Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Cheap, Healthy Salad Dressing: 102 Light Recipes

Ah, Spring - the birds are singing, the trees are budding, the construction next door has resumed, the writers’ strike is over, and last but not least, salad season is finally upon us. So gather ‘round, my leafy green-lovin’ compatriots, and let’s talk dressing.

Much like marinades and mixes, making your own salad dressing is a frugal, delicious, and preservative-free exercise. The problem, alas, is the fat content, as homemade toppings generally contain a small tureen of olive oil. While the heart-healthy liquid can have enormous health benefits in moderation, let’s face it – sometimes you just want (need?) to pile the stuff on.

Subsequently, as a naked salad is a dinnertime tragedy, listed below are 102 recipes for lightened dressings of all colors, shapes, consistencies, and flavors. They come from a variety of sources, including Eating Well and Cooking Light, both of which have dozens more deep within their recipe pages. And for those of you wishing to branch out? is another excellent resource, and includes a long inventory of options that haven't been added here. If anyone out there knows of other neato sites, please share! (The comment section is waiting for your call.)

Oh yeah - one more thing: many of the dressings have good-to-excellent ratings on their home sites, but I haven’t tried a single one myself. Thus, this a strictly try-at-your-own-risk adventure. (A saladventure?) Like an Indiana Jones movie, only with lettuce.

Now, go forth and eat salad!

Asian-inspired Dressings

Cooking Light: Ginger-Sesame Vinaigrette
Epicurious: Spicy Vietnamese Dressing
Mayo Clinic: Ginger-Miso Dressing
Recipe Zaar: Asian Ginger Dressing

Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressings
Cooking Light: Balsamic Vinaigrette
Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette
Serious Eats: Light Balsamic Vinaigrette

Blue Cheese Dressings
All Recipes/Taste of Home: Low-Fat Blue Cheese Dressing
Cooking Light: Blue Cheese Salad Dressing
Cooking Light: Blue Cheese-Buttermilk Dressing
Eating Well: Creamy Blue Cheese Dressing
Epicurious: Blue Cheese Dressing

Buttermilk Dressings
Epicurious: Buttermilk Dressing
Mayo Clinic: Buttermilk Dressing
Recipe Zaar: Cayenne Buttermilk Dressing

Caesar Dressings
Alton Brown: No Guilt Caesar Dressing
Cooking Light: Caesar Dressing
Cooking Light: Creamy Caesar Dressing
Eating Well: Caesar Salad Dressing

Curry Dressings
All Recipes/USA Weekend: Non-Fat Curry Dressing
Epicurious: Curry Dressing
King County: Curry Dressing

French Dressings
CD Kitchen: Low-Calorie French Dressing
Eating Well: French Dressing
Recipe Zaar: Makeover Creamy French Dressing

Fruit-based Dressings
All Recipes: Orange Vinaigrette
All Recipes: Raspberry Vinaigrette
Cooking Light: Citrus Vinaigrette
Cooking Light: Cranberry Vinaigrette
Cooking Light: Vanilla-Pear Vinaigrette
Dottie’s Weight Loss Zone: Ginger Orange Dressing
Dottie’s Weight Loss Zone: Raspberry Vinegar Dressing
Dottie’s Weight Loss Zone: Garlic-Lemon Dressing
Eating Well: Moroccan-Spiced Lemon Dressing
Eating Well: Orange-Oregano Dressing
Eating Well: Orange-Sesame Dressing
Ellie Krieger: Apple Cider Dressing
Epicurious: Creamy Lemon Dressing
Epicurious: Creamy Mango Dressing
Epicurious: Grapefruit-Ginger Dressing
Epicurious: Tangerine Dressing
Recipe Zaar: Honey Lime Dressing
Recipe Zaar: Lemon, Orange, and Dill Salad Dressing
Recipe Zaar: Lemon Yogurt Vinaigrette
Recipe Zaar: Orange Honey Vinaigrette
Recipe Zaar: Strawberry Vinaigrette

Green Goddess Dressings
Cooking Light: Green Goddess Dressing
Epicurious: Green Goddess Dressing
Recipe Zaar: Green Goddess Salad Dressing

Herb-based Dressings
Dottie’s Weight Loss Zone: Basil Vinaigrette
Dottie’s Weight Loss Zone: Creamy Herb Dressing
Eating Well: Creamy Tarragon Dressing
Epicurious: Creamy Basil Dressing
Epicurious: Mint Dressing
Recipe Zaar: Dijon Herb Dressing

