These 6 DIY Low-Calorie Dressings Make Every Salad Taste Delicious

Because Caesar isn't slimming.

Salad Dressings From The Energy Guide by Dr Libby Weaver
Image: The Energy Guide by Dr Libby Weaver
The Energy Guide By Dr Libby Weaver
Images and recipes from The Energy Guide by Dr Libby Weaver, published by Macmillan.

If you’re eating a salad, it’s generally for one of two reasons. 1: you’re trying to be healthy or 2: you’re a rabbit.

But in all seriousness, salads aren’t everyone’s lunch of choice. They’re what we subject ourselves to when we’re “being good” because they’re usually (read: sans croutons) the most low-cal option. But in our attempts to make them edible (after day seven of #saddesksalad) we drown them in dressing—and that’s our biggest mistake.

Don’t get me wrong, dressing is essential. It’s like the icing on a cake or the sauce on pasta—without it, it’s lacking. But not all dressings are healthy. Buy one from a store and it’s probably full of preservatives. Enjoy one at a café and it’s probably made with mayonnaise. Choose the wrong dressing and that salad may as well be a sandwich…with bacon…and melted cheese.

So what’s a gal to do? Make her own. It pays to have a bunch of dressing recipes that can elevate your salad without sabotaging your weight loss goals. Just ask Dr Libby Weaver, author of The Energy Guide, who preps her dressings on the weekend to spice up her lunch for the week. Her genius recipes are packed full of fresh, nutritious ingredients. Throw them into a jar, seal with a lid and shake well to combine. They’ll keep in the fridge for up to one week.

1Everyday salad dressing

1⁄2 garlic clove, crushed
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard (preferably organic)
2 tablespoons white or red wine vinegar
1⁄2 cup (125 ml) extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

2Creamy tahini dressing

1⁄2 cup (140 g) hulled tahini, at room temperature
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard (preferably organic)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove, chopped
1⁄2 cup (125 ml) water
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

3Maple and chilli dressing

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (preferably organic)
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
pinch of dried chilli flakes (optional)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

4Orange and balsamic dressing

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (preferably organic)
1⁄2 cup (125 ml) extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

5Lemon and caper dressing

1⁄3 cup (65 g) capers, rinsed and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (preferably organic)
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons raw honey
1⁄3 cup (80 ml) extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

6Pink dressing

2 teaspoons sumac
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1⁄3 cup (80 ml) extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Sick of salad? Take a break with this lunch recipe (it may be just as healthy) or try this nourishing winter salad which swaps lettuce for lentils.