Five Easy Delicious Salad Dressings

“I’m pretty awesome at making salad dressings.” ~ Lupita Nyong’o


Summer salad

Summer salad

A good diet should consist mostly of things without labels like fruits and veggies. If you read the labels on every food product before buying it, you will probably change your buying habits. This in turn will lead to better health. Salad dressings are no exception.

Even “natural” salad dressings with organic ingredients often contain sugar. Other more affordable dressings have flavor enhancers and refined oils. To have control over ingredients and to save money, make your own.

Salad greens

Great summer mixed salad greens are available in bulk in natural food stores and co-ops. Sometimes they are called mesclun, from the French mescal, for mixed. These greens are beautiful and delicious and so nutritious. They are also convenient. The cost per pound can seem high, but there is no waste and when you buy in bulk, you can buy only what you will eat before they start to go bad. If you have a garden, you can pick your salad fresh. And there are several companies selling ready-to-eat organic mixed greens in hard plastic containers.

I eat a salad based on mesclun every day in summer. I dress it with a few splashes of extra virgin olive oil and/or walnut oil, some balsamic vinegar and some Ume plum vinegar or pomegranate vinegar. I don’t premix this dressing.

Five salad dressings

Here are five salad dressings that are easy to make. If you have old salad dressing bottles, preferably glass, save them for storing your homemade versions.

In winter, when I eat heartier salads with a Napa cabbage base, I dress my salads with one of the following:

Garlic Ginger Dressing

I adapted this dressing called Cancer Prevention Salad, from a 1990 newsletter I got from my Naturopath in Anchorage, AK. The salad had shredded cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, bell peppers, radishes, and green onions. I make a variation of this with winter veggies and cabbage. I toss enough together for a few days.


winter salad

winter salad

2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger or ½ teaspoon powdered ginger
2 cloves garlic, smashed
¼ to ½ teaspoon red pepper seed, optional
½ cup raw apple cider vinegar, Braggs with the ‘mother’ is best
2 tablespoons soy sauce or Braggs liquid aminos
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil or extra virgin olive oil

  1. Place all ingredients in a glass jar or bottle with a tight lid and shake well.
  2. This dressing will need to be shaken well before each use.
  3. Pour the dressing over the veggies. This recipe ages well in the refrigerator. You can save some of the dressing for adding to your salad just before you eat it.

Elephant Garlic Dressing

Elephant garlic is huge, as its name implies, and is much milder than its smaller cousins. This is especially good on cooked greens that can sometimes be bitter. This creamy dressing offsets the greens’ bitterness. Keep refrigerated. Olive oil gets solid when cold so remove from refrigerator ½ hour before you plan to eat it.

1 large clove elephant garlic, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice or bottled 100% organic pure lemon juice
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon sea salt

  1. Place the garlic and lemon juice in a blender, blend until mixed.
  2. Add the olive oil and salt, blend till smooth.

Moroccan Vinaigrette (adapted from recipes from an ecological kitchen by Lorna Sass)

This is a great all around dressing for tossed salads, it is also good over a quick lentil salad made with cooked or sprouted lentils, thinly sliced celery or kohlrabi, and finely sliced sweet onion.

2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice, fresh or bottled 100% organic juice
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 ½ teaspoons sweet paprika, ground
1 teaspoons cumin, ground
1 small clove garlic, smashed (optional)
Unrefined sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
¼ tsp to ½ teaspoon of your favorite hot sauce, optional


  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a glass jar with a tight lid and shake well.
  2. Store in the refrigerator and shake well before each use. It will need to come to room temperature so the olive oil can liquefy.

Creamy Mustard Dressing
Place the bowl on a mat to stabilize.

3 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar with the ‘mother’ (like Braggs)
2 tablespoons Ume plum vinegar
1 tablespoon tahini, preferably raw (roasted or sprouted is fine), at room temperatureL
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
½ cup extra virgin olive oil


  1. Stir the cider vinegar and the Ume plum vinegar in a small bowl.
  2. Whisk in the tahini. Because tahini is a paste it will take a few minutes to mix.
  3. Stir in the mustard.
  4. Add the olive oil in a fine stream, whisking well
  5. Pour into a glass jar or bottle with a tight lid so the dressing can be shaken before each use.

Tofu “Ranch” Dressing
I no longer make or eat tofu because it is not a whole food, but silken tofu makes a smooth creamy dressing. A little occasional tofu is OK.

4 – 6 ounces soft silken tofu
2 tablespoons lemon juice, fresh or bottled 100% pure organic
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon unrefined sea salt
¼ teaspoon pepper, freshly ground
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian (flat leaf) parsley,
1 clove garlic, minced
1 ½ tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar with the ‘mother’ (like Braggs)


  1. Combine ingredients in a blender or food processor, mix until smooth.
  2. Store in a glass bottle or jar with a tight fitting lid in the refrigerator.


Tofu Mayonnaise

I don’t keep mayonnaise on hand because I rarely eat it and it would go bad before I could finish a jar. Making tofu mayonnaise is simple, and for vegans, an easy way to go.

This mayo-substitute can be used in place of commercial mayonnaise in most recipes.  It won’t cut it on sandwiches if you’re a devoted mayo fan.

8 ounces firm silken tofu
2 tablespoons lemon juice, fresh or 100% pure organic juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon unrefined sea salt


  1. Blend all ingredients in a blender till smooth. It looks just like mayonnaise.


Author:Sharon Reese

Lacto-ovo vegetarian for over four decades.

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I will be pleased to hear from you. I’ll try to answer questions you might have about cooking or nutrition.


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