Honey Mustard & Mustard Dressings
All Recipes: Mustard Salad Dressing
Alton Brown: Honey Mustard Dressing
Cooking Light: Creole Honey Mustard Dressing
Cooking Light: Dijon Vinaigrette
Cooking Light: Honeyed Lemon-Dijon Vinaigrette
Dottie’s Weight Loss Zone: Honey-Mustard Dressing
Epicurious: Honey-Mustard Dressing
Kathleen Daeleman: Mustard Vinaigrette
Recipe Zaar: Creamy Mustard Dressing

Italian Dressings
All Recipes: Italian Dressing Mix
Juan Carlos Cruz: Creamy Italian Dressing
Recipe Zaar: Creamy Italian Dressing
Recipe Zaar: Italian Dressing

Poppy Seed Dressings
Cooks Recipes: Honey Poppy Seed Dressing
Dottie’s Weight Loss Zone: Poppy Seed Dressing
Recipe Zaar: Lowfat Poppyseed Dressing

Russian Dressings
Eating Well: Russian Dressing
Geocities: Russian Dressing – Low-Fat
Geocities: Russian Dressing Lo-Cal

Ranch Dressings
All Recipe/Taste of Home: Low-Fat Ranch Dressing
Cooking Light: Ranch Dressing
Eating Well: Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
Eating Well: Creamy Dill Ranch Dressing
Ellie Krieger: Ranch Dressing
Epicurious: Low-Fat Herbed Ranch Dressing
Recipe Zaar: Creamy Ranch Dressing
Recipe Zaar: Healthy Homemade Ranch Dressing
Recipe Zaar: Ranch Dressing

Thousand Island Dressings
Cooking Light: Thousand Island Dressing
Epicurious: Low-Fat Thousand Island Dressing
Recipe Zaar: Extreme Low-Fat Thousand Island Dressing
Sara Moulton: Low Fat Thousand Island Dressing

Vegetable-based Dressings
Cooking Light: Roasted Shallot Vinaigrette
Cooking Light: Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette
Dottie’s Weight Loss Zone: Creamy Garlic and Chive Dressing
Dottie’s Weight Loss Zone: Fresh Tomato Vinaigrette
Epicurious: Creamy Chive Dressing
Recipe Zaar: Creamy Cucumber Dressing
Recipe Zaar: Onion Garlic Low Cal Salad Dressing

Other Dressings
Cooking Light: Honey Vinaigrette
Dottie’s Weight Loss Zone: Basic Vinaigrette
Eating Well: Creamy Feta Dressing
Eating Well: Warm Maple Dressing
Ellie Krieger: Greek Dressing
Epicurious: Tamarind Dressing
Epicurious: Tasty Diet Dressing
Recipe Zaar: Golden Middle-East Dressing

(Photos courtesy of DNROnline.)

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Hops said...

Ranch dressing is everything that's wrong with this country.

Anonymous said...

Agreed, hops--ranch should never have ventured forth from the hidden valley.

Also, when I want to keep it light, I dress my salad with a few squeezes of lemon juice or a drizzle of good vinegar. (Berry vinegars are especially great on summer greens.) Toss in some salt and freshly ground pepper, and you're in fat-free business.

Love the site, Kris!

-J. Sassydo

mamacita said...

Awesome post. Thank you so much for gathering all of these in one spot.

Don't be hatin' -- ranch dressing has its place.

Aaron Stroud said...

Thanks for compiling this list! I'm going to pass it on to my wife who enjoys sprucing up her salads.

I prefer to compact my greens. They're easier and faster to eat when they stick together!

Mother Rimmy said...

What an awesome resource! I've saved this. Thank you!!

Katherine Josh said...

Love your post!!!

i've been drinking bird nest soup every night (i only get the homemade kind back at home). the only reason why i drink it is because it's supposed to be good for complexion.

i’ve been taking the store-bought kind online (e.g. of famous branded only of course) which is directly mailed from Hong Kong. this would be at a more affordable price.

Anonymous said...

I have to say ranch isn't helping anyone in this country

Larry Moon said...

HELP! My girlfriend is on a diet from her doctor and she loves salads and she can have them, it's just the dressings that she can't have. No fruits or fruit juices, no tomatoes, no dairy of any kind and no vinegar. No pepper and I'm sure I'm forgetting something! I'm just trying to help her and can't find anything!! Any suggestions?

Anonymous said...


Try Walden Farms Calorie Free Salad Dressings. No calories, fat, carbs, gluten or sugars.