7 Salad Dressing Recipes to Master This Year

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Did you commit to eating more balanced and nutritious meals this year? Yay! Contrary to popular belief, your healthy options aren't limited to salads – but it doesn't hurt to have them often, either. If the thought of boring store-bought dressings makes you rethink your goals, consider making your own at home. Start with these salad dressing recipes!

These are easy to make and offer tons of flavor to elevate any bowl of greens. Best of all, they taste amazing on just about anything you whip up. Wins all around!

7 Salad Dressing Recipes to Master for a Healthy New Year

A bottle of olive oil is poured over fresh vegetable salad in a black bowl

Learning how to make homemade salad dressing for the first time? Keep these tips in mind!

  • Use good-quality oils, like olive or avocado, for vinaigrettes.
  • Blend or whisk your ingredients thoroughly to help them emulsify.
  • Have air-tight mason jars ready for easy mixing and storage.
  • Balance the essential flavor elements: salty, sweet, acidic, and umami.
  • Taste as you go to make sure your seasonings are just right.
  • Add fresh herbs whenever you can to brighten up the flavors.
  • Store your dressings properly to extend their shelf life.

1. Balsamic vinaigrette

An air-tight jar with balsamic vinaigrette surrounded with salad ingredients

When it comes to healthy salad dressing recipes, it doesn't get any easier than a balsamic vinaigrette. It’s a versatile, flavor-packed option that keeps well for weeks (or even months!) in the fridge. To make it, combine a 1:2 ratio of balsamic vinegar and olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. Optionally, add honey for a hint of sweetness. This dressing pairs well with most salads and a slew of other dishes, including grilled proteins, sandwiches, and warm grains.

2. Creamy ranch

A small jar with homemade ranch dressing and a side of greens

This all-American dressing has a reputation for being not-so-healthy, but a few tweaks can make it lighter. Traditional recipes call for a base of buttermilk, sour cream, and mayonnaise. Go ahead and replace the first two with Greek yogurt for a protein boost. You’ll still get a satisfying and creamy texture, but with less fat than classic ranch.

Go for Lady’s Choice Real Mayonnaise, which leans a little sweeter than other options, to counteract the sour yogurt. The other ingredients are equally simple – lots of garlic, herbs, and spices. Toss everything together, and your homemade ranch is ready! Enjoy as a dressing for classic cobb salad, a dip for buffalo chicken wings, or extra sauce for pizza.

3. Lemon garlic tahini

A jar of tahini being poured over fresh salad greens in a white bowl

Craving creamy but need to lay off the dairy? Tahini is the answer! Made from toasted ground sesame seeds, this Middle Eastern condiment is smooth and luscious. It's a key ingredient in sauces and side dishes from the region, including hummus – another hearty add-on for salads. On its own, tahini tastes nutty, earthy, savory, and slightly bitter.

You can balance these natural flavors with acidic elements like lemon juice, rice vinegar, and garlic. Finish it off with olive oil, maple syrup, and spices. This rich dressing is terrific for salads with warm components, like falafel bowls or roasted veggies.

4. Honey mustard

Honey mustard sauce being poured over a fresh vegetable salad

Honey mustard is a simple salad dressing recipe that most people enjoy. Good news for moms: that list includes kids, even the picky eaters! The beauty of honey mustard lies in its bright mix of sour, sweet, and savory flavors, easily achieved with a handful of ingredients. To make it, combine honey, Dijon mustard, oil, and mayonnaise until smooth. Done!

If you’re whipping up a dip for your kids' nuggets merienda, skip the oil and add more mayo for a thicker sauce. Have a big jar ready for the summer since this crowd favorite pairs perfectly with picnic food like sandwiches and chicken salads.

5. Miso ginger sesame

A jar of fermented miso paste

If miso paste isn’t a pantry staple in your household yet, this is your sign to get it on your next grocery trip. Like soy sauce, miso comes from fermented soybeans, which explains its distinct and deep umami.

The paste is the main seasoning in many soups, marinades, and sauces, including a few for salads. Mix it with minced ginger, sesame oil, and rice or apple cider vinegar, and you'll have a nutritious and delicious dressing. Tip: add nutritional yeast to give it a cheesy quality while keeping things light. It’s the secret to many savory vegan creations!

6. Green goddess

An overhead shot of green goddess dressing styled with avocados

Are you looking for fresh and bright flavors? You need to try the trending green goddess salad recipe! TikTok content creator and pastry chef Baked by Melissa popularized it in 2022, but the original has been around since at least the 1920s. That one features a base of mayonnaise and sour cream, so it’s worth trying if you love richer dressings.

Meanwhile, Melissa’s version is essentially a pesto. It features spinach, basil, shallots, olive oil, rice vinegar, cashews, and nutritional yeast, among other ingredients. Just blitz everything together, and you're good to go! Toss chopped cabbage, cucumbers, and green onions in the sauce, then enjoy the mixture like a dip with tortilla chips. You can also have the salad on its own, but the chips method is more fun. Perfect for parties, too!

7. Wafu (Japanese-style dressing)

A big bowl of Japanese-style salad with greens, tomatoes, garlic, and more

Most Japanese restaurants offer bento sets with miso soup and a side salad, which comes dressed in wafu. This Japanese-style vinaigrette contains soy sauce, rice vinegar, mirin, and oil in its basic form. Because of its simplicity, you can enhance this easy salad dressing with other flavors and spices.

Make it hotter with wasabi, bright and fruity with citrus, or punchier with garlic and ginger. Be inspired by your favorite Japanese recipes! Like other vinaigrettes, this works with almost any type of salad, especially those with a base of leafy greens.

It’s good to have nutritious options available at home, especially when you’re trying to commit to healthier habits. Make greens more exciting with these easy salad dressing recipes and say yes to more good-for-you food choices!

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