healthy salad dressing recipes?

Old 08-12-2010, 05:21 AM
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Default healthy salad dressing recipes?

hello all
today for dinner i had a grilled chicken salad w/ a thousand islands dressing
which turned out to be a BIG mistake sodium and cholesterol wise.
i was wondering if any has any healthy salad dressing recipes to make at home, i desperately need to ditch the store bought dressing and make my own.
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Old 08-12-2010, 06:03 AM
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Default A few ideas...

Here are a couple of recipes from the Light Basics Cookbook by Martha Rose Schulman, which is hands down my favorite cookbook. Practically everything I cook nowadays has its roots in this cookbook.

Lowfat Yogurt or Buttermilk Vinaigrette

2 Tbsp. good quality red wine vinegar, sherry vinegar, or champagne vinegar OR 1 Tbsp. of fresh lemon juice and 1 Tbsp. vinegar of your choice.
1 small garlic clove, peeled and finely minced or pressed
1/8 to 1/4 tsp of salt to your taste
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup plain nonfat yogurt OR 5 Tbsp. buttermilk
1 Tbsp. water (or more to taste if using yogurt)
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Mix together the vinegar or lemon juice and vinegar with the garlic, salt and mustard using a fork or small whisk. Stir in the olive oil and yogurt with water or buttermilk. Season with pepper. Thin out with more water as desired. 2 Tbsp. is about 45 calories of homemade goodness.

*You can also make a lemon version by omitting the vinegar all together and substituting 2 Tbsp. lemon juice instead.

**This is also very good with walnut oil instead of EVOO

***Schulman also recommends a cumin version where you add 1/2 tsp. ground cumin to the mixture and subtract 1/2 tsp. of mustard. Haven't tried this yet, but sounds yummy!


Another dressing (maybe more of a dip?) I make often is a version of Tzatziki, which is a Greek cucumber and yogurt sauce. This is also adapted from Schulman's book. It can be a little bit of an acquired taste, but I like it in the summer, especially with grilled meats and veggies. This recipe isn't so formal -- I just add until it tastes good, so experimentation is alright:

Greek-Style Cucumber Yogurt Sauce
(Great for dipping carrots and other veggies, on a chicken and spinach salad, or on various sandwiches)

Salt to taste
1 European cucumber peeled and grated OR 1-2 regular cucumbers seeded, peeled and grated.
1.5 cups plain nonfat yogurt (Greek yogurt is best, but the flavor is much stronger -- when I make this for my mom, I just go with ordinary plain, unsweetened yogurt because the greek is too "intense" for her.)
2-3 garlic cloves, minced (I sometimes use more -- the garlic will taste really spicy when paired with the mild flavor of the cukes.)
1-2 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint or dill (optional)
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar (optional)
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (the original recipe recommends this amount, but sometimes I leave it out entirely; it tastes good either way.)
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Generously salt the grated cucumber, toss, and let sit in a strainer in the sink for 15-30 minutes. Rinse and squeeze out the water. Toss the cucumber with the yogurt and remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl. Taste. Add seasonings as you see fit. Refrigerate (it keeps for a few days!). If you go all out with the EVOO and vinegar etc, it'll cost you about 120 calories for 1/3 cup (ends up being about 1/6 of recipe) -- I usually eat about half that much in a sitting.

Hope this helps!
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Old 08-12-2010, 06:10 AM
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Very simple (I'm no cook), but I mix a teaspoon of good quality Olive Oil with some lemon juice, drizzle on and add some fresh cracked black pepper, and fresh cracked sea salt (very small amount of the salt.)
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Old 08-12-2010, 10:40 AM
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There's a bunch of different dressings you can buy in the store that are not too bad in terms of nutritional value. e.g. Depending on what you are looking for you can get for example italian fat free dressing (no fat and low calories) or regular fat dressings (low carb), etc.
Just be sure to read the label before buying them!
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Old 08-12-2010, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by SailorDoom View Post
Here are a couple of recipes from the Light Basics Cookbook by Martha Rose Schulman, which is hands down my favorite cookbook. Practically everything I cook nowadays has its roots in this cookbook.

