The ability to whip up a quick, tasty, and healthy salad dressing makes eating lots of raw vegetables and salads really easy and delicious. Keep in mind that “salad dressing” and “healthy” do not go together when you order from a restaurant or buy it in a bottle from the store. Those versions of salad dressing almost always contain dangerous amounts of salt and unhealthy oils. So it’s important to avoid them or minimize their use if you want to be really healthy. Instead, use this simple four step healthy salad dressing template to help you make a wide variety of delicious dressings to use at home or bring with you.
- Start with a tasty acid like balsamic vinegar, white balsamic, rice vinegar, lemon juice or lime juice.
- Balance the acid with something sweet. The best sweeteners are dried fruit like dates, raisins, apricots, or sweet fruit juices and berries.
- Include a nutrient rich healthy fat instead of oil. Raw nuts and seeds like almonds, cashews, sesame or sunflower seeds work great as does avocado. These healthy fats make the dressing rich and creamy and are important for helping you absorb the fat-soluble vitamins in the green vegetables. The nuts and seeds can also be in a raw, unsalted, nut butter form. It’s best to stick with nut butters or avocado if you are using a basic low-powered blender to make dressings because they don’t have the power to make a creamy dressing from whole nuts and seeds.
- Spice it up. Choose dry spices or fresh herbs that will complement your salad or vegetable ingredients. Go Italian, or Mexican, or Morrocan, or classic garlic and onion. Use your imagination and experiment to find a favorite blend!
To get you started, here’s a quick Fresh-Mex salad with a lime and chili dressing that makes a great lunch! Try it and let’s hear what you think. Or, if you already have a favorite healthy dressing recipe please share it in the comments so we can give it a try too!
- 4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
- 3/4 cup chopped watercress
- 1 medium carrot, sliced
- 1/4 cup onion, diced
- 1 tomato, diced
- 1 ear's worth of raw sweet corn kernels, shaved off the ear
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1/3 avocado, diced
- 1/2 can of no salt added black beans
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1 medjul date, pitted
- 1 ounce raw cashews, (could substitute a tablespoon of raw cashew or almond butter)
- 1 dash onion powder
- 1 dash garlic powder
- 2 dashes chili powder
- 1 dash ground cumin
- 1/2 cup water
- Prepare salad ingredients and layer them into a big glass bowl.
- Combine all the dressing ingredients in the small jar of a high powered blender. Blend until smooth and creamy.
- Dress the salad and enjoy!