here)

1 tsp ground ginger

1 Tbsp honey or stevia


1. Combine all ingredients and whisk with a fork to combine. Store in a lidded container, refrigerated, for up to 2 weeks. If oil hardens in the fridge, leave out for 10 minutes before serving. Shake before using.

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