Let’s talk about salad dressing. No, not the kind that comes in a bottle — those days are long gone. While, in a pinch, there’s no shame in using a good bottled dressing, your delicious salads deserve an even more delicious dressing. So how do you get from point A to point B? These 15 healthy salad dressing recipes are your answer.
What at first might seem like a dry topic is anything but. IMO, the best salad dressings involve squeezing fresh lemon juice, cracking your own salt and pepper, and whisking it all together with some good olive oil to pour over a deserving salad. Seriously y’all — it’s so much better. And * bonus * so much better for you! Being able to see what’s going on in your dressing, without all of the additives and things you can’t pronounce? A must.
To me, there are four main types of salad dressings: a classic vinaigrette, something creamy and indulgent, those that lean a little sweeter, and the kinds that are packed with citrus. That’s why I’ve divided up today’s picks for healthy salad dressing recipes into categories you can find for whatever dressing your salad needs. Read on to discover 15 easy, healthy salad dressing recipes for your next salad.
Feature image by Michelle Nash.
Classic Vinaigrette Recipes
Lemon Vinaigrette from Love & Lemons
Why We Love It: The basics are always the way to begin, and you can never go wrong with a lemon vinaigrette. It’s my go-to dressing for salads and is probably the easiest to make. And it’s safe to say that you already have all the ingredients. It’s really a no-brainer.
Hero Ingredient: Dijon brings the tang, honey has the sweetness, and good quality olive oil mellows it all out. Tried, true, and delicious.
Get the recipe for Lemon Vinaigrette.
Homemade Italian Dressing from Wholefully
Why We Love It: Italian dressing is another go-to of mine when I have a lot of veggies in my fridge that need to be used up. I’ll toss them together over some crisp romaine for an easy garden salad. It’s equally delicious topped with grilled chicken as a main or paired with protein as a side. And where there’s a garden salad, there should be this Italian dressing.
Hero Ingredient: Fresh herbs and your own mix of dried oregano and basil take everything up a notch.
Get the recipe for Homemade Italian Dressing.
Why We Love It: Gingery, mustardy, and vinegary, this vibrant dressing embodies everything there is to be loved about our warmer weather months. I mean, just look at that color! It’s like sunshine in a jar. Pro tip: Make extra to keep in your fridge for raw veggie dipping when that pre-dinner hunger hits.
Hero Ingredient: Turmeric is as radiant as it is healthy. It’s anti-inflammatory, helps boost metabolism, and has even been linked to improved memory.
Get the recipe for Turmeric-Citrus Vinaigrette.
5-Minute Sunshine Sauce from Pinch of Yum
Why We Love It: This “sunshine sauce” is basically a use-on-everything dressing. It’s great on salads, raw veggies, and would be absolutely divine on some tomatoes and mozzarella.
Hero Ingredient: Dried basil and oregano flavor everything so nicely.
Get the recipe for 5-Minute Sunshine Sauce.
Creamy Healthy Salad Dressing Recipes
Easy Tzatziki from Half-Baked Harvest
Why We Love It: Tzatziki may be one of the most universal sauces to ever grace your plate. And with just a few simple ingredients you probably already have, it’s easy to whip up on the fly. Combine that ease with its delicious flavor and usability, and you’re set up for success. Be sure to try this favorite Greek on salads, pita and veggies, or these shrimp skewers.
Hero Ingredient: Plain full-fat Greek yogurt is key. It is the creaminess from the yogurt that makes this what it is.
Get the recipe for Easy Tzatziki.
Whole30 Caesar Salad Dressing from The Defined Dish
Why We Love It: I know Caesar salad might not be the healthiest, but when that certain, specific salty craving strikes, there are few — if any — things that can cure it. Enter: healthier Caesar salad dressing. Alex offers up a Whole30-approved dressing that tastes amazing and is totally guilt-free.
Hero Ingredient: Don’t fear the anchovies. While you can certainly use anchovy paste, I’d recommend the real deal.
