There’s nothing healthier than a bowl full of raw vegetables. But what you add to your salad could make or break the nutrition improvements you’re trying to achieve.
Bacon bits, cheese, ranch dressing, and croutons can pack unnecessary calories into an otherwise healthy meal. However, there’s good news: You don’t have to use unhealthy salad dressings to dress up your veggies. We’ve rounded up some of the most flavorful and healthy dressings online, so you can jazz up your salads without undoing the benefits of eating a salad in the first place.
Carrot and ginger Japanese salad dressing
Image source: The Tomato Tart
Any dish of raw vegetables can be improved upon with the bright colors and flavors of ginger and carrot. This healthy, gluten-free dressing from the Tomato Tart comes together quickly and can be refrigerated to keep for a few weeks.
Orange peach mango dressing
Are you searching for the perfect dressing to pour over a grilled fish or chicken salad? Say no more. This tropical treat from Kitchen of Health is a great option to put on a salad with grilled meat or a spinach salad topped with toasted almonds.
Avocado lime dressing
For some, part of the appeal of a good salad dressing is creaminess. It softens the texture of your salad and makes your meal seem more filling. This recipe from Inside BruCrew Life doesn’t skimp on that creamy texture, but it gets it from the right places — namely, avocado. This dressing would be great on a southwestern-themed salad or even served as a dip.
Whole lemon thyme salad dressing
Image source: The Café Sucre Farine
Some salad dressings are delicious because they play a supporting role; others pack powerful flavor. This option from The Café Sucre Farine somehow manages to do both, and it’s likely because it’s using traditional salad dressing ingredients, bumped up by a whole lot of lemon. Lemon, honey, and fresh thyme combine to make a dressing you’ll want to pour on everything.
Easy ranch dressing
If you love ranch dressing, Wellness Mama brings a healthier version of this classic dressing and drip to the table. By swapping out less healthy ingredients for Greek yogurt and olive oil you can enjoy a lower-fat and sugar-free version of this creamy favorite.
Avocado basil dressing
Another great example of swapping out the oils of traditional dressing with the healthy fats from avocado, this recipe from Happy Healthy Mama uses garlic, lemon juice, basil, and avocado to make a flavorful, but simple, salad topper.
Apple cider vinegar dressing
Image source: Healthy Seasonal Recipes
Good dressings often include the tangy flavor of vinegar, and adding apple cider vinegar is a great way to boost the nutritional value of your salad too. This recipe from Healthy Seasonal Recipes uses shallots, mustard, olive oil, and a bit of honey to create a classic salad topper.
Roasted red pepper vinaigrette
This recipe comes from Kim’s Cravings but is adapted from Weight Watchers. It would be great on an Italian salad, with grilled chicken, red onions, and hearty greens. It has traditional dressing ingredients like olive oil, salt, and pepper, but it gets its real power from blended, roasted red peppers.
Carrot ginger dressing
If you’ve had ginger dressing at a Japanese restaurant, you’ll love this version you can make at home. It uses fresh ginger, carrots, and scallions, so you know it’s not short on flavor. With a dressing this bright and flavorful, a simple bed of lettuce makes for a delicious meal.
Cilantro lemon vinaigrette
People either love or despise cilantro. If you’re of the former camp, this is a simple recipe that would be great on a salad with black beans and avocados, or, as The Creative Bite writes, as a marinade for meat.