Lowfat Yogurt or Buttermilk Vinaigrette

2 Tbsp. good quality red wine vinegar, sherry vinegar, or champagne vinegar OR 1 Tbsp. of fresh lemon juice and 1 Tbsp. vinegar of your choice.
1 small garlic clove, peeled and finely minced or pressed
1/8 to 1/4 tsp of salt to your taste
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup plain nonfat yogurt OR 5 Tbsp. buttermilk
1 Tbsp. water (or more to taste if using yogurt)
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Mix together the vinegar or lemon juice and vinegar with the garlic, salt and mustard using a fork or small whisk. Stir in the olive oil and yogurt with water or buttermilk. Season with pepper. Thin out with more water as desired. 2 Tbsp. is about 45 calories of homemade goodness.

*You can also make a lemon version by omitting the vinegar all together and substituting 2 Tbsp. lemon juice instead.

**This is also very good with walnut oil instead of EVOO

***Schulman also recommends a cumin version where you add 1/2 tsp. ground cumin to the mixture and subtract 1/2 tsp. of mustard. Haven't tried this yet, but sounds yummy!


Another dressing (maybe more of a dip?) I make often is a version of Tzatziki, which is a Greek cucumber and yogurt sauce. This is also adapted from Schulman's book. It can be a little bit of an acquired taste, but I like it in the summer, especially with grilled meats and veggies. This recipe isn't so formal -- I just add until it tastes good, so experimentation is alright:

Greek-Style Cucumber Yogurt Sauce
(Great for dipping carrots and other veggies, on a chicken and spinach salad, or on various sandwiches)

Salt to taste
1 European cucumber peeled and grated OR 1-2 regular cucumbers seeded, peeled and grated.
1.5 cups plain nonfat yogurt (Greek yogurt is best, but the flavor is much stronger -- when I make this for my mom, I just go with ordinary plain, unsweetened yogurt because the greek is too "intense" for her.)
2-3 garlic cloves, minced (I sometimes use more -- the garlic will taste really spicy when paired with the mild flavor of the cukes.)
1-2 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint or dill (optional)
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar (optional)
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (the original recipe recommends this amount, but sometimes I leave it out entirely; it tastes good either way.)
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Generously salt the grated cucumber, toss, and let sit in a strainer in the sink for 15-30 minutes. Rinse and squeeze out the water. Toss the cucumber with the yogurt and remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl. Taste. Add seasonings as you see fit. Refrigerate (it keeps for a few days!). If you go all out with the EVOO and vinegar etc, it'll cost you about 120 calories for 1/3 cup (ends up being about 1/6 of recipe) -- I usually eat about half that much in a sitting.

Hope this helps!
Both of these are great recipes. You also add to calontro to the first one ( Yogurt or Buttermilk Vinaigrette ) and really great too.
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Old 08-12-2010, 03:40 PM
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Originally Posted by vsabino View Post
There's a bunch of different dressings you can buy in the store that are not too bad in terms of nutritional value. e.g. Depending on what you are looking for you can get for example italian fat free dressing (no fat and low calories) or regular fat dressings (low carb), etc.
Just be sure to read the label before buying them!
This one isn't too bad>Newman's Own Light Balsamic Vinaigrette http://www.newmansown.com/product_de...x?productid=10
I also use it as a marinade for chicken & fish

or I'll just drizzle some light olive oil over my salad.

Last edited by sw07; 08-12-2010 at 03:43 PM.
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Old 08-12-2010, 07:00 PM
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I love this one:
"Olde Cape Cod: Fat Free Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing"
It has only 25 cal for 2 tablespoons (30 ml).
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Old 08-14-2010, 03:17 AM
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Originally Posted by WeightlossBoo View Post
Very simple (I'm no cook), but I mix a teaspoon of good quality Olive Oil with some lemon juice, drizzle on and add some fresh cracked black pepper, and fresh cracked sea salt (very small amount of the salt.)
This is basically what I do. On fresh spinach, I like to drizzle on a tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with garlic powder. Yeah, a whole tablespoon has more calories, but olive oil is really good for you, and I love it, so personally I think it's worth it.

I wouldn't eat salads at all if I had to make some complicated dressing.
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Old 08-14-2010, 06:30 PM
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My fav:

2TB orange juice
2TB red wine vinegar
2tsp olive oil
2tsp honey
1.5tsp dijon mustard

I rarely actually do any real measuring anymore, but this will last for a couple of meals anyway. I usually make one big batch at at time. You can go lighter on the honey or heavier on another ingredient to suit your taste. I just love the organe-y deliciousness of this dressing!
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Old 08-14-2010, 07:59 PM
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A good quality gourmet balsamic or champagne vinegar all by itself works great on a salad too, especially when you're using dark leafy greens (like spinach) instead of lettuce.
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