How to Make Healthy Salad Dressing at Home (and Why You Should)

Healthy homemade salad dressings are easy to make and can add great flavor to your go-to salads. Skip the sugar and go for fresh herbs, citrus and other veggies to make these healthy dressings.

When you’re looking to pack a light lunch or prepare a healthy side at dinnertime, green salads are go-to. Leafy greens are full of vitamins and fiber (and who doesn’t want a few more of these veggies in their life?) and all the veggies and protein we mix are great, too. But where we really seem to drop the ball nutritionally and cooking-wise is with dressing. Store-bought salad dressings are major culprits when it comes to added sugar and can be full of less-than-good-for-you additives. So why not bypass the bottle of store-bought dressing and learn how to make healthy salad dressing at home. Homemade salad dressing is so easy to make and can really help you level-up your regular salads.

How to Make Vinaigrette—The Base of Many Healthy Homemade Salad Dressings

When it comes to healthy homemade salad dressing, you can’t go wrong with a simple vinaigrette. This easy dressing is just a mixture of oil and vinegar—we’ve got a great step-by-step tutorial here. Typically this ratio is about three parts oil to one part vinegar. You can choose whatever oils and vinegars you prefer, but a good extra-virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar is a great place to start. From there, you can add in all kinds of ingredients to customize the flavor. Salt and pepper are a good place to start, but add in fresh herbs or citrus juice to amp up the flavor without adding a lot of extra calories or fat and absolutely no sugar.

Skip the Sugar

Both bottled dressings and some homemade recipes can contain sugar. If you’re looking to reduce the amount of sugar in your diet, you can trade it out for honey. You get that same sweetness that some dressings—like this tangy orange dressing—need, but without adding extra sugar.

Swap Mayo Out for Yogurt

A lot of our favorite dressings rely on mayo or buttermilk to get their creamy texture. However, yogurt can do the same job without some of the fat. Swap out mayo entirely or substitute half of the mayonnaise used for yogurt for a lightened up version of your favorite dressing.

Start with this avocado-yogurt dressing—you’ll never miss the buttermilk or mayo.

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Lisa Kaminski
Lisa is an editor at Taste of Home where she gets to embrace her passion for baking. She pours this love of all things sweet (and sometimes savory) into Bakeable, Taste of Home's baking club. Lisa is also dedicated to finding and testing the best ingredients, kitchen gear and home products for our Test Kitchen-Preferred program. At home, you'll find her working on embroidery and other crafts.