Dress it up - 3 healthy salad dressings

Healthy Salad Dressings

Step away from those gloopy bottled salad dressings that you can find in your local grocery store.  Many are full of strange looking ingredients that you would find hard to pronounce.  Often these are preservatives to ensure that they remain shelf stable for a long time.  I also find that many are loaded with sneaky sugars or honey which is obviously just another sugar.  

It is so super easy to make your own.  I tend to ring the changes each day and just make up a quick batch of something that will go with what I am preparing that evening.  However, you can make in bulk and keep dressings in the fridge to last you over a few days.  It's then easy to decant a bit into a small bottle that you can take with you to dress your lunchtime salad.  Below I have set out three simple dressing that you can whip up in a flash using store cupboard ingredients.

What oil to use?

Just keep it simple anything from light to extra virgin olive oil.  When you are feeling more adventurous try some other options such as hazelnut, walnut, pumpkin, avocado, etc which can all add different flavours.

A lot of people are frighted by the idea of adding oil to their food and get worried about the additional calories.  Remember not all fat is 'bad', we can get a whole load of goodness from some of the oils listed above.  Olive oil is rich in oleic acid which has a heart protective effect and is being researched for cancer prevention.  Walnut oil is rich in omega 3 fats, a fat that we can easily be deficient in which have an anti inflammatory effect in the body.

You need nothing more sophisticated than an empty jam jar which you can use to shake and emulsify the dressing and then use to store any remaining oil in the fridge.   

Classic vinaigrette 

1 measure vinegar - I use white wine, red wine or apple cider vinegar
2-3 measures olive oil
Dash of salt and ground pepper
Optional: herbs to add flavour to this such as minced garlic or dried herbs like oregano


Place in a jam jar and shake.  If I am making this for one meal I use 1 tbs vinegar to 2 tbs olive oil.  Multiply up to make larger batches.

Mustard dressing

I part white wine vinegar
1 tsp - 1 dessert spoon dijon mustard depending on how hot you like things
3 tbs olive oil
Optional: tarragon (dried or fresh)


Put the wine and mustard into the jam jar and shake well to emulsify.  When this is nice and thick add the olive oil and, if you are using it, the tarragon.  Shake well again.  

This is my go to dressing if I am honest and I make it on several days of the week.  Adjust the level of mustard according to your taste.  It makes a thick and creamy dressing.  

Note: it is best to emulsify the mustard and the vinegar first then add the oil.  Otherwise it has a tendency to split.

Satay dressing  

1 tbs nut butter - hazelnut works well as does almond or just good old peanut*
2 tbs lemon juice
4 tbs boiling water
A pinch of sea-salt


Place the nut butter into the jam jar with the boiling water.  Give a good shake to loosen it up.  Add the salt and lemon juice and shake again.  You can find that this thickens up over the course of time, so just loosen again with a splash of boiling water.

* when choosing a nut butter the ideal choice is one were the only ingredient is nuts.  With nothing else like palm oil or sugar added.