When it comes to eating healthy this summer, there’s no doubt that a cool, crisp fresh salad is the way to go as often as possible. A big bowl of abundance the size of your head is still low in calories, super high in water content that keeps your bod and skin super hydrated, and tons of bioavailable phytonutrients, antioxidants, enzymes, and fiber. It’s basically the perfect meal.
Because we know that raw veggies don’t always agree with everyone, have no fear. We love a cooked veg salad — think: roasted broccoli and cauliflower, sauteed and massaged lemony kale, cooked spinach, steamed beets, grilled corn, you name it. Cook it and serve warm over your grains of choice, or let it all cool and keep your cooked veggies in the fridge for easy assembly. Boom. Lunch all week long.
Sometimes it’s not the salad part that feels daunting. (We get it: rinse, chop, and toss everything you want in a bowl.) But the dressing is where things can get complicated. So many dressings in the market are packed with sneaky ingredients that detract from your ultimate wellness meal #goals. There’s added sugars, inflammatory oils, preservatives, and sometimes, even coloring. If you’re thinking, “Ew, what?” You are correct.
We’ve rounded up some pantry and fridge staples that will make throwing together a super flavorful, super healthy, DIY dressing together … Well, super easy. The main rule of thumb to remember is that you need a fat, an acid, a sweetener, and salt and pepper to taste. Everything else is preference.
Miso Tahini Dressing
We love keeping white miso in the fridge — if you’re not into soy, there is also a chickpea miso that gets the job done. Miso is a fermented product, so those with sensitivities to legumes or soy shouldn’t have much of an issue with it. Plus, it lends a rich umami flavor to your dressing.
Add all the ingredients to a high-speed blender and blend until creamy. If too thick, add 1 TBSP of water at a time until it reaches the consistency you desire. If you’d like it to be richer, add toasted sesame oil instead of water. This dressing is full of stable ingredients, and will keep in the fridge for up to a month.
Sunflower Dill Garlic Dressing
Nuts and seeds blend so well with liquid to make a creamy, rich dressing. We prefer to soak our nuts overnight (or all day, if you’re making your salad and dressing in the evening) to get rid of as much physic acid as possible and to lend them to better blending — but if you don’t have the time, raw sunflower seeds will blend up nicely.
Add all ingredients to a high-speed blender. Adjust flavors and textures to taste — and add if you need more salt or honey, a dash of water or more acid, etc.
Cashew Herb Green Goddess Dressing
For this one, we highly recommend not skipping the soaking phase. Cashews contain loads of phytic acid, which is hard on our teeth and our digestive system. Plus, they blend up so extra creamy with a little soaking power!
1 cup cashews
¼ cup vinegar or ume plum vinegar
¼ cup lemon juice from fresh juiced lemons + the zest (pro tip: zest lemons before juicing them, it makes them yield extra juice and the zesting process is much easier when they are full)
¼ cup water
1 cup loosely packed parsley
1 cup loosely packed cilantro
2-3 TBSP honey or maple syrup
1 garlic clove Salt and pepper to taste.
Add all ingredients to a high-speed blender and adjust per your liking. Feel free to add any extra greens here — we love repurposing carrot tops, radish greens, throwing in some mint or dill, or any extra aromatics on hand! We are also not afraid of garlic, and throw in an extra clove to 2 for a spicy kick.
‘All the Good Fats’ Avocado-Ginger Dressing
When you’ve got an extra lean salad with some light protein, this fatty dressing is so decadent, creamy, and filling. We need fat to absorb fat-soluble vitamins and nutrients in our food, and to keep us satiated. This dressing also houses a little extra fresh produce like the green goddess herbs recipe above, so we are getting our bang for our buck when it comes to squeezing in more veggies!
½ large Hass avocado or 1 full small avocado, perfectly ripe (dressings are a great place to use an avocado that’s just slightly past its prime. Very slight browning is not bad, and still totally nutritious)
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup organic rice vinegar
1” knob of ginger
2 TBSP honey or maple syrup Salt and pepper to taste.
Add all ingredients to your high-speed blender, and adjust liquids per taste and texture.