When you’re eating Paleo, chances are a fair amount of lunches will include salads. Yes, there are plenty of other meals to cook (like these Paleo lunch recipes), but when your main food groups are protein and veggies, salads make a lot of sense. After all, they can be customized a million different ways and take very little time to prep.
One of the ways to make salads a little more exciting? Change up the dressing. Make one (or two or five) of these Paleo salad dressings to rotate throughout the week. They taste just as a good (if not better) than store-bought kinds, and by making them homemade, you can guarantee that no amount of dairy, processed sugar, or preservatives will sneak in there. Bonus: Most of them can double as a dip for veggies or a sauce to dunk chicken or fish in too.
1. Green Goddess Dressing
Can we all agree that avocados just make everything better? This salad dressing combines our favorite fruit with olive oil, basil, lemon, and a dairy-free creamer. Nutpods (a Whole30-approved creamer) is popular for adding into coffee, but it also makes a pretty smart substitute for mayo. Who knew?!
2. Chipotle Bacon Ranch Dressing
Love bacon? Umm, yeah, us too. This creamy dressing tastes so good, you’d never believe it’s Paleo approved. Start with mayonnaise (like Primal Kitchen’s) and mix in almond milk, chipotle pepper, bacon, garlic, and a few herbs and spices. Careful, you might want to drizzle it over everything.
3. Honey Mustard Vinaigrette
Store-bought honey mustard tends to be loaded with sugar, but a few healthy swaps and it can be perfect for Paleo. This easy recipe calls for just four ingredients and tastes like a salad you’d pay $12 for (we all do it). Combine lemon juice, Dijon mustard, honey, and olive oil for a sweet dressing that has a hint of a kick.
4. Red Wine Vinaigrette
An oldie but a goodie. Red wine vinaigrette is a solid choice because you probably already have the ingredients in your pantry, and it has a neutral enough taste that it works on pretty much any salad. Here’s what you need: red wine vinegar, olive oil, garlic, Dijon, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning or oregano.
5. Sweet Onion Citrus Dressing
When you want something a little savory, a little sweet, and a little tart, this dressing checks all the boxes thanks to onions, honey, and lemon juice. Tapioca starch is used to thicken it up a bit, but it’s not necessary if you don’t have any on hand and don’t want to buy it (sometimes, the time crunch is real).
6. Carrot and Ginger Dressing
You know that orange dressing that comes on house salads at Japanese restaurants (hello, Benihana!)? This is the at-home version, and it’s so good. The orange and ginger combination makes it tart and tangy, and hey, it might just help when you feel a cold coming on.
7. Coconut Milk Ranch Dressing
If you’re not a bacon person or just want a classic ranch recipe, this coconut milk-based dressing will come in handy. After all, ranch can be used in so many different ways… as a salad dressing, to dunk carrots and celery in (like in your lunchbox days), or as a dip for wings (Paleo-approved ones, of course).
8. Paleo Caesar Dressing
Another classic you don’t have to give up on Paleo? Caesar! There are a few key substitutions to make it work, like nutritional yeast and coconut aminos, but the end result is just as good as the OG. BTW, this recipe is Whole30 approved, so it uses a date as a sweetener. You can swap it for half a teaspoon of honey if you prefer.
9. Creamy Maple Balsamic Dressing
If you’re used to drizzling balsamic over everything, treat yourself to this creamy version once in a while. It’s still tangy like regular vinegar but gets a little sweetness from maple syrup and thickness from Paleo-approved mayo. Add it to a spring salad with fresh tomatoes. Sorry, mozz, we’re taking a break from you.