Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Choices Count: Salad Dressing

By Kate Rowe, January 1, 2012  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Kate Rowe

Enjoying a salad bowl filled with winter lettuce, red onions, fresh herbs, cucumbers, radishes, carrots, peppers and more is a great way to kick off the New Year. But the veggies are only half the picture.

The salad dressing on top can turn that healthy choice into a SAD one. (SAD = Standard American Diet, if you didn’t know.) A quick trip down the salad dressing aisle at any conventional grocery store features an astounding array of bottled chemicals, sugars and high fructose corn syrup, overly processed oils and preservatives.

On the other hand, a good salad dressing not only adds great flavor but nutritional value as well. It’s actually quite simple to make your own dressing. Nuts and fruits can make for creamy, juicy and flavorful salad dressings without adding any extracted oils. Plus you get the health benefits of those nutrient-dense nuts and fruits. Save money by using your imagination and what's in your pantry to come up with new flavor combinations.

Here’s a starter recipe for a healthy salad dressing:

1/3 cup chopped nuts, such as walnuts, cashews, almonds or pecans

1/2 cup chopped fresh fruit, such as apples, plums, peaches, blueberries or strawberries

1/4 cup unsweetened soymilk (or fruit juice, such as pomegranate or orange)

1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice (or vinegar)

Purée all ingredients in a food processor or high-powered blender until smooth. For thinner dressings, add a little more soymilk or fruit juice. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and lemon or lime juice as needed.

That’s it! Super simple. Check out our recipe page for Learn to Cook: Salad Dressing to explore the comments and suggestions from other readers.

Here are a few more healthy, no-oil added dressing recipes:

Making your own dressing really doesn’t take much time. Try it and see for yourself!

Oh, and for those times when you do buy bottled dressings, be sure to look for preservative- and additive-free dressings based on ingredients such as vinegar, mustard and expeller-pressed oils. Shy away from buying dressing with added sugar, fructose or high fructose corn syrup.

You might try a fat-free, low-sugar dressing — you can always add your own nuts or seeds.

Do you have a favorite salad dressing recipe? We’d love to read about it.




MyArkansasMommy says ...
This is a great article full of salad dressing recipes that I will try out and post about! Thank you so much Ms Rowe! As a blogger, I not only post about saving money but about my struggle to lose weight. My biggest downfall is Ranch Dressing. You have given me plenty of ideas to share with my readers. :)
01/11/2012 6:48:13 AM CST
Susan says ...
Hi- I've been dying to know the recipe for the delicious Mediterranean Vinaigrette salad dressing I find on the salad bar at my WF store. Is it published anywhere? Thanks!
01/01/2012 9:38:38 PM CST
Tim says ...
What a great idea, nuts! I am going to have a salad for Dinner this evening and will try this new nuts dressing. Thank you Tim
01/05/2012 12:38:36 PM CST
Jason says ...
What's with the no fat dressings? Homemade salad dressings are a perfect opportunity to get some additional healthy fat from extra virgin olive oil. Macadamia nut oil would be another great choice.....Until Americans up their fat and all but eliminate foods that our bodies simply are not designed to process, the health of our country's citizens will continue to decline. I do like your suggestion of adding some crushed nuts Anyway, I made a yummy dressing with: 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil 1/4 cup unrefined apple cider vinegar 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar juice from 1/2 a fresh lemon 2-5 cloves of crushed fresh garlic based on preference spices of your choice like: black pepper, Italian herbs, ginger, etc.
01/10/2012 10:24:46 AM CST
Lisa Coyne says ...
I just made this with blueberries, pecans, unsweetened almond milk and balsamic vinegar. YUM!
01/22/2012 3:55:00 PM CST
janejohnson says ...
@Susan This is likely a dressing that your store makes up special for you. I searched in our recipes index and unfortunately could not find a match. If you reach out to your store directly for this information, they'll be happy to chat with you. The link below will help identify the contact information for your store. Also, the second link is a recipe for Mediterranean Vinaigrette from Food.com. Perhaps this is close to the flavor combination you are seeking. www.wholefoodsmarket.com/stores http://www.food.com/recipe/mediterranean-vinaigrette-65556
01/04/2012 1:44:47 PM CST
tammy beasley says ...
We also have the mediterranean dressing at our whole food store. They told me that it comes in bulk but I was able to get some in a soup bowl to bring home. Would love this recipe. It is awesome.
07/12/2012 6:13:27 PM CDT
Megan says ...
@Tammy Items in the Prepared Food section can vary by store, so your best bet is to ask the team at your local store for the recipe!
07/13/2012 9:44:55 AM CDT
Paula says ...
Looking for a salad dressing that I found at WF. It is a no-oil tangerine dressing in a small squareish bottle. Might be vegan. Dont remember brand. Please help
07/28/2012 5:19:29 PM CDT
Nikola says ...
I buy a bottle of the Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing that you get at the salad bar by asking for it at the counter that has prepared food. The first time you ask they will not know how to sell it to you. They may also tell you that they sell it in the produce department. What is sold in the produce department is not the same thing. My WF weighs the bottle and charges the price per pound for the salad bar. The 32 oz bottle comes to a little over $17.00. Be sure to get the regular not the fat-free. The fat free does not have the same ingredients. I too would love to have the recipe.
07/26/2012 5:47:13 PM CDT
Antonia says ...
I also am looking for the small squarish bottle tangerine dressing. I thought i had gotten it at WF but it is not there and can find no mention. There were 2 other dressings inthe same type bottle when I bought it. I noticed that Cindy's Kitchen's website lists a tangerine dressing but it is in a large bottle like the rest of their products. Thanks.
06/06/2013 12:49:11 PM CDT
Angélica - Community Moderator says ...
@ANTONIA- Sounds like a one of our Health Starts Here salad dressings. They usually tend to be in the cold prepared foods area. Ask someone at the store to help you find it!
06/10/2013 12:11:32 PM CDT
kathryn says ...
I always use the mediterranean vinegaret with chunks of cheese floating in it served at the Whole Foods salad bar in Winston Salem, NC....They don't sell it so would like the recipe if possible...It is delicious...Thank You....We shop at Whole Foods for a months supply as we drive 2 hours to get there...always a pleasurable experience and we have lunch as well...
04/06/2014 1:45:45 PM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@KATHRYN - If this isn't a packaged dressing check with the store directly to see if they have a recipe. If they do, they'll be happy to share it!
04/07/2014 2:25:09 PM CDT
Robin says ...
I called the store and they said that they don't make it, but get it from "South Kitchen." I tried searching the web for it, but I got no hits. It has chunks of cheese floating in it like Katheryn said. (Franklin, TN Store). I keep thinking that this would also be a great marinade for chicken. I wished we could find the recipe.
04/16/2014 11:34:40 AM CDT
Misty Bellon says ...
Is there a place to get the recipe for the balsamic vinaigrette they use at their salad bar? Lafayette, Louisiana ...Ambassador Caffrey store
10/07/2014 6:49:20 PM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@MISTY - Our dressing options will differ between stores. Check with the store directly to see what vendor they use for their dressing. If they make it in-house, they will be happy to share a recipe if they have one.
10/08/2014 11:29:11 AM CDT
Tom Gehring says ...
Nice article. Does WHM sell a healthy oil-free salad dressing? Would love to hear from you. thank you. Tom
02/28/2015 1:13:46 PM CST
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@TOM - You bet! Check with your local store and they can show you some options. Our Health Starts Here program will feature no oil dressings so you can ask if they have any that fall under that program to start.
03/03/2015 4:25:05 PM CST