How To Make Dinner Salads For Four
Dinner salads dont have to be about lettuce and a few boring vegetables. I like to start with garden fresh vegetables and go from there. I almost always have some type of lettuce, but you can switch it up with leafy greens, spinach, arugula, dandelion greens or a combination. See which lettuce looks the best and give it a try.
For every two cups of greens, I like to add one cup of cut vegetables. Look for whats fresh at the farmers market or in the produce aisle at your local grocery store. It doesnt have to be the same vegetables every time thats what makes it fun and interesting. I like mixing it up with carrots, radishes, cucumbers, and tomatoes.
To make dinner salads for four, youll need about 8 cups of salad total. Since were using two cups of lettuce for every cup of vegetables, that makes the recipe look something like this:
- 6 cups loose greens, such as lettuce, spinach, arugula, or dandelion greens.
- 2 cup cut vegetables, such as carrots, radishes, cucumbers, and tomatoes.
You can toss everything together in a large bowl and add one of the 6 plant based oil-free salad dressing recipes below. Each recipe creates enough salad dressing to make four, large well-coated dinner salads. If you want to make more than just one nights worth of salad, multiply the ingredients by four which will make enough dressing to fill a recycled salad dressing jar.
Perfect For Your Weight And Health
A whole plant foods dressing.
However, many of the phytonutrients in salads are fat-soluble and our body needs fat to absorb them. The healthiest way to add fats to your diet is from whole foods, like nuts and seeds.
And this delicious vegan salad dressing is made from raw almonds. They are fiber-rich and slow to digest so that you stay full for longer.
The nutritional yeast adds not only a great flavor but is rich in most of the B vitamins.
You also get those essential for brain and overall body health Omega-3 fats from the flax seeds.
The lemon and garlic are super rich in micronutrients and antioxidants which help detox your system and satiate your hunger better.
Why We Love This Recipe
There’s no shortage of oil-free salad dressing recipes on the blog, but what I didn’t have yet was a vinaigrette-style dressing.
I was planning a new healthy pasta salad recipe and really wanted to create an oil-free dressing that would capture the nostalgic aromas and flavors of the quick and easy pasta salads I grew up with. You probably know exactly what I’m talking about, the dish that always made an appearance at potlucks and parties, with olives, pasta, a few veggies, and bottled vinaigrette.
Aquafaba was the only ingredient I could think of that might possibly work as a replacement for oil while keeping the appearance of a vinaigrette. And holy moly, y’all. It totally works!
Aquafaba keeps the dressing emulsified without the need for gums or anything weird like you find in store-bought dressings. And it’s SO perfect on pasta salad!
But before you get too excited….
Don’t expect fat-free Italian dressing to taste exactly like a dressing made with heaps of oil because, well, that’s just impossible. Our brains and tongues love fat, and a dressing with zero fat and less than 20 calories just can’t compete with biology. BUT if you enjoy healthy dressings and sauces as much as I do, this oil-free dressing is totally going to win you over!
It’s lemon-y, tangy, zesty, just salty enough, SO fresh, and it totally captures the classic Italian dressing vibe.
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Tips On My Vegan Salad Dressing:
- First, add this oil-free dressing to salads, Buddha bowls or steamed/cooked veggies.
- Another way to have this dressing is to leave it thicker and use as low fat and low GL bread spread.
- Now, should you still be on Candida cleanse, leave out nutritional yeast and substitute peanut butter with tahini, sunflower seed/almond or hazelnut butter.
- Use any nut or seeds butter or ditch it altogether for even leaner dressing.
- You are welcome to use more or less of the seasonings just adjust it to your own liking.
- Finally, store leftovers in sealed containers or jars in fridge for up to 4 days.
Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. For every purchase made from the links in this post, youll be able to support my work. So you can look after your health, and contribute to my mission at the same time. Thank you!
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Sid And Lisas Creamy Balsamic
Probably the most common salad dressing out there, and typically vegan, the balsamic is a go-to of mine at restaurants. But what if you could make a healthier version at home?
Health Made Simple co-creator Sid Garza-Hillman and his wife Lisa created their own oil-free version, replacing the oil with cashews to keep the fats up and add an extra creaminess.
How to Use It:
This goes well with just about any standard salad, but really pops with your traditional Italian flavors. But really, you cant go wrong to have it on hand for whatever ends up on your salad plate.
- 1 cup cashews
- 1 1/2 cup water
Blend all ingredients until creamy. Add additional salt/pepper to taste.
You May Like: Briannas Salad Dressing Creamy Balsamic
To Make The Dressing:
Combine 2 tablespoons water, 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, the juice from 2 lemons, 1/2 teaspoon curry, a tiny pinch of cayenne and black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon pure maple syrup or liquid stevia . *If you use a piece of dried fruit as your sweetener, you may want to let it soak in the water used 30 minutes to soften before making this . For a creamier flavor, add 2 tablespoons either tahini, almond butter or cashew butter in addition to the other ingredients called for. Blend, drizzle, and serve.
