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10 Easy Healthy Salad Dressing Recipes ~Dairy Free

Updated on February 18, 2015
Turtlewoman profile image

Kim is a board-certified Holistic Health Coach, Healthy Living and Cleanse Consultant, and studied under Drs. Andrew Weil and Walter Willet.

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The Best and Easiest Healthy Salad Dressing Recipes!

Salads are a staple in my kitchen and it's the secret to maintaining my weight. I try to eat at least one salad a day, whether on it's own or with another meal.

Salads are very versatile and can be assembled in so many different ways. But the secret to maintaining the habit of eating more greens is in the dressing.

Making your own healthy salad dressing is pretty simple. Why buy the commercially-made ones that contain excess sugar and salt, along with GMO soybean oils and a long list of ingredients that are hard to pronounce?

Check out my list of healthy salad dressing recipes. All 10 of the salad dressings are vegan, dairy-free, sugar-free, preservatives-free. There is something for everyone here.


Salad Dressing #1: Maple Vinaigrette


This basic vinaigrette is usually a hit at my family's pot lucks. Sometimes simplicity works in your favor when it comes to feeding a large group. I haven't met a single person who does not like a vinaigrette dressing.

This salad dressing is so easy to make that you'll probably wonder why you never tried to whip some together.

As long as you have a high quality olive oil and some citrus element like lemon or vinegar, you can have a vinaigrette dressing in as little as 5 minutes.

Ingredients for Maple Vinaigrette:

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup Bragg's raw apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice)
  • 2-3 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • pinch of ground pepper

Variations:

  1. If you don't have pure maple syrup, you can use honey or some date syrup.
  2. Add in a teaspoon of lemon zest
  3. Add in a tablespoon of parsley, basil, or mint.

Faux Ranch Dressing
Faux Ranch Dressing | Source

Salad Dressing #2: Faux Ranch Dressing


Ranch dressing is an old American classic. This is a really special dressing since it's vegan, nut-free, oil-free, sugar-free, and full of amazing ingredients that are good for your body. Chia seeds are chock full of omega 3's, protein, and fiber. They also expand and thicken up once it's soaked in liquid.

This recipe will change your life forever as it did with mine.

This faux ranch dressing recipe is slightly adapted from Healthful Pursuit.

  • 1 cup almond milk (or any other non-dairy milk)
  • ¼ cup raw unsalted sunflower seeds
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 2 teaspoons dehydrated onion
  • 1 teaspoon Braggs aminos (or gluten-free tamari)
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic
  • optional: ¼ teaspoon celery seed
  • optional: 1 tablespoon dried chives
  • optional: 1 tablespoon finely diced fresh parsley

Add all ingredients but chives and parsley to the jug of your high powered blender and blend for 2 minutes until smooth. Transfer to a resealable jar, stir in chives and parsley.

The flavors tend to get bolder after a few hours or overnight, so make the dressing ahead of time if possible and refrigerate.


Salad Dressing #3: Carrot Ginger Dressing

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I love the vibrant color of this salad dressing.

  • 3 medium-size carrots, peeled and cut into about 1-inch chunks
  • 1 piece fresh ginger (about 2 inches)
  • 1 shallot (optional: 1/4 cup minced onion)
  • 3 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar (optional: 1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar)
  • 1⁄4 cup peanut oil
  • 1 tablespoon organic sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar (optional: raw honey)
  • 4 teaspoons miso paste


Place the carrot chunks, ginger, shallot or onion, rice vinegar, peanut oil, sesame oil, and sugar in a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse until well combined. Add the miso and 1⁄4 cup of water and puree until nicely blended and fairly smooth. If you want your dressing a little thinner, you can add another tablespoon or two of water and puree again.

Avocado Dressing
Avocado Dressing | Source

Salad Dressing #4: Raw Avocado Dressing

This recipe was highlighted at Lettuce Be Healthy and was paired with zucchini pasta.

  • 2 small avocados
  • 1/2 – 1 cup packed basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup hemp seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
  • dash of black pepper
  • At least 1/4 cup water

Put ingredients in a food processor and and blend until smooth. Add water until you get a consistency that you want. (Start with about 1/4 cup)

Source

Salad Dressing #5: Spicy Coconut Peanut Dressing

This is one of my husband's favorite dressing. It has a Thai-style flavor from the combination of peanut butter and coconut milk. There is a little bit of fish sauce but it's very subtle and will not over power the dressing.

The dressing is perfect for Asian coleslaw-types of salad and pairs well with vegetables such as red cabbage, bok choy and carrots. Adding mint will give it a special touch.

To keep the dressing healthy, make sure you use a natural sweetener such as coconut palm sugar or honey and a natural peanut butter.

  • 2-4 tablespoons unsweetened coconut milk
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon natural peanut butter (optional: almond butter)
  • 1 birds eye chili, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon coconut palm sugar (optional: raw honey, brown sugar)
  • 1-2 tablespoon mint, chopped

For the dressing, mix together the coconut milk, lemon, fish sauce, chili, and coconut sugar.

Chop the mint in little pieces (julienne style) and throw it in the salad at the end. This last step is optional but it really ties all the flavors together.


Avocados give salad dressing a creamy texture.
Avocados give salad dressing a creamy texture. | Source

Salad Dressing #6: Mango Avocado Dressing

Another great all-purpose dressing that goes well with simple green salad. It's thick and creamy with a bit of spice from the jalapeno.

  • 2 medium avocados (or 1 large)
  • 1 large ripe mango
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 small jalapeno
  • 2 tablespoon raw honey
  • 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • Optional: add water until you get the desired consistency.

Place all the ingredients above in a blender or food processor. Process until smooth.

Tahini detox dressing is perfectly paired with kale salad.
Tahini detox dressing is perfectly paired with kale salad. | Source

Salad Dressing #7: Tahini Detox Detox Dressing

I love using dressings with a tahini base. Tahini is similar to peanut butter, except it is made from grinding sesame seeds.

  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3 tsp organic lemon juice
  • 3 tsp tamari or Braggs Amino Liquids
  • At least 1/4 cup water

Blend everything together and add enough water until you get the desired consistency.

Variations:

  1. add 1/4 cup cilantro
  2. add 1/2 green onion
  3. salt and pepper to taste

For a "cheesy" flavor add...

Nutritional yeast is typically fortified with B vitamins. A serving of 2 tablespoons contain 9g of protein and 4g of fiber.

It's so delicious!

Salad Dressing #8: Lemon Cashew Dressing


This cashew dressing has a very deep and complex flavor profile.

  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 4 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1-3 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 cup water

Blend ingredients together until smooth and creamy. Add more lemon and salt if necessary.

Thai almond dressing over a tofu vegetarian salad with jicama, carrots, cabbage, cucumbers, and spinach.
Thai almond dressing over a tofu vegetarian salad with jicama, carrots, cabbage, cucumbers, and spinach. | Source

Salad Dressing #9: Thai Almond Dressing


Almonds have an impressive nutritional profile and is the perfect substitute for those with peanut-allergens. If you don't have sensitivities to peanuts, you can substitute the almond butter for peanut butter.

This dressing is similar to a satay sauce that is usually marinated with chicken. Pour it over a chinese chicken salad, add some chopped green onions and sesame seeds. Delicious!

  • 2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup almond butter (optional:peanut butter)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 3 teaspoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Bragg Liquid Aminos (or soy sauce)

Salad Dressing #10: Green Herb Coconut Dressing

This dressing is the ultimate green "Hulk!" If you love herbs, then this dressing is for you.

The avocado and coconut milk adds healthy omega-3 fats to this dressing. It's creamy and you won't even miss the mayonnaise and dairy at all. Adding fresh herbs will liven your salad immediately.

It's best when paired with chicken and romaine lettuce.

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • juice of 1 lemon (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 1 garlic
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

Blend all of the ingredients in the food processor until combined.


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    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Interesting dairy-free recipes, Kim. Some of the recipes I never heard of. S Voted up!

    • Turtlewoman profile image
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      Kim Lam 2 years ago from California

      Hi Kelly- just made a variation of this dressing for Thanksgiving potluck. I added a bit of honey mustard (and less maple syrup) . It was so yummy!

      Thanks for stopping by! xoKim

    • Easy Exercise profile image

      Kelly A Burnett 2 years ago from United States

      Outstanding! I have been searching for a GREAT recipe for apple cider vinegar and the dressing with the maple syrup sounds perfect - cannot wait to give it a try. Voted up! And very well deserved! Great job!

    • Turtlewoman profile image
      Author

      Kim Lam 3 years ago from California

      VanNess- thank you! My husband and I decided to start trying this year as well.:-) Feel free to visit my website for more healthy recipes. I post meal ideas and tips daily on FB and Instagram too. Good luck and best wishes to you and your husband!

    • VVanNess profile image

      Victoria Van Ness 3 years ago from Prescott Valley

      More amazing recipes! I again wrote down four of them. With trying to get pregnant and praying for the opportunity to be pregnant soon, I've been trying to find all sorts of ways to be healthier.

      These are great! And they all sounded SO delicious! Thank you!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 3 years ago

      Pinned/shared. I am so trying these dressings. They look wonderful. Great photos too! That maple vinagrette sounds awesome and since we just got back from a vacation in the NE, we brought some maple syrup home. Yum!

    • Turtlewoman profile image
      Author

      Kim Lam 4 years ago from California

      Thanks Missy- hope you enjoy the salad dressings. Let me know which one you try.

      Hi Victoria- the avocado one is so healthy for you. :-) Thanks for pinning. xo

    • Turtlewoman profile image
      Author

      Kim Lam 4 years ago from California

      Hi Bill- eat your vegetables my friend ;-)

      Hi Paul-Thank you for the compliment! I still have so much to learn about taking pictures of food. I see you're doing the Whole30...how's it going so far? Good luck! :-)

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      One of the best thing about eating salad for me is trying the different dressings. The avocado one makes me salivate. I also would like to try the coconut peanut one and the thai one. Must pin this hub! :-)

    • Missy Mac profile image

      Missy Mac 4 years ago from Illinois

      I glad that I came across your hub. I am planning to revamp my diet and I love the salad dressing ideas. I will be putting these on my grocery list. Thanks.

    • Paul Edmondson profile image

      Paul Edmondson 4 years ago from Burlingame, CA

      Your photos looks so good. Not eating dairy these days, so I really appreciate the list.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Great recipes. I'm not a salad eater but my wife is, so I'll pass these on to her. Thank you!