I've only started enjoying salads in the past couple of years, both making them and eating them. In my opinion, this was entirely down to my discovery of salad dressing.
I knew that various salad dressings existed, of course I did, but I didn't know quite to what extent they could elevate what I previously saw as a bowl of leaves. I hadn't tried many different salad dressings before, sticking to your regular flavors and not venturing far beyond them, but when I started to get more interested in health and fitness, I became more adventurous.
By using different combinations of vegetables and dressings, it is amazing how unique every bowl of salad can taste. If you think salad isn't your thing then think again, I can assure you that at least one of these salad dressing recipes will change your mind.
Sensational Salad Dressing Recipes
1. Caesar Dressing
Caesar Dressing is of course nothing new, but it is still up there with my favorite salad dressings. Whether it is in a salad or along with chicken and lettuce in a sandwich or wrap, you can't go wrong with the classic flavor.
There are many recipes out there for caesar dressing, so it's a case of trying them out and finding your favorite. To me, this one looks perfect, nice and fresh with those well-loved flavors of anchovies, garlic, and parmesan.
2. Blueberry Balsamic Vinaigrette
Not only are blueberries incredibly good for you, but they're also incredibly delicious. I like incorporating blueberries into many different things, be it my morning porridge or a smoothie, but I have never tried them in a salad.
I can imagine this Blueberry Balsamic Vinaigrette would be the perfect balance of sweet and tangy, a great way to spruce up your salad. The deep purple color is refreshing too.
3. Honey Mustard Dressing
Honey Mustard Dressing is another family favorite for us; you can always find a bottle in the fridge. I find it hard to believe I have never made it myself from scratch. Considering it is so simple, I will definitely give it a go.
This particular dressing is part of a recipe for chicken salad, which looks divine. Because the dressing is slightly sweet yet spicy with the honey and mustard, it will go perfectly with the salty bacon, cooling avocado and crunchy lettuce leaves. Hello, new weeknight meal.
4. Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
This Buttermilk Ranch Dressing, as the recipe states, is incredibly versatile. It would be as delicious as a dipping sauce for fries or pizza as it would be poured over a salad. I love having things like this in the fridge because you never know quite when they will come in handy as an added extra for a meal.
I tend to prefer creamy dressings to more liquid based ones, so this ticks that box for me. The flavors are relatively simple with lemon, mustard, and oregano, which means it will pair beautifully with a wide range of dishes.
5. Italian Dressing
Italian cuisine contains some of my favorite flavors, so this Italian Dressing looks like it would be right up my street.
In this recipe, multiple delicious things are added to red wine vinegar to transform it into the perfect salad dressing. These include garlic and paprika, my ultimate favorite spice, as well as the Italian staple parmesan cheese. The poppy seeds in this dressing will add a little texture which is interesting.
6. Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing
There aren't too many ingredients in this Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing which make it great for multiple reasons. It is easy to make and also cost-efficient.
If you're a fan of citrus flavors, then you will instantly fall in love with this recipe as it will give your salads a delicious citrus twist. I love it when recipes come along with a few ways you could alter them and here it suggests that you try different citrus fruits to change up the flavor or use sour cream for a different consistency.
7. Honey Chipotle Dressing
This bright orange Honey Chipotle Dressing would look incredibly inciting against the green leaves of a salad. It would also make for a delicious chicken wrap; maybe I've found my new go-to work lunch.
Anything chipotle flavored is always the perfect mix of sweet and smokey, a flavor combination you wouldn't necessarily expect in a salad dressing. You could use this to give epic flavor to the plainest of salads, so there would be minimal effort involved.
8. Greek Yogurt Ranch Dressing
If you like your ranch dressing but don't like all the calories that come along with it, then look no further than this Greek Yogurt Ranch Dressing. Not only will it be better for your health but it will also taste far lighter which is precisely what you want for a side salad.
Because of the pure flavors, this dressing would work well with a variety of meats and even fish, so if you're looking to swap your regular carb side for a salad, then this could be a great accompaniment.
9. Peanut Lime Dressing
Ever since I backpacked around Asia last summer, I can't get enough of Asian food. I keep trying to find recipes which aren't too difficult to recreate but will still give me a flashback to my time traveling around the continent.
I can't believe I haven't yet tried a Thai inspired salad, but this Peanut Lime Dressing looks like a great place to start. All the classic flavors of Asian cuisine go into this dressing, like fragrant lemongrass, slightly salty soy sauce and citrusy lime. You could make this dressing and use it on a salad of your choice or follow this recipe fully for a Thai noodle salad.