Harriets Original Low Fat Italian Dressing
Harriets Original Low Fat Italian Dressing, like many of the dressings in the Harriet line, is a low-carb and low-fat product. Specifically, it is made from water, red wine vinegar, canola oil, garlic, salt, onion, sugar, red bell pepper, spices, and xanthan gum. Reviewers are reporting that this salad dressing tastes homemade, brightens up any salad, and tastes just as good as the full-fat version of this dressing from the same line. To try it out yourself, you can get a pack of three 12-ounce bottles for $28.
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Spicy Thai Almond Butter Salad Dressing
While not a classic salad dressing, this is definitely a keeper! I’ve made a variation of this Thai almond butter salad dressing countless times before and I always adore it.
It’s great with crunchy, fresh ingredients like cabbage, peppers, carrots, broccoli and does really well with grain. It can also be used as a yummy dipping sauce for spring rolls!
Spicy Thai Almond Butter goes well with:
Check The Ingredients And Nutrition Labels
Some low-sodium salad dressings will carry the label of low sodium or less salt. However, this is not always the case. When you’re unsure of whether or not it’s really low-sodium, consider salad dressings that are naturally low in sodium due to their ingredients. Vinaigrettes that contain a base of olive oil or apple cider vinegar are examples.
Dressings made with yogurts, sesame seed oils, and avocado oils can also contain low amounts of sodium. However, the best way to check whether a salad dressing is low-sodium is to look at sodium per serving. A good benchmark is under 250 milligrams per serving.
You can also look at the list of ingredients to see if there is added salt and if these additives appear higher up in the list. Examples include silicon dioxide and tricalcium phosphate.
Read Also: Lemon Olive Oil Salad Dressing
Lemon Tahini Dressing Recipe
This lemon tahini dressing recipe is low in calories, vegan, and so easy to make! Youll want to make lemon tahini salad dressing weekly its so delicious!
This flavorful tahini lemon dressing is packed full of healthy ingredients. Try a salad with tahini dressing as a side dish for dinner, or top your salad with some chicken or tofu and enjoy it as a full meal.
This easy recipe for tahini dressing can be made in the same jar that you store it in. This tahini dressing recipe for salads is extra easy thanks to this salad dressing tip.
Try this lemon tahini dressing recipe on salads, over roasted veggies, even as a tahini dip.
This lemon tahini dressing recipe is low in calories and vegan. Below, you will learn how to make vegan tahini sauce in the same jar you store it in.
Not Healthy And Actually Bad For You
Lets take a look at her healthyWendys meal. < – Go here for the nutritional info.
BLT Cobb salad, chicken, bacon, feta cheese, tortilla strips, dressing
Lets add up her totals here just to get an idea of how healthy this meal is. Ill pretend she only got a small soda, as Wendys doesnt want to acknowledge people drink more than this yeah right!
Thousand Island Dressing is the highest calorie dressing they offer. Avoid it at all costs!
Sodas: Wendys CONVENIENTLY only lists the amounts for a SMALL cup of every beverage in their nutritional info. This is insanity. Combo meals come with a medium or large drink! This is total deception.
This salad meal with chili is over half the recommended daily calories for an athletic adult women or an inactive man. Most woman in their 40-60s only need 1600-1800 calories if they are fairly sedentary. So the RDA of 2000 calories is obviously too high for her. It blows the RDA for cholesterol and sodium out of the water, and is almost maxing out the fat and sat fat for the entire day.
Lets compare this to a typical combo meal at Wendys, just to see how it stacks up as a healthy choice for woman.
Now, are you curious what we got instead at Wendys? Bet you had no idea you could eat Low Fat Vegan at Wendys!
We got a side salad and a plain baked potato each with a small packet of Italian dressing .
Now on to my recipe oil free vegan salad dressing recipe.
Recommended Reading: What Is A Good Salad Dressing For Weight Loss
Liquid Gold Salad Dressing Thats Rich In Omega
This is definitely a unique salad dressing. Its not a blend I would have concocted, yet it worked. It was surprisingly mellow compared to other vinaigrettes lightly sweet, lightly savory, and lightly pungent. Im not a big lemon juice fan, so I subbed the juice with apple cider vinegar and adjusted the ratio.
Please note that this recipe is a touch high in sodium due to the soy sauce. If watching your sodium intake, you might want to use a low sodium soy sauce or substitute coconut aminos. Coconut aminos is a sauce thats slightly sweeter, less salty, and much lower in sodium than soy sauce.
