I was never much of a salad lover, and over the years I started to realize it wasn’t so much the salads themselves. It was all those crummy dressings — the ones that were either too sweet or too tart, the ones that drowned out the salad ingredients, turning them into an unappealing mush. Worst of all were the ones with the slightly off-tasting chemicals. With my Type 2 diagnosis, I knew I was supposed to eat more vegetables, and that raw vegetables, like the greens, fresh tomatoes, and cucumbers in salad, have benefits all their own. Plus, salads were coming of age all around me. Restaurants were making salads with beautiful, adventurous ingredients — things like roasted squash, pistachios and burrata cheese. At some point iceberg and romaine had morphed into more assertive greens like arugula, frisee and mizuna. It was time to stop pushing salads to the side of my plate.

I finally woke up out of my anti-salad stupor when I bought a high-speed blender. I admit I bought it off late night TV, with the memories of a string of infommercial failures still haunting me (the Jane Fonda treadmill — no motor! you just run on a conveyor belt, like Fred Flintstone/ the Slap Chop (messy — food gets stuck in the blades) and the Automatic Pasta Maker (don’t ask). The blender works very well though, so off I went. Did it make a difference? Yes, so much that I am becoming a bit of a healthy salad dressing connoisseur. Here are three dressings with everything going for them: taste, ease and health, plus suggestions for serving. None of these dressings have weird chemicals or hordes of sugar. FInal tip: it helps to make a few dressings ahead, on a Sunday for example, and store them in the fridge. Some things just make life go more smoothly.

Jalapeno Ranch Dressing: This would be great on a chopped salad with avocado, corn, black beans, queso fresco and tomatoes. Throw in some fresh cilantro and tortilla chips. How about cubed chicken or toasted pumpkin seeds?

Lemon Parmesan Dressing: Try it with fresh tomato and mozzarella, or with some shaved asparagus and a poached egg. It would also compliment a fennel salad. Add a few anchovies to make it more intense.

Carrot Miso Dressing: This one is adapted from a recipe by Gwyneth Paltrow. I know some people have mixed feelings about Gwynnie, but she sure makes good salad dressings. For her original recipe (which uses a lot of sesame oil) go to her GOOP newsletter. Try this one on a salad of Japanese-style vegetables, with some grilled octopus, snow peas, carrots and edamame.

Recipe: Three Healthy Salad Dressings

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For the Jalapeno Ranch Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (I used 2%)
  • 1/3 cup 1% buttermilk
  • 3 Tbsp light mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 shallow, roughly chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 fresh jalapeno pepper
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh chives
  1. Remove the seeds from the jalapeno pepper and chop roughtly.Rinse your hands, then all all ingredients to a blender (a high-speed blender works best). Reserve 1 Tablespoon of the chopped chives.
  2. Whir contents of the blender until everything is pureed and creamy. Stir in the remaining chopped dhives, scrape into a container, cover and refrigerate.

This recipe makes 1 TBSP servings.
Nutrition for one serving is as follows:

16

Calories

1g (SAT 0.2g)

Fat

1g

Protein

1g

Carbs

0g

Fibre

41mg

Sodium

Cholesterol

Saturated Fat

For the Carrot Miso Dressing:

  • 2 medium-sized fresh carrots
  • 1 medium shallot, roughtly chopped
  • 2 Tbsp fresh ginger, roughly chopped
  • 3 Tbsp white miso paste
  • 3 Tbsp mild rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  1. Chop the carrot and the ginger roughly. Add all ingredients to a blender (a high-speed blender is best). Scrape into a container, cover and refrigerate.

This recipe makes 1 TBSP servings.
Nutrition for one serving is as follows:

53

Calories

5g (SAT 0g)

Fat

0g

Protein

2g

Carbs

0g

Fibre

75mg

Sodium

Cholesterol

Saturated Fat

For the Lemon Parmesan Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 canola oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 oz good-quality parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
  1. Add ingredients to a blender (a high-speed blender is best). Scrape into a container, cover and refrigerate.

This recipe makes 1 TBSP servings.
Nutrition for one serving is as follows:

Note: The Lemon Parmesan Dressing is higher in fat than the other two: please check with your dietician.
87

Calories

9g (SAT 1)

Fat

1g

Protein

0g

Carbs

0g

Fibre

40mg

Sodium

Cholesterol

Saturated Fat

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