Salads make up a pretty regular part of the Paleo diet plan because you’ll want to balance out all of the meat you’re eating with a good portion of veggies at each meal. Salad dressings are a great way to make the salad taste better, but pretty much everything you find on store shelves is going to be a no-go because food manufacturers can’t help but put additives and preservatives that aren’t really needed into them. Here’s an assortment of dressings that keep it simple and healthier for you.
1. Almost Ranch Dressing
You don’t have to give up the classic taste of Ranch dressing just because you’re following Paleo. It just requires a little bit of tinkering to make sure that there’s no diary or artificial ingredients being used. Traditional Ranch dressing has buttermilk, mayo, and sour cream, three ingredients that get the kibosh on Paleo. This version of Ranch is using a genius mix of cashews, coconut milk, and the required spices to replicate the taste while sidestepping all of the ingredients that can cause trouble to your digestion and health. You can use this as a salad dressing, or a dip for anything Ranch-worthy.
2. Hemp Oil & Chive Salad Dressing
This is a nice dressing for those that want to keep it simple, and also for those that want to try using hemp oil but didn’t know how to start. This combines the hemp oil with olive oil so you’re going to get a few different tastes. You’ll want to stick to the cold-pressed unrefined hemp oil because that’s the kind that our ancestors would have been more apt to come up with if they had the right tools and got the notion to press hemp seeds for oil. There’s also a bit of vinegar so this will be a bit tart, but there’s some honey as well to sweeten things up for a nice flavor.
3. French Tarragon Shallot Vinaigrette
This is a vinaigrette with a fancy name which may seem like you’re taking Paleo to the gourmet level. But in actuality it has just a handful or so of ingredients and it keeps things pretty simple with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Champagne Vinegar. The vinegar gets its name because it’s made by using the same types of grapes used to make champagne, so it’s not just a phony title. The tarragon, shallots, and garlic all do well to make this a treat for your taste buds, and poured over a kale or spinach salad make it easy to top up on your veggies.
4. Maple Mustard Dressing
Boasting just four ingredients it’s clear to see that this is a dressing that could easily have been enjoyed through the ages. The dijon mustard mixes well with the maple syrup so you’re getting sweet and some spice with each drizzle. Black pepper and olive oil combine for the other two ingredients. One point of clarification is that you can use regular olive oil and you don’t have to opt for light, since olive oil is a healthy fat and these are encouraged in the Paleo way of eating. There’s also a nice arugula and fennel salad recipe provided that you might want to try.
5. Red & White Balsamic Vinaigrette
This recipe proves that you don’t always have to have it plain and simple with Paleo, and that you can experiment with different flavors to find what works. Here it’s the use of both white wine vinegar and red wine vinegar in what would otherwise be a simple balsamic vinaigrette. Since each vinegar has a slightly different taste, it comes out with a different flavor than if you’d just used one. The dijon mustard also provides a strong flavor that makes this a special creation, while keeping it within the confines of a Paleo inspired diet..
6. Strawberry Rosemary Dressing
The use of strawberry in this dressing gives it a nice color, as well as the sweet fruity taste you’ve come to expect from strawberries. Fresh rosemary goes nicely with fresh strawberries, and they’re using olive oil and lemon juice to complete the dressing. They show this being served on a bed of arugula, but it can be used to flavor up any type of salad. Try this simple salad on for size: a bed of baby spinach leaves, fresh organic cucumber slices, a fresh tomato cut into wedges, and baby carrots sliced in half. It’s a simple and tasty salad with all Paleo friendly ingredients and this dressing goes nicely with it.
7. Ginger Dijon Vinaigrette
This recipe should only be used by those Paleo followers that like the taste of ginger as well as dijon mustard. That’s because when the two of these combine it forms a taste that will definitely perk up your mouth and make you pay attention. Olive oil and apple cider vinegar are used to create the classic vinaigrette backdrop, but what you’ll really taste is the ground ginger mixed with the dijon mustard. Try this on a steak salad like the one shown on the recipe page. It’s nice to get a half and half mix of meaty protein and fresh vegetables.
8. Creamy Caesar Salad Dressing
No salad dressing list would be complete without a Caesar dressing recipe. As it turns out, there aren’t many modifications necessary to make Caesar dressing Paleo friendly. Even the traditional directions call for anchovies, egg yolks, and olive oil. Paleo purists wouldn’t like the idea of using parmesan cheese, but there’s debate on the subject, since parmesan is relatively low in lactose compared to other cheeses. But this recipe manages to come up with the creamy taste of Ceasar without resorting to using cheese of any sort, so you can enjoy it fully, regardless of how well you digest dairy.
9. Taco Salad Dressing
This is a handy and quick taco salad dressing that you can whip up whenever you want to add the taste of tacos to what you’re eating. She keeps it simple by using a pack of pre-blended taco seasoning mix and keeps it easy by only adding coconut milk and crushed tomatoes to make it look like a dressing. This can really be eaten with any salad to make it taste like a Mexican dish, perfect for those times when you want tacos but without having to actually make them.
10. Creamy Herb Dressing
This is a nice creamy dressing and should help convince naysayers that it’s possible to have creamy things while doing the Paleo diet. The way they’ve made this creamy is with a cup of nuts and coconut water, which blended together give a nice creamy consistency akin to salad dressing. They then loaded it up with herbs like dill, parsley, and chives so it’s about as flavorful as you could want. Try it on everything!
11. Carrot Ginger Salad Dressing
This is a nice light dressing that will have a bit of an Asian zing to it because of the ginger. It’s the sort of dressing you’ll often see on the salad that is served before sushi at a Japanese restaurant. You can replicate that experience at home while on Paleo, just be sure to eat sashimi, which often is served without rice so you’re just getting fresh and raw fish. They show this being used on a very simple salad, which will really make the dressing pop.
12. Tangerine Lime Balsamic Dressing
This would have been just a normal balsamic dressing, but they’ve decided to accentuate it with the juice of a lime as well as the juice of a tangerine. This means you’re getting sour and citrus flavor from the lime mixed with sweet and more citrus flavor from the tangerine. The great thing about a balsamic dressing is that it tastes great on a wide variety of salads. You can even make a Paleo friendly “slaw” just using shredded cabbaged doused with a healthy amount of this dressing.
13. Avocado Ranch Dressing
What can make Ranch dressing even better? Avocados! Not only do they lend their distinctive flavor, but they provide an extra creamy and smooth texture, and loads of healthy benefits. They have plenty of fiber and healthy fat, as well as potassium and a bit of protein, not to mention an assortment of vitamins and minerals. This recipe uses no dairy whatsoever, with coconut milk getting the call instead. Dill, chives, paprika, and cayenne pepper combine nicely to provide that classic Ranch flavor, with an avocado tossed in to make it seem like you’re at a restaurant like Chili’s, which is renowned for their Avocado Ranch dipping sauce that comes with their Southwestern Eggrolls.