Once thought of as a benign add-on, salad dressings have since emerged as a hidden source of added fat and calories capable of making any salad unhealthy. In fact, when perusing the condiments aisle, you're unlikely to find a dressing that contains 100% readable ingredients.
"To know you are consuming the healthiest salad dressing possible, I recommend to make your own from scratch," writes Sydney-based dietitian and sports nutritionist Robbie Clark. "Fresh, simple ingredients mean you are going to avoid the preservatives that are found in bottled dressings that have been sitting on the supermarket shelves for months." She also notes the gums, preservatives, thickeners, colors, and flavors found in salad dressings that pose a threat to people with food allergies or intolerances.
According to Clark, dressings should consist of three parts oil and one part acid, such as high-quality olive oil mixed with a touch of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. "The added health benefit of using lemon juice is that it increases the vitamin C content," she says. If you want to improve digestion, try subbing in balsamic vinegar, wine vinegar, or lime juice. "Making your own dressing is cheaper compared to ready-made dressings, it will taste better, and it is easy to do."
If you're still stuck on store-bought dressing, she advises against any cream-based dressings, like classic caesar or ranch. Instead, look for an oil-based vinaigrette with the shortest possible list of ingredients.
Do you make your own salad dressings? If so, share your favorite recipe below!