Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Homemade Salad Dressing

Salad dressing 6

You have probably realized by now, I eat a lot of salads.  Typically one of my meals each day is a main course salad...nothing boring of course!

You may have also noticed, I don't buy salad dressing from the store…ever…I always make my own. It's so easy! This way I don't get stuck with a whole bottle of dressing that I may or may not like, I can change the flavor with each salad (which I think makes eating salads more interesting and delicious), and I get to decide what ingredients get used.  And did I mention it's easy?

I mostly make vinaigrettes (with oil, vinegar, and seasonings) ...sometimes I replace the vinegar with another acid (lemon, lime, or orange juice). The type of oil, vinegar (or citrus juice), and seasonings I use varies depending on the type of salad that I am making.  For example:

Mediterranean - olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper
Asian - canola oil and peanut/sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, honey, salt or soy sauce, cilantro, ginger
Mexican - lime juice, canola oil, cumin, cilantro, salt and pepper

Salad dressing 5  Salad dressing 4 

The possibilities are endless.  Some of my favorites from DG include:

Pepper Jelly Vinaigrette
Strawberry Vinaigrette
Lemon Balsamic Vinaigrette
Creamy Feta-Red Wine Vinegar Dressing …one of my FAVES!
Lemon-Oregano Vinaigrette

Most chefs would recommend using a 3:1 or 2:1 ratio of oil to vinegar...that would make for a dressing that is higher in calories and fat than I want on a daily basis. I use a 1:1 ratio...if I use 1/4 cup of vinegar I also use 1/4 cup of oil.  And I try to only use 2-3 tablespoons of dressing or less for a good sized salad (per person).

For a basic dressing made with 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard (plus salt and pepper) the nutrition info would look like this:

Per 2 tablespoons - 112 cal, 12 g fat (2 g saturated); counted as 2.5 fat exchanges

It may seem like a lot of fat, but its healthy (unsaturated) fat and this is where I choose to get my fat from each day (along with nuts/nut butter, fish, avocado, eggs, and some dairy). We all need fat to stay healthy. If you buy fat-free everything you may not be getting enough fat in your diet and your body won't be able to function efficiently.
Salad dressing 2  Salad dressing 1

All of the following recipes are for salad dressings...a few are higher in fat/calories than others, but all are healthy. Some have several ingredients, some only have a few.

Honestly, I don't follow a recipe - I use the 1:1 ratio and then add what ever I feel like adding.  I typically make salad dressing by shaking all of the ingredients in a small jar (I save mustard jars or small jelly jars).

I keep on hand several oils (sesame, olive, canola, walnut), vinegars (red wine, white wine, balsamic, rice wine, apple cider, sherry) and mustards (Dijon and whole grain), plus lemons...this way I can make a variety of dressings all the time.

For some of the recipes I've provided a link to a salad that the dressing can be paired with, but you could easily create your own.

And if you do buy bottled dressing, read here for the best ones.

Salad dressing 3

Dijon-Lemon Vinaigrette -

Honey Vinaigrette -

Green Goddess Dressing -

Roasted Tomato Vinaigrette -

  • Per 2 tablespoons - 19 calories, 1 g fat (0 g saturated), 1 g carbohydrate, 0 g protein (exchanges: free food)
  • Notes - Use caution when blending hot mixtures…make sure you leave the lid slightly open to let hot air escape

Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette -

  • Per 2 tablespoons - 106 calories, 12 g fat (2 g saturated), 2 g carbohydrate, 0 g protein (exchanges: 2 1/2 fat)

Creamy Caesar Dressing -

  • Per 2 tablespoons - 52 calories, 3.6 g fat (0.4 g saturated), 3.2 g carbohydrate, 1.6 g protein (exchanges: 1 fat)
  • Can be used with:
    - Caesar Salad with Bagel Croutons

Balsamic Vinaigrette -


Here is an interesting article on the history of our relationship with fat.

1 comment:

  1. Great Lagniappe on the Coffee Creamer. I use it EVERY morning....not anymore!