10. Tangy Tomato Dressing
Fresh tomato salads always remind me of summer, so I am excited to add an extra tomato element to them this year with a helping of Tangy Tomato Dressing.
There are only a few ingredients in this easy to make salad dressing, meaning that you could whip it up in an instant if you suddenly realized you were all out. I can imagine this going down a treat at a BBQ, and because it includes blended tomatoes, the consistency won't be too runny.
11. Avocado Lime Green Goddess Dressing
I'll try anything that claims it will make me look like a goddess. There has been somewhat of an avocado hype in the recent years, and I have jumped right on board with it. I now incorporate avocado into many sandwiches, breakfast, and salads when I wouldn't necessarily have done so before.
The avocado in this Avocado Lime Green Goddess Dressing will make it incredibly smooth, and the lime is just what it needs to add a little kick. I can imagine this going particularly well with salads which include chicken.
12. Blue Cheese Dressing
I am a sucker for a good blue cheese sauce, and you can bet whenever I order a steak in a restaurant that's what I'll be ordering along with it. I love the combination of salty and creamy along with the underlying cheesy goodness.
Because the flavor will be quite strong, this Blue Cheese Dressing would taste best when accompanying a relatively plain salad. Add a little bit of bacon in amongst your salad, as the recipe suggests, and you're certainly in for a treat.
13. Lemon-Anchovy Vinaigrette
This Lemon Anchovy Vinaigrette seemed like a strange concept to me when I first read the title of the recipe, but the more that I think about it, the more intrigued and willing to try it I become.
Lemon and anchovy are in fact two of the key ingredients in caesar dressing, so if that is so popular then why not this cut back version? The lemon will provide a fresh, zesty flavor while the anchovies bring salt, and I love that they have included red pepper flakes for a little background heat.
14. Lemon Garlic Dressing
If you are looking for a simple dressing that will suit everyone's flavor preferences and work with many different meals, then this could be the one for you.
This Lemon Garlic Dressing will be full of flavor while remaining light enough that it doesn't steal the show. Lemon and garlic work well together as the sweet citrus of the lemon mellows out the sharpness of the garlic. It is incredibly simple to make, in fact, you most likely already have the necessary ingredients in your cupboard.
15. Tangerine and Fennel Vinaigrette
Whenever I have guests around, I try to make things which sound fancy to say. Call me crazy, but I like to make people believe I have spent hours slaving over the hot stove to make restaurant food, regardless of how simple it is in reality.
This Tangerine and Fennel Vinaigrette is a perfect example of that. It takes a whole five minutes to make, and the exotic flavor combination will have your guests in awe of your culinary genius. It will have the aromatic flavor of fennel with a zesty burst of tangerine.
16. Pomegranate Vinaigrette
I only recently learned about the wonders of the pomegranate, and since then I have been using it left right and center. It's far more versatile than you might think, whether you scatter the beautiful pink jewels over salads, pop them into cocktails or scoop them out and eat them with a spoon.
If you like sweet dressings with your salads, then this Pomegranate Vinaigrette is well suited to you. It's made with either honey or maple syrup which will genuinely enhance the sweetness of the fruit and then spiced up a little with dijon mustard.
17. Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing
The world of fresh herbs is still a little bit of a mystery to me; I am never sure what goes with what. I can, of course, follow a recipe though, and this Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing looks delicious.
Because it contains actual cilantro leaves, this dressing will taste remarkably fresh which is a perfect match for a nice green salad. The freshness will be helped along by the zesty lime, and the Greek yogurt will keep it light and cool.
18. Soy Sesame Dressing
For an Asian inspired dressing without all the fancy spices and ingredients you've never heard of, try this Soy Sesame Dressing. My sister loves making noodle salads, she usually tops them with plain soy sauce, but I bet she'd like this as an upgrade.
This dressing would be delicious on a wide range of salads; I can imagine it would work well with noodle and rice dishes too. The recipe only requires you to combine all the ingredients so you could have it made in a jiffy.
19. Maple Balsamic Dressing
The older I get, the more I enjoy dishes which combine sweet and savory flavors. This was something I never used to like, but I am so glad to have come around as it has opened up a whole world of delicious flavors for me.
This Maple Balsamic Dressing is an excellent example of sweet and savory, with the deep flavor of maple syrup combined with the almost acidic balsamic vinegar. My mom used to make a pork dish with a marinade similar to this, so I am excited to recreate it using this recipe.
20. Italian Herb Vinaigrette
I have bought Italian Herb Vinaigrette many a time from the store but never thought it possible to make my own. This recipe makes it possible, all you have to do is combine all the ingredients in a food processor, there isn't even much preparation involved.
I love the idea of all those fresh herbal flavors being sweetened with honey, which in itself will add even more flavor to the vinaigrette. It can be stored in the fridge for up to five days, making it perfect for lunchtime salads.
21. Sweet Onion and Citrus Dressing
I feel like onion can be a tricky ingredient to use raw, but in this recipe for Sweet Onion and Citrus Dress it wouldn't be too overpowering and would mix perfectly with the other ingredients. It's a lovely recipe to pair with a fresh spring salad.
The citrus flavor, coming from lemons, is needed to mellow out the onion and to take away a little sweetness added by the honey. Paprika and mustard will add a touch of heat which I like, especially when none of the vegetables I usually use for my salads are spicy.
22. Japanese Ginger Dressing
Fresh ginger isn't something I have ever considered using in a salad, but now that I have seen this Japanese Ginger Dressing recipe I think it would work well. My whole family loves Japanese cuisine so I can see this going down a treat in our house.
Aside from the funky bright orange color provided by the carrots, I like this dressing because it is something a little different and exotic sounding. The addition of a bit of sugar is a great idea in my opinion, as the sharpness of the ginger needs something to mellow it out.
23. Creamy Apple Cider Vinaigrette
Here's another dressing recipe you can most likely make without nipping to the store. With a few simple ingredients, you could make this Creamy Apple Cider Vinaigrette in a matter of minutes. This recipe is about taking something classic and giving it a little boost.
The recipe suggests serving this with an apple blue cheese walnut salad, but I think it would go well with a range of things. It provides all the flavor elements you would want from a dressing and again has the creamy consistency I always tend to reach for.
24. Oil and Vinegar Salad Dressing
This is the simplest of simple salad dressing recipes, but sometimes that's all you need. Whether you're rushing out the house in the morning and need something to flavor the salad you've packed for lunch or you have an impromptu BBQ one evening, this Oil and Vinegar Salad Dressing could save your life.
There are no surprise ingredients, all you need is oil and white wine vinegar, with a little salt to season. If you're looking to jazz it up a little there are suggestions of how to do so; you could add a squeeze of lemon or lime for example.
25. Raspberry Vinaigrette
A couple of years ago, I had lunch in a little deli with my parents, and they had salads with Raspberry Vinaigrette on them. It was love at first taste, and now every time I visit their house they have a bottle in the fridge, no exceptions.
The dressing they use is store bought so I will definitely be sending them this recipe to try out for themselves. Raspberry isn't necessarily the first thing you would think of when making a salad but trust me it's the perfect flavor. It's sweet but not too sweet, and of course, that bright pink color will brighten up both your salad and your day.
26. Creamy Parmesan Dressing
This recipe for Creamy Parmesan Dressing is like a Caesar dressing with the cheese levels ramped right up. I love cheese in all forms and dishes but it's not always the healthiest, so I like to think that by enjoying it with a salad I am combating that a little.
Parmesan cheese has such a unique flavor that it will be the perfect way to make a plain salad more exciting. It's incredibly easy to make and lasts a whole two weeks when refrigerated, which is a lot longer than many other homemade dressings.
27. Asian Dressing
There are of course hundreds of flavors used in Asian cuisine so the name Asian Dressing might seem a little general. This recipe is a great way to take soy sauce, a staple in many Asian dishes, and elevate it to an epic salad dressing level.
This is precisely the sort of thing I like to use on stir-frys and rice dishes, so don't think that it would have to be strictly reserved for salads. The flavors are simple which makes it versatile, and the honey will add a warm sweetness. I love the idea to add sesame seeds for a little bit of texture.
28. Honey Sriracha Lime Dressing
Everyone I know seems to be obsessed with sriracha at the moment, including my family, so if I can manipulate that to make them eat salads, then I will definitely do it.
Not only will this Honey Sriracha Lime Dressing have a real fire though it from the sriracha, but it will also be beautifully sweet with the honey. I find dressings with a hint of sweetness far more exciting to eat on salads as they provide a flavor element that no vegetable does. This looks like it would be the most perfect, fresh dressing to enjoy in the warmer months.
My salads are going to get a whole lot more exciting and dynamic now that I know about all these spectacular salad dressing recipes. I have gotten quite good at adding variety to a salad with the vegetables I use, but switching up my dressings will take my salads to the next level.
Due to my love of Thai cuisine, I can't stop thinking about that Thai Peanut Lime dressing; I want to try and make a fresh noodle salad to go along with it. I love my classic Caesar Dressing so I will definitely give this recipe a go to see how it compares to others I have tried.
Do you have a go-to salad dressing? Do you like to be adventurous or keep it simple with your salads?