I decided to fully embrace the dietitian in me for this article and recommend dressing your vegetable salads with…vegetables. Plenty of us are still falling short of reaching the recommended 2 ½ cup equivalents of veggies per day. Salads are a great way to work towards that goal, but unfortunately, many commercial salad dressings are laden with calories, yet lacking any significant nutritional benefit. The solution? Flavorful, nutrient-rich, homemade vegetable vinaigrettes. Each dressing recipe below includes a vegetable as a base, paired with flavor boosting herbs and spices, vinegar, and oil. Fat-soluble vitamins and certain antioxidants in many veggies are better absorbed when eaten with fat, so the oil in each of these vinaigrettes plays a very important role!

For each recipe, combine the ingredients in a food processor to make around one cup of dressing:

Blueberry-Beet Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • ½ Cup canned, unsalted beets with juice
  • ¼ Cup fresh blueberries
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp oil (olive, canola, grapeseed, etc.)

Pairs well will honey-massaged kale or spinach, topped with walnuts.

Cucumber Basil Vinaigrette

  • ½ Cup peeled, seeded, & chopped cucumber
  • ¼ Cup chopped basil
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Black pepper to taste

Drizzle on top of fresh arugula and thick slices of tomato.

Carrot Curry Vinaigrette

  • ½ Cup grated carrots
  • 1 Tbsp grated ginger
  • 1 tsp red curry paste
  • 1 tsp coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Crushed red pepper flakes to taste (optional)

Goes best with lighter greens, like watercress, or julienned zucchini and summer squash.

Have you ever experimented with vegetable vinaigrettes? Share some of your favorite recipes below!

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