Monday, March 8, 2010

Low Glycemic Index Salad Dressings

Everyone knows the joy of a fresh, crispy salad. The problem is, if you make salads at home, they can become very boring, very fast. Lettuce, an occasional cucumber and some oil and vinegar might be great for a week, but we don't lose all the weight in a short week!

Try looking at a salad as a way to treat yourself for being healthy. Spring for the bean sprouts, spend some extra green on the fancy cucumbers, and always opt for a different lettuce, like baby arugula, spring mix, or romaine leaves. Most importantly, switch up your salad dressings with low glycemic index varieties so that you never get the same salad twice... in one week.

If you need help keeping your salad veggies fresh, be sure to check out this week's Tuesday Tips for fool-proof fresh veggie secrets! But for now, enjoy these healthy dressings atop your next fresh salad!

Creamy Buttermilk Dressing
Serves: 10

This recipe, adapted from The Sugar Solution Cookbook, is perfect for all of us who love ranch but can't deal with the calories and fat! This recipe is very versatile; it's great on salads, vegetables or as a dipping sauce for proteins!

  • 1 c reduced-fat buttermilk
  • 1/4 c light mayo Note: Use the SmartBalance variety to get in your healthy helping of Omega-3s!
  • 2 tbsp dill
  • 1 tsp minced garlic, or 1 pressed garlic clove
  • 1/4 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp brown mustard Note: Use a grainy mustard for a nice texture
  • salt and pepper to taste
To prepare:
Whisk all ingredients together and refrigerate until cool. Will keep for two
weeks in the fridge.

Nutritional Information, per serving:
  • Calories: 25
  • Fat: 1g
  • Sodium: 120mg
  • Carbs: 2g

I ♥ Italian Dressing
Serves: 4

This is a great dressing that can be made with ingredients you keep in your cabinet!


  • 1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning of your choice, such as basil or parsley
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • black pepper to taste

To prepare:
Mix all ingredients together with a whisk and pour over salad.

Nutritional Information, per serving:
  • Calories: 120
  • Fat: 14g
  • Sodium: 590mg

Garlic and Herb Dressing
Serves: 4

This is a robust dressing, perfect for when you want a real treat!

  • 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 bay leaves, halved
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 4 tbsp fresh parsley
  • 4 tbsp fresh herbs, such as marjoram, dill, tarragon, rosemary or sage
To prepare:
Heat a skillet over medium heat and add bay leaves, garlic and 1 tbsp oil.
Heat until the oil begins to bubble around the garlic and remove from heat.
Stir in lemon zest and add the remaining oil. Allow to sit for 30 minutes.
Remove the bay leaves and add parsley and herbs. Allow to cool for salad dressing or use immediately to dress pasta salad.

Nutrtitional Information, per serving:

  • Calories: 25
  • Fat: 6g
  • Sodium: 1g
Is That a Flaxseed in Your Dressing, or Are You Just Happy to See Me?
Serves: 4

So what's better than salad dressing with fiber and protein already mixed in? Nothing! This is a great dressing for an Asian spin on your salad. The flax seeds add a nutty flavor and lots of nutrients! Try with mung bean sprouts, chicken and almond slivers!

  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2" piece of fresh ginger, or 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 6 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 packet PureVia Zero-Calorie sweetener, or 1 tbsp sugar if you prefer
  • 1/4 tsp sesame seed oil
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp flaxseed
To prepare:
Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse until combined. Alternatively, you can use ground ginger and ground flaxseed and whisk ingredients together. Enjoy!

Nutritional Information, per serving:
  • Calories: 55
  • Fat: 2.5g
  • Sodium: 841mg
  • Carbs: 4g
  • Sugars: 3g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Protein: 3.5g
Salad Dressing Photo Credit:
Oil and Vinegar Photo Credit:


  1. Great dressing recipes, thank you! I enjoy homemade dressing so much more than the bottled kind. I will be making the buttermilk version soon.

  2. So if you don't list sugar by grams does that mean it contains no sugar? I personally would prefer to see "Sugar 0g" so we know for sure!! Thanks for the recipes! Love the variety!!!

  3. Thanks for the comment, Cindy! The recipes do not contain any added sugars unless noted. However, some ingredients have sugar in them. For example, the light mayo needed to make the Creamy Buttermilk Dressing has sugar in it. The Creamy Buttermilk Dressing would contain 2g of carbs per serving due to the mayo, but the nutrition label on the mayo doesn't indicate how much of that is sugars, so it's hard to be exact. The other dressings do not contain sugar unless specified. Thanks for the comment, and I hope this helps! :)


Thanks for sharing your thoughts with all of us!