Flavour-packed salad dressings - thrive360
Dietitian Zannat Reza's healthy, delicious recipes and ideas on how to live a healthy lifestyle: eat better, move more, stress less, boost brain power, and create happy moments.
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salad dressings using canola

Flavour-packed salad dressings

Making your own salad dressing allows you to use simple ingredients to get maximum flavour. Read the ingredient label on a store-bought dressing and you’ll see what I mean. You may be surprised by how long the ingredient list is and what’s actually on that list. Xantham gum anyone? Plus there may be extra sugar and salt to extend the shelf-life.

A basic ratio for making a dressing is: 2 parts oil + 1 part acid + 1 part emulsifier

Oil is needed to help your body absorb vitamins (like A, D, E and K) and disease-fighting plant nutrients (lutein, zeaxanthin, carotenoids, lycopene among others). That’s why fat-free dressings are a waste of money.

I like using canola oil as its neutral flavour allows other dressing ingredients to shine (disclosure: I’m doing some media work for Canola Eat Well). Compared to other cooking oils, canola has the most heart healthy omega-3 fats. And another good reason to use canola is that it’s Canadian.

For the acid, use any type of vinegar you have (balsamic, rice, sherry) or citrus fruit (lemon, lime, grapefruit, orange).

Oil and acid don’t mix, and that’s where the emulsifier comes in. It could honey, mustard, garlic, tomato paste, miso paste, mayonnaise, goat cheese, blue cheese or yogurt. Without an emulsifier, the oil and acid will separate in your salad.

Feel free to play around with the basic formula. If you increase the oil, you’ll make the flavour milder. If you up the acid, it will taste sharper. Add different herbs and spices to create a range of flavours.

Here are five salad dressing recipes courtesy of Canola Eat Well. More ideas that I had on display for Global’s The Morning Show.

Lemon Dressing

  • 2/3 cup canola oil (150 mL)
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice (45 mL)
  • 2 Tbsp lemon zest (30 mL)
  • 1 Tbsp honey (15 mL)
  • 2 tsp fresh chives, minced (10 mL)
  • 1 /2 tsp hot chili flakes (2 mL)


Chili Lime Vinaigrette

  • 1/2 cup canola oil (125 mL)
  • 1/4 cup lime juice (60 mL)
  • 1 Tbsp honey (15 mL)
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped cilantro (15 mL)
  • 1/4 tsp minced garlic clove (1 mL)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin (1 mL)
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (2 mL)
  • ¼ tsp salt (1 mL)


Curry Dressing

  • 3 Tbsp canola oil (45 mL)
  • 2 Tbsp curry paste (30 mL)
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice (30 mL)
  • 1 Tbsp mango chutney (15 mL)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh cilantro, minced (15 mL)
  • 2 tsp honey (10 mL)


Ginger Soy Dressing

  • 1/2 cup canola oil (125 mL)
  • 1 Tbsp yellow miso paste (15 mL)
  • 1 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce (15 mL)
  • 1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar (15 mL)
  • 1 tsp honey (5 mL)
  • 1 tsp fresh peeled ginger root, finely minced (5 mL)
  • 1 tsp fresh garlic, finely minced (5 mL)


Moroccan Dressing

  • 1/4 cup canola oil(60 mL)
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice(30 mL)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin(2 mL)
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander(2 mL)
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper(0.5 mL)
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper(0.5 mL)


Which dressing appeals to you?

  • Zannat

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