If you're looking for new ways to get excited about your latest leafy creations, the secret isn't just combining seasonal greens with interesting add-ins. Nothing makes us want to chow down on a salad more than topping it with the perfect dressing. Unfortunately, many store-bought dressings aren't super healthy because they're packed with preservatives and usually high in things like saturated fat which is why we're obsessed with creating our own simple salad dressings made from natural ingredients.
There are plenty of ways to make your own dressings. First, you can control exactly goes into your dressing, which is really helpful if you're trying to be more conscious about what you eat. You can also save money on unnecessary (and sometimes expensive) dressings and your fridge door will feel a little lighter with fewer bottles weighing it down.
While they aren't the star of the dish, these toppings stand out and they won't pack calories on to your meal. Here are our favorites:
1.) Strawberry Jalapeno Vinaigrette - Easy. Sweet. Spicy. Delicious. This vinaigrette will not disappoint with its combination of jalapeno, shallots, strawberry preserves, vinegar, olive oil and water. A quick whisk, and you're enjoying the perfect summer salad (with a kick).
2.) Lemon-Dill Vinaigrette is a fresh addition to any pasta salad, but we especially like it with orzo. Combine lemon zest and lemon juice with fresh dill, garlic, feta cheese, and 3 tablespoons of olive oil for a sweet and tangy dressing.
3.) Scallion Mint Dressing in the KeenWOW Bowl - I will be the first to admit that I wasn’t completely sure about this combination of lemon, mint scallions, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper, but once I blended it up and poured it over the quinoa and spinach in my Spicy Quinoa Salad Bowl, I achieved a level of happiness I never thought possible on a Monday.
4.) Sweet Lime Dressing is a combination that you can use all summer. We used it to top our Tomato-Corn Salad on our 4-serving family menu, but you can put that stuff on just about anything. Simply combine lime juice with garlic, honey, and 2 tablespoons olive oil, mix and youre ready to go!
5.) Canelli Bean Dressing in our Vegan Power Bowl - Sometimes a sweet and savory bowl calls for a dressing that is creamy and tangy. To create this topping, simply blend canelli beans, water, olive oil, apple cider vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. You can even add a little cumin for some additional layers of flavor and store any extra in a small mason jar to use later in the week.
To get started making your own natural salad dressings, consider investing in a good hand juicer for recipes that use lemon or lime juice as a base. Some of these dressings call for a blender or food processor, but keep in mind you can also use a smoothie blender like a Magic Bullet if you have one on hand. We also recommend using a small mason jar or a salad dressing shaker to make mixing and serving your dressing easy.
Check out our meal delivery service menu for even more salad dressing recipes and recipe inspiration! Our meal kits are designed to make your life easier by including prepped ingredients. Meals only take 30 minutes to prepare so you can cook from scratch any day of the week.