Pour All Of The Following Into A Blender:
- A couple big handfuls of raw cashews
- Enough water to cover them
- A squeeze of lemon juice
- A splash of low-sodium tamari
- A clove of garlic
- A small handful of cilantro
Since I have a high-speed blender, I dont have to soak the cashews first, like I did when I originally posted the recipe. Then I adjust to taste.
If it needs more sour, add lemon. More salt or richness, add tamari. More creaminess, add cashews. More liquid, add water.
Ive made it without garlic for people averse to it and without cilantro for people who think cilantro tastes soapy. Even without those two ingredients, its still delicious.
Recommended Reading: Panera Napa Almond Chicken Salad
Culinary Treasures Lemon Ginger Sesame Dressing
Culinary Treasures Lemon Ginger Sesame Dressing is an organic dressing made primarily from water, dried sugar cane syrup, soybean oil, distilled vinegar, and soy sauce. Two tablespoons have six grams of fat. In addition to adding flavor to salads, Culinary Treasure recommends using this product as a marinade for vegetables and any dishes you want to imprint some Asian flavor on. Reviewers are reporting that this dressing is light, fresh-tasting, and doesnt leave a greasy residue. You can get one 32-ounce bottle for about $13.75.
If You Dont Have A High
The creamy cashew salad dressing has a wonderful mix of umami from the tamari, tanginess from the lemon, and hit of garlic.
The velvety texture of the dressing is yet another reason why cashews are the magicians of nuts. Who would have guessed that cashews could make a dressing so creamy without any dairy at all?
While I have made a ton of different dressings over the years, this is the one I keep coming back to. Its my all-time favorite.
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Primal Kitchen Greek Vinaigrette
While most dressings use olive or canola oil, Primal Kitchen Greek Vinaigrette opts for something a bit healthier: avocado oil. Specifically, the paleo-friendly, gluten-free, and sugar-free dressing is made from avocado oil, organic red wine vinegar, organic apple cider vinegar, sea salt, and a medley of organic spices. Reviewers are reporting that this dressing is tasty, healthy, and excellent for marinating. Not everyone is raving about this product, though. Some reviewers commented that this dressing is quite acidic and has an overpowering oregano taste. To see how you feel about it, you can get two eight-ounce bottles for $16.
Tahini Caper Salad Dressing
The Spruce / Miri Rotkovitz
If you’ve never tried cooking with capers, try mixing up this tahini caper salad dressing. Capers have a briny, salty flavor that pairs beautifully with creamy, nutty tahini and bright lemon juice. Toss this dressing with greens or a grain-based dish for a different twist.
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No Fat Raw Vegan Sweet Onion Salad Dressing
Makes about 1 1/2 cups of dressing
5-6 tbsp of apple cider vinegar1 cup peeled cucumber, chopped1 clove of garlic1 cup of sweet vidalia onion, diced 8 small dates, pitted2+ tbsp water
1. Place ingredients into a Vitamix or food processor and blend until smooth.2. Taste test and adjust seasonings if desired.3. Serve over green salad and refrigerate any leftovers.
To make the onion flavour more mild, you can chop the onion in advance and let it sit out or in the fridge and oxidize so that some of the strong oils dissipate and it wont be as intense.
This is a dressing I would use in smaller quantities because of the bite. I wouldnt make an entire family sized salad with it, and eat it myself. It might sting your tongue a little if you eat the whole recipe in one meal. Side salads or a medium sized salad would be best with this recipe.
For more information on Savory Raw Dinner Recipes
What do you think of this recipe? What was your favourite salad dressing you now make vegan or raw?
How Long Will Leftovers Last
Leftovers will keep for 6 days in the refrigerator, in an airtight container.
More Vegan Dressings
- ½ cupunsweetened plain non-dairy yogurt*
- 2 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar**
- 2 tablespoonspure maple syrup
- 2 3 teaspoons poppy seeds
- generous pinch of mineral salt
- Generous dash of onion powder
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How To Make Tahini Salad Dressing
This tahini salad dressing recipe is almost too easy to make If you dont have a jar, you can whisk it in a bowl. But I recommend making this lemon tahini dressing recipe in a jar.
All you really have to do, is add all of that vegan tahini dressing ingredients to a jar, cover and shake. You can even store your tahini salad dressing in the same jar!
I like to make this creamy tahini dressing in a jar, it reduces clean up, and I can store leftover vegan tahini sauce in the same jar. But if you do not have one, simply use a bowl and whisk this recipe for tahini dressing together.
A Good Salad Starts With The Dressing
A few years ago I wrote a post about my familys Sauce System how we often start with whatever sauce sounds the most appealing, and build our meals around that.
Today, I want to share a similar technique for building salads, only with healthy, homemade, oil-free dressings instead of sauces.
The technique goes, if you learn a few simple dressing recipes, then you can shape nearly anything in your kitchen into a delicious salad of your choosing.
But before we get to the recipes, lets talk about why Im going oil free with these seven staple recipes.
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