Get the recipe for Whole30 Caesar Salad Dressing.
Why We Love It: With Easter coming up, this orange-tahini dressing reflects all of the spring-y joy the holiday brings. It’s creamy, zesty, sweet, and a little nutty. Pour it over this Carrot Ribbon Salad With Golden Raisins and Feta and you’ve got a bright and flavorful Easter side that everyone at your table will love.
Hero Ingredient: Orange zest keeps it so very fresh.
Get the recipe for Orange-Tahini Dressing.
Green Goddess Dressing from Platings + Pairings
Why We Love It: Some things I love about green goddess dressing: It’s herby, limey, and garlicky. And again, it’s so useful for meats, veggies, and wraps. You’ll want to be sure to make extra to have on hand.
Hero Ingredient: Jalapeño gives this green goddess a nice kick.
Get the recipe for Green Goddess Dressing.
On the Sweeter Side (But Still Healthy!)
Strawberry Basil Dressing
Why We Love It: Strawberry dressing screams spring. It’s light, fruity, floral, and sure to brighten up any salad. It also has a gorgeous pink hue. Who can’t love that?
Hero Ingredient: Fresh basil keeps it all balanced and brings a really nice herby flavor and freshness.
Get the recipe for Strawberry Basil Dressing.
Homemade Poppyseed Dressing from Fit Foodie Finds
Why We Love It: Poppyseed dressing is the perfect warm weather companion. It’s yummy on salads, fresh fruit, and raw veggies alike. But because it leans sweet, it’s often loaded with sugar, which this recipe remedies. With honey as the sweetener to support the blend of Greek yogurt, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, and — of course — poppy seeds, you’ve got a healthier take on the classic dressing.
Hero Ingredient: A little Greek yogurt makes it oh-so-creamy. Drizzle generously.
Get the recipe for Homemade Poppyseed Dressing.
Maple Balsamic Dressing from Lexi’s Clean Kitchen
Why We Love It: Five ingredients and five minutes is all it takes to make this creamy balsamic dressing. It’s just oil, balsamic, dijon, maple syrup, a little salt and voila! You have a yummy dressing for any dynamic salad.
Hero Ingredient: Pure maple syrup is a necessity, of course.
Get the recipe for Maple Balsamic Dressing.
Honey-Mustard Dressing from The Modern Proper
Why We Love It: This honey-mustard dressing is another good universal pick. It shines on salads, elevates grilled or raw veggies, and could even be used as a chicken marinade or sauce. Be sure to make extra to have on hand throughout the week!
Hero Ingredient: Stone-ground mustard gives it a little texture and a lot of flavor.
Get the recipe for Honey-Mustard Dressing.
Citrus-y Healthy Salad Dressing Recipes
Cilantro Lime Dressing from Love & Lemons
Why We Love It: A good cilantro and lime combo is hard to beat. Especially in the case of this dressing, which would be great on salads (of course), tacos, burrito bowls, and more. Basically anything you think could use a little fresh, zesty flavor.
Hero Ingredient: Give me all the garlic.
Get the recipe for Cilantro Lime Dressing.
Citrus Salad Dressing from A Couple Cooks
Why We Love It: This is a pretty basic one, but definitely delicious and so easy! It’s just orange and lemon juices, dijon, maple syrup, olive oil and s + p, so you can probably make it with what you have in your kitchen now. Use it on everything you want to give a little citrus-y goodness to.
Hero Ingredient: Hence the name, the hero ingredients here are the citrus fruits. It would be wrong to choose something else.
Get the recipe for Citrus Salad Dressing.
Why We Love It: Once again, ginger takes the stage as the anti-inflammatory superfood it is. This dressing is sharp, zingy, and all-around delicious thanks to the root veg and citrus combo. There’s also a little soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and honey to really round out the flavors.
Hero Ingredient: A clove of garlic a day keeps bland food away.
Get the recipe for Citrus-Ginger Dressing.