Salads have come such a long way since the bygone days of chopped iceberg and a flavorless wedge of tomato. Today, salads can be taken in countless directions. In fact, with all the options including leafy greens, crunchy cabbage, whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds, or seasonal veggies and herbs, it’s possible to create something new and spectacular every day. You can mix up the presentation as well, testing your hand at chopped salads and artful arrangements such as wedge salad, layered salad, or on-the-go bento boxes.
Nutritionally speaking, salads can be the best investment you make in your body. In addition to their abundant vitamins and minerals, leafy greens and veggies contain profound “anti” powers; that is, they are antioxidant, anti-inflammatory powerhouses. The addition of nuts and certain grains can provide your needed protein. All you need now is a delightful dressing to round it out. But wait! The healthiest power salad can quickly turn to a red flag meal with this one addition. Bottled salad dressings and those in salad bars are filled with sugars, fats, and questionable chemicals and preservatives. All your good work creating the perfect salad is countered by that one addition. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy all the savory goodness of delicious dressings.
By creating your own simple homemade vegan dressings at home, you take control of the ingredients. What good things go into it; what dubious unpronounceable ingredients stay out—it’s all in your hands!
Whether you crave tart, sweet, creamy, or spicy, any of these classic dressings are simple to make with a short list of ingredients you probably already have on hand. Most dressings include a base of healthy oil and an acid such as lemon juice or vinegar. From there you can customize them with add-ins such as herbs and aromatics. Most dressings store well in the refrigerator for longer term use, so keep a jar of your favorites on hand for salads and dippers!
Well Within Beauty highlights 5 common homemade vegan dressings, along with their ingredients and uses.
Everyone needs a Nonna. If you don’t have an Italian grandma in your life, here’s what she would tell you to include in your basic Italian dressing: olive oil, white balsamic vinegar or lemon, and sea salt. Just four ingredients, but so transformative.
This dressing is wildly versatile. Like the tartness of raspberries or lemons? Puckery vinaigrettes will awaken your taste buds. Prefer a sweeter option? Use pears, strawberries, cherries, or even kiwi. Vinaigrettes are only limited by your imagination.
Get that delicious Asian flavor in a snap with a simple sesame ginger dressing. Rich sesame oil combines with fresh aromatics to deliver a tasty punch with depth.
Savory Dijon dressing makes the perfect accompaniment to salads, especially for those who enjoy a little tang in each bite.
Widely considered the greatest indulgence of all dressings, creamy ranch doesn’t have to be off-limits on a healthy vegan diet.
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Lynne + Renee