apples, spinach, avocado, carrot, lentils, pumpkin seeds with the mustardy dressing
I haven’t bought bottled dressing since I was pregnant with Vin 6 years ago. When Joel and I got married, he introduced me to the world of homemade vinaigrettes and sauces and I never looked back. The flavor was just so much more amazing than anything bottled, it was way cheaper, and had none of the questionable ingredients that shelf stable bottles are packed with- inferior oils, thickeners, preservatives, sugars, non-food ingredients. Before, I had subsisted on: Hidden Valley Ranch + Wishbone Italian.
It only takes a minute or two to whip up a good dressing, so I personally like to make them fresh every time- I often will whisk on up in the bottom of the salad bowl before I throw the lettuce in! If you are super busy, make one or two on the weekend to keep in the fridge during the week. Having this on hand will make eating fresh produce, buddha bowls, salads, so much more enjoyable and tasty. For me, having a sauce or dressing is essential and key to getting in so many plants and greens.
Here are seven of my favorite dressings that are not only delicious, but are so much healthier for you; and often loaded with nutrients of their own. It’s no surprise that tahini is the base for many of these, it’s a pantry staple here and makes for a nutty, mineral dense, creamy whole food base.
caesar: (oil free) creamy, salty, briny, delicious- I’ve gotten great reviews on this one from omnivores and vegans and husbands and kids and so many of you! One of my favorites, and it’s easy to make. I eat it with kale and romaine and crunchy oven roasted chickpeas and vegan parm. Find the recipe for it HERE. With a batch of oven fries, this is often our Friday night dinner.
mustardy house vinaigrette: such a basic and versatile vinaigrette, great on salad, roasted veggies, tossed with steamed potatoes and/or green beans, and especially on hearty bitter greens like escarole, endive, or radicchio with some sweet apple, pear, or walnuts. I don’t eat a ton of oil, but in the fall/winter I can’t get enough of this one. See it in action in THIS December meal plan.
1/4 cup whole grain mustard, 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 teaspoons honey or agave syrup, 1/2 cup red wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon fresh thyme (minced), 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, all whisked together. taste and adjust- adding a bit more of this or that to adjust to your own preferences.
green goddess tahini: I’ve made this recipe about a thousand times, no joke. It’s the perfect dip or dressing when you want something herby, GREEN and fresh + it has so many goodies from all the herbs + plenty of healthy, whole fat from tahini to help your fat soluble vitamins absorb. Find the recipe HERE.
image via bonappetit.com
3-2-1 dressing: (oil free) this one is my go-to when I want something a little sweet and super easy. It’s just 3 parts balsamic, 2 parts dijon mustard (I love Maille brand), and 1 part maple syrup. Make as much or as little as you need. I like to add either 1 clove minced garlic or a small minced shallot + some fresh chopped thyme or marjoram + plenty of fresh cracked pepper.
carrot miso ginger dressing: (oil free) this one is a tahini base (full of minerals!), bright orange, tangy and delicious on plain greens, spinach, cucumbers, and my kids like to use it to dip veggies in. Find the recipe on Oh Dear Drea HERE (side note- I love her blog, one of the only blogs I’ve read and checked in on long-term).
peanut (or almond) dressing: (oil free) SO quick, universally adored by adults and kids alike, a little sweet/salty/sour, and perfect for a big crunchy salad. Get the recipe HERE.
citrus ginger tahini: (oil free) this one is creamy, tangy, sweet, with a little kick from the ginger and garlic. You can thin it out for salad or make it thicker for bowls. If you don’t have a good blender, I recommend chopping or grating the garlic and ginger very finely, then whisking it all throughly. Blend until smooth: