5 Best Money-Saving, Healthy, Homemade Salad Dressings

Salad dressing is a ridiculous expense. The non-refrigerated kind have all sorts of unpronounceable additives, and the healthier jar type found near the produce aisle run at least $4 a jar — and they usually turn bad before I finish them. A solution? Make your own salad dressing, and only the amount you'll use within the week. Not only are you saving money, you're eating healthier. Here are the top five healthy dressings to add to your recipe stack. (See also: 8 Swanky Sauces to Glamorize Dinner)

Wanna-Be Ranch Dressing Without the Fat

12 servings

  • 1 1/2 lemons, juiced
  • 1 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 teaspoons garlic salt
  • 3/4 cup non-fat sour cream
  • 1 cup non-fat milk

Mix together lemon juice, yeast, garlic salt, and sour cream until smooth. Stir in milk, adjusting the amount or adding a little water, to make the dressing as thin or thick as you like. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours, or overnight.

Honey Mustard Salad Dressing

16 servings

  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1 cup non-fat sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar
  • 1 clove crushed garlic
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, sour cream and mustard. Add agave, garlic, honey, salt and pepper. Slowly pour oil into mixture while mixing briskly with a wire whisk. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Thousand Island Salad Dressing

12 servings

  • 1 cup non-fat sour cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 cup sweet pickle relish
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper

In a small bowl, mix together the sour cream, ketchup, relish, salt and pepper until thoroughly combined, and serve.

Balsamic Vinaigrette

6 servings

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove crushed garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1 pinch salt
  • ground black pepper to taste

In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, thyme, basil, oregano, honey and mustard powder. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Stir in minced fresh sage if desired.

Spicy Italian Dressing Mix

16 servings

  • 1 tablespoon garlic salt
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon chervil
  • 1 tablespoon dill

In a small bowl, mix together the garlic salt, onion powder, cumin, oregano, pepper, thyme, basil, celery salt, regular salt, chervil and dill. Store in a tightly sealed container. To prepare dressing, whisk together 1/4 cup white vinegar, 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons water and 2 tablespoons of the dry mix. (This mix can be sealed in an airtight ziplock and you can use it for meat seasonings, like chicken, as a rub.) The cumin gives it a more distinct flavor and adds color to the normal Italian version. Also, cumin is an excellent antioxidant which helps to fight Alzheimer's.

The freedom of making your own dressing means you can adapt the ingredients to fit in with whatever diet restrictions you have. Take these dressings and add them along with super salad add-ins and you're all set to have an inexpensive healthy side dish...on the fly!

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Guest's picture


A low fat, inexpensive ranch dressing recipe?

If the taste is anything close, I'm all over that one....

Guest's picture

Thanks for these recipes- they all sound wonderful! My husband and I stopped using bottled dressing last February and love making our own!

This is the best blue cheese low fat dressing I have come across:
1/3 cup of EACH low fat mayo, greek yogurt and low fat buttermilk
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
1 tablespoon of tarragon vinegar (or use white vinegar)
1 tsp. dijon mustard
salt & pepper to taste.
Mix with a whisk. 32 calories for two tablespoons! And it's DELICIOUS and cheap!

Sonja Stewart's picture

That sounds amazing! 32 calories for 2 tablespoons? This sounds like a winner.

Guest's picture

I have used one of your dressing recipes and it was very good..I used Wanna Be Ranch Dressing without the Fat...very good.thnx


Sonja Stewart's picture

Sweet! I'm so glad, Anna!

Guest's picture

We love Thousand Island Dressing, and we just usually get one bottle from our favorite grocery store. Now that I have the recipe, I will create a homemade salad dressing.