Looking at salad dressing labels can be a scary thing sometimes! Although it tastes great, it most often is not great for your body too. This is why I was elated when I came across recipes for my three favorite dressings — homemade dairy free ranch, honey mustard and balsamic! These three recipes are extremely versatile, as they not only go with salads, but also can be paired with any kind of chicken dinner, especially homemade chicken tenders for the kids! Your mouth and body will thank you for taking the extra minute to make your own sauces for your meal.
You can find the recipes for the other two dressings on My Whole Food Life, and here is the recipe for the balsamic vinaigrette:
Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette
1/3 cup olive oil
2 T balsamic vinegar
1/2 T red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic minced or pressed
1/4 scant tsp ground mustard
1 T lemon juice.
Whisk all the ingredients together. That’s it. I store my dressing in a small mason jar in the fridge. It should keep for a couple weeks. Since there are no additives in this, it will solidify in the fridge. Pull it out a few minutes before you use it again. Or just make it as you need it.
Lunch is a tough one for me. I never know what to make. I like salads and sometimes a light sandwich but those two options get old fast. The most important thing for me as I work from home and have a 13 month old running around, is something healthy but quick! This recipe totally fits the bill. It doesn’t hurt that I absolutely LOVE avocados
Corn & Tomato Stuffed Avocado (recipe & instructions found on Pip & Ebby)
Ingredients: (feel free to get creative with whatever you like though!)
- Salt & Pepper
- Lime (juice)
Now if this salad doesn’t say summer, I’m not sure what does! I love finding new ways to enjoy healthy greens as I often get stuck in a rut of creating the same ol’ salad. I love that this one incorporates berries, they’re such nutrition powerhouses! I imagine you could substitute blackberries for whatever berry suites you. Oh, and if making your own salad dressing seems difficult, this recipe will prove just how simple it really is!
What you’ll need (please visit The Doctor’s Daughter for full recipe & instructions)
- Arugula (or whatever greens you’d like)
- Blackberries (or whatever berry you’d like)
- Olive oil
- Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
- Salt & Pepper
Lunch is a tough one for me. It’s an important meal in my book because it has the potential to fuel me through that tough afternoon slump if chosen wisely. The issue is that I never seem to have great ideas and am often last minuting it. I like this recipe for a Loaded Baked Sweet Potato found on Tracey’s Culinary Adventures! Not only is it healthy but it can be prepped the night before and warmed up in a cinch!
For the detailed recipe please visit Tracey’s Culinary Adventures.
- Sweet Potato
- Greek yogurt
- Taco seasoning (homemade is best in my opinion as it’s got less sodium & preservatives)
- Olive oil (although Tracey’s Culinary Adventures calls for canola)
- Red bell pepper
- Red onion, diced
- Mushrooms, diced
- Chili powder
- pinch of salt
- Canned black beans
- Scallions, thinly sliced
- Cheese (optional, I’ll be omitting this)
I’m always looking for new fresh ways to enjoy produce. This salad sounded amazing to me! In our local market both radishes and oranges have been looking great and fairly inexpensive. Per my usual, my one tweak would be to omit the sugar and instead maybe just drizzle a bit of honey.
Ingredients – for full instructions & original recipe please visit Kitchen Riffs
- 1 or 2 bunches of radishes
- 1 tablespoon of honey (although the real recipe calls for 1-2 tbsp of sugar)
- juice of one lemon
- ~1 tablespoon orange blossom water (optional, but read Headnote on Kitchen Riffs for why you should use it)
- salt to taste
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional; not traditional in this recipe, but nice; see Notes on Kitchen Riffs)
- 3 navel oranges
- 1 or 2 tablespoons chopped mint leaves or a dusting of cinnamon to garnish
I love pasta but have been trying to come up with some new healthier ways to enjoy it. With the emergence of nicer weather lighter food is welcome in our household! This recipe for Arugula Pesto would be great enjoyed with either brown rice pasta or a whole wheat pasta. The other nice thing about pesto is there’s no cooking involved so it’s a quick and easy weeknight dinner idea!
Full recipe on Slim Palate
Homemade gifts are always so special. Seasoned salts are such a fun addition to any cooks kitchen which is why I loved this idea! It’s so simple even young children can help out with this project.
Recipe and idea found on Five & One
Citrus + Herb Sea Salt Recipe
1 cup coarse sea salt
1 teaspoon each of sage, thyme, and, rosemary
1 teaspoon each of lemon and orange zest
Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Finely chop herbs and zest and mix with the salt. Place on a baking sheet and bake for about 8 minutes, just enough to dry the herbs and zest. When the salt is cooled you or your child may crush together with your fingers or pulse in a food processor to incorporate the flavors of the salt, herbs, and fruit zest.
Salads are an absolute staple around our house! Over the past several years I’ve experimented quite a lot with homemade dressings and love them so much we’ve done away completely with store bought. This salad combination found on Ruffles and Truffles looks incredibly simple and delicious. This would make a fantastic weekday lunch and with the addition of some avocado and a few walnuts or almonds could be quite filling I imagine!
Ingredients for Salad (adapted from Ruffles & Truffles)
- Spring Mix
- Feta (optional)
- Dried Cranberries
- Avocado (optional)
- Walnuts or Almonds (optional)
Toss ingredients together in a bowl
Ingredients for Honey Lime Dressing (adapted from Ruffles & Truffles)
- 1/4 cup honey (or could use 1/8 c. raw agave nectar)
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/8 cup lime juice (about 1/2 of a lime)
- 1/2 tsp lime zest (or other citrus zest)
- 1/8 cup diced yellow onion
- 1/2 tsp dry mustard
- generous pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup olive oil
Mix it all together well and then drizzle on salad!
With the arrival of spring we happily transition to a lighter fare in our household. This includes lots and lots of salads. I also really love adding fruit in the mix, it gives salads such a welcome burst of flavor! The base of this salad is arugula which has a nice flavor and is chalk full of phytochemicals, anti-oxidents, vitamins and minerals. Arugula is also a part of the cruciferous family of vegetables which host powerful anti-cancer benefits.
For the full recipe visit Yummy Supper.
Now that it’s spring our family will be grilling up a storm. In fact my husband, in anticipation of spring, has already been preparing several meals that way. We’re always looking for new creative recipes to try out in an attempt to avoid the dinner rut we so often find ourselves in. This recipe for Chicken Jalapeno Burgers found on What’s Gaby Cooking looks amazing! We’ll likely lighten it up a bit with the following modifications:
- Omitting the cheddar (sounds amazing but not so healthy)
- Omitting the sour cream….heck when you have guacamole what more do you need?!
For full recipe and instructions please visit What’s Gaby Cooking.