A salad dressing can make or break your meal.
You know the drill: A plate of naked greens? Call the drab police, because someone’s being super drab.
But greens drizzled with an outrageously good dressing or vinaigrette? Call the actual police, because a certain home chef (you) just absolutely killed it.
These healthy salad dressing recipes mix up flavors so well, the question is less “how do I make them?” and more “when do I stop?”
If the concept of Greek yogurt and cilantro or chipotle pepper and lime don’t tickle your fancy, then this isn’t the article for you.
Major bonus: Each recipe takes about 5 minutes to whip up. Because we know how much you wanna eat your fabulous salad.
If you squint hard enough, it may count as dessert.
1. Maple balsamic vinaigrette
We’ve got no beef with extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) and balsamic vinegar on their own at all. Both are delicious additions to a pile of veggies, nuts, and whatever else you feel like throwing into a salad bowl.
But if they’re your favorite go-to dressings? Oh, boy. You have got to mix them together. This variation is a pretty great place to start.
Adding maple syrup and mustard makes the EVOO and balsamic combo even sweeter and spicier. Look, we’re no advocates of putting maple syrup on everything (sorry, Elf fans). But heck, it might as well feature in your salad once in a while.
If you like your food naturally sweet (it’s the best type of sweet), we’ve got a breakdown of natural sweeteners that may surprise you.
2. Raspberry vinaigrette
This vinaigrette tastes just as good as it looks. It’s sweet as a (very welcome) result of the raspberries and honey. But Dijon mustard, chia seeds, and olive oil round out this healthy homemade salad dressing for more nutrients and complexity.
Whip this up in a mere 5 minutes for a week of flavorful, healthful, wonderful dressing. This vinaigrette is also a playful way to work apple cider vinegar into your diet.
Because who doesn’t like a bit of creamy goodness all over their salad?
3. Creamy cilantro lime dressing
Tex-Mex food isn’t just nachos, ground beef, and buckets of queso (although we probably wouldn’t turn down any of these right now).
With avocado, beans, and salsa standing out in any salad, it only makes sense that a worthy dressing accompanies them. Look no further. This blend of cilantro, lime, and garlic is ideal for drizzling over any Tex-Mex dish.
Greek yogurt adds the creamy texture, and it’s good for you. Now, for the yogurt to become the main attraction…
4. Greek yogurt Caesar dressing
If you love Caesar salads as much as we do, you know all about the struggle. That is, trying to find a dressing that isn’t packed with processed gunk and raw egg.
Where’s the solution? Right here, folks.
We were psyched to find this Greek yogurt Caesar dressing. Finally, the versatile ingredient takes center stage (we know you were all waiting for its big moment).
This recipe is evidence that eating Caesar salad doesn’t have to throw a wrench in your healthy-eating plans.
Now we’re getting serious.
5. Greek vinaigrette
Greece may own the rest of the world at many things — statues, yogurt, and cheese among them — but the noble Greek salad is maybe the zenith of the country’s achievements. And the star performer of any salad is its dressing.
This healthy homemade salad dressing goes with almost any salad. Not only are the colors beautiful, but the oregano adds a delicious flavor that differentiates it from other recipes.
And with a mere 5-minute prep time, what’s not to love? Opa! We love the Mediterranean diet for a reason.
6. The best soy and sesame dressing
Feel free to keep a jar of this in your fridge all the time to use not just on salads, but pasta and proteins as well! The soy sauce can give your meals an extra salty punch. Be sure to use a high quality olive oil.
Sometimes, however, you’re not in the mood for soy — or you’re fully allergic to it. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with some amazing Asian flavors that don’t contain even a drop of soy sauce.
If you’re into salads that make your eyes water, and not just because of the sheer beauty, you’ll be onto a winner here.
7. Chipotle lime vinaigrette
You’ve every right to zhuzh up your veggies with this chipotle dressing.
Those zingy flavors come from a combo of chipotle pepper, adobo sauce, and cumin — perfect for any hot sauce lover who wants something a bit healthier than chicken wings for lunch.
One of our writers even attempted to make their own hot sauce — here’s how it went.
With these seven dressings alone, you’ll be well on your way to eating salads every day and never repeating yourself.
Obviously, given that there are more than 7 days in the year, you’re going to have to start playing around with your salad recipes too. Why not give these fall classics a try? Or these Mexican salad concoctions? Or these lettuce-free options?
It’s a brave new world of salads. And now, you get to stride in with your head held high.