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Homemade Salad Dressings

By July 14, 2013May 30th, 2015Dressings, Nutrition Information, Raw, Recipes, Salads

I love salad and in the summer I often have salad as my dinner.  When it is so warm out I prefer eating lighter in the evening.  In order for my salad to be satisfying I need a good dressing. I like something hearty with fat, fiber and protein.

I always make salad dressing on Sunday to have on hand for the week ahead.  This week I am on my liver vacation.  The Nourishing Foods Summer Cleanse – Restore Your Liver starts tomorrow.  In this cleanse we are eating lots of raw food so I am preparing a few salad dressings today.

Salads are pretty bland until you put a great dressing on them.  A great dressing transforms a salad into a delicious satisfying meal.  When you have dressings on hand it is so easy to put together a great salad in just a few minutes.

It might be easy to open a bottle of dressing but be careful you don’t turn a healthy salad into a toxic, fattening mess.

Sugar and Artificial Sweeteners

Many people buy low fat, low calories dressings to put on their salads. because they think this makes them healthy and less fattening. This may not be your best choice.  If you buy reduced fat dressings they usually have sugar or some type of artificial ingredients to make them taste good. Read your labels.  You don’t want dressing with any sugar or high fructose corn syrup. If your dressing is low in fat and calories it may have some type of artificial sweetener in it.  Those artificial sweeteners are more unhealthy than sugar.

Vegetable Oils

Most store bought salad dressing are made with vegetable oil, canola oil, soybean oil or sunflower oil.  These oils are inflammatory and may contain trans fats that are not even on the label.  The oils I use in salad dressings are extra virgin olive oil, sesame oil and flax oil.  I often make dressings without oil and instead use seeds like sesame, sunflower and hemp to provide the fat in the dressing. The seeds also provide protein and fiber making the dressing even more satisfying and healthy.

Instead of buying dressings make your own dressings with healthy fats.  Dressings with healthy fats will help you burn fat and give you sustained energy. Homemade dressings are also less expensive.

Make a commitment today to make one salad dressing a week to have on hand.  You will see how much easier it is to have a salad and how much more you enjoy your salads when you have the dressings you really like available.

Once you get a repertoire of 3 or 4 dressings and you switch them around  each week you will never go back to store bought dressing again.

Below are 5 of my favorite dressings:

All the dressings are Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Paleo and Vegan

Simple Dressing

In a pinch you can always make this simple dressing, it only takes a few minutes.  

Yield: 2 side salads or 1 meal size salad

1 Tb  balsamic vinegar or apple cider vinegar
3 Tb extra virgin, cold pressed olive oil
¼- ½ tsp celtic sea salt

  • Mix the vinegar and salt together in a small bowl. Stir to dissolve the salt.
  • Slowly pour in the olive oil, using a fork to whisk while you pour. The dressing will emulsify.

Tips for dressing salads: Be sure your greens are dry so the water doesn’t dilute the dressing. Use a salad spinner or wrap in kitchen towels to dry. After placing the ingredients in the bowl, drizzle the dressing around the edge of the bowl and then gently mix to even distribute it. Use your hands instead of tongs to toss the greens. You just want the greens to have a light coating on them. Using your hands will let to feel how much dressing you need. Too much dressing makes your salad soggy. Usually 2 Tb for a side salad is enough. You can always add more.                   

 Cilantro Hemp Dressing 

This is a rich hearty dressing, a little sweet from the coconut.  The hemp seeds are also a little sweet. They contain healthy Omega 3 fats and are high in protein. Don’t worry there is no THC in the hemp seeds, it won’t make you high.

Cilantro detoxes heavy metals and is good for your liver.  It is also anti viral, antibacterial, helps cleanse the colon and lowers candida.  If you don’t like cilantro you can substitute dill.

Yield: 1 ½ cups

1 cup hemp seeds
4 Tb lemon juice
2 Tb wheat free tamari
1 Tb nutritional yeast
1 Tb shredded coconut
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup olive oil
2 clove garlic chopped
¼ tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp fresh pepper
½  cup fresh cilantro

  • Put all ingredients except the cilantro into a blender.
  • Blend until smooth.
  • Add cilantro and blend just to incorporate.       You want to see specks of the greens.
  • This will last 4 – 5 days in the refrigerator


Asian Sunflower Seed Dressing

Sunflower seeds are rich in vitamin E which helps to control inflammation.  They provide  healthy plant oils necessary for the absorption of the fat soluble vitamin A, C, and E.

Yield: 1 ½ cups

½ cup sunflower seeds*
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 Tb fresh ginger chopped
1 clove garlic chopped
1 Tb dark sesame oil
2 Tb wheat free tamari
Pinch cayenne
¼ tsp Celtic sea salt
¾-1 cup water

  • Put all ingredients into a blender except the salt and water.
  • Add ½ cup of  the water and blend to a smooth paste
  • Add the rest of the water to desired consistency, it will thicken when you refrigerate it, so you want it to be pourable
  • Taste for salt, add if desired.
  • Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator. This dressing will keep for 4-5 days.

*Nutrition Note:  Soak sunflower seeds 4 hours for easier digestion



Avocado Shallot Dressing

This dressing uses avocado as the fat instead of oil. The creamy luxurious texture of the avocado as well as the fat make the avocado appealing and satisfying. Avocados keep you full without adding huge amounts of calories.  Most of the fat in an avocado is monounsaturated — the “good” kind that actually lowers cholesterol levels. Mono-saturated fats help lower blood pressure and keep receptors in the brain sensitive to mood enhancing serotonin.

Avocadoes provide all 18 essential amino acids necessary for the body to form a complete protein. Unlike the protein in steak, which is difficult for most people to digest, avocado protein is readily absorbed by the body.

Yield: ¾ cup

1 ½ tsp chopped shallot
1 tsp Dijon mustard
3 Tb lemon juice
½ tsp Celtic Sea Salt
1 avocado mashed
¼ – ½ cup water as needed
Pinch of cayenne

  • Put everything into a blender except the water.
  • Start blending adding enough water to make it smooth.
  • Use within 2-3 a days as the avocado does not hold too long.

Tahini Dill Dressing

This dressing also does not use oil, instead it uses tahini. Tahini is full of essential nutrients including B vitamins, Even a small serving is a good source of protein, fiber and minerals. It has no cholesterol and 82 percent of the total fat consists of healthy unsaturated fats that lower levels of cholesterol. Sesame seeds are one of the best sources of copper and also provide iron and phosphorous.

Yield: ¾ cup

1/4 cup tahini
2 Tb lemon juice
1/4 cup water
1 tsp garlic, minced
¼ cup fresh dill finely chopped
1 TB wheat free tamari

  • Mix all ingredients together in a bowl
  • Whisk with a mini whisk or fork until smooth

If you want the plain version you can go find it on my blog Tahini Dressing

Let me know which of these dressing you like.  I love feedback.



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