Dressings. Benefit from making them yourself

Dressing can be a wonderful addition to any dish that really brings out the flavour. They can also be a great way to enhance the nutritional value of a dish. For example adding lime or lemon to meals or salads adds extra vitamin C which is helpful for immunity but also increases the absorption of iron, especially iron from plant sources like spinach or chickpeas. Furthermore, adding cold pressed oils like olive oil, flaxseed oil, avocado oil, macadamia oil etc. can add a source of healthy fats which helps the absorption of fat soluble vitamins like A (carrots), D (eggs, sardines), E (seeds, spinach), K (leafy greens, broccoli, cabbage).

What you want to avoid is a lot of store bought dressings and sauces. A common problem is that people have so many pre made and processed condiments (sauces, pre made dressings) but most do not carry a health benefit- only a flavour enhancer with sugar and salt and in many cases cheap processed oils like soybean or canola which are pro inflammatory.

My advice to you is declutter your pantry or fridge. Get rid of pre made salad dressings that may have a lot of numbers or ingredients you don’t understand and have sugar added. 

If you have the basics in your pantry/ fridge/ garden, you can make and get creative with all sorts of great tasting dressings that have a nutritional benefit. For example:


Lemon or lime tree
Herbs; Mint, coriander, parsley, basil


Olive oil, sesame seed oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, honey or rice syrup, tinned tomatoes, tomato paste (unsalted), cumin, chili flakes, dried herbs.


Crushed garlic, ginger, wholegrain mustard, unsweetened yoghurt. (you may want to keep some olives or sundried tomatoes too)

Salad dressings:

Does depend on the type of salad, you may want to keep it simple and just go with wedge of lemon or balsamic vinegar but if you want to get creative here are some of my favs. This is for one serve…

Italian Style

1tsp olive oil w 1Tb balsamic vinegar and a sprinkle of Tuscan dried herbs - Added option; 3 sliced olives or sundried tomato or 1-2 fresh basil leaves finely sliced up. Goes well with lettuce and tomato, feta, cucumber salad or roast vegetables.

Asian Style or stirfy mix

1Tb sesame seed oil, juice of half a lemon (2-3Tb), tsp honey and ½ tsp crushed ginger. I also pop in a handful of coriander to my salad base and nice to toast up sesame seeds or chopped peanut or cashews. If making it into a stirfry – add tsp garlic too. This works well on a cold coleslaw type salad to with red and white cabbage, carrot and capsicum.

Indian sauce

Finely chopped onion, garlic, tsp turmeric, tsp cumin, with some salt and pepper then once cooked, add tin of tomatoes, 1-2 Tb tomato paste, and finish off with a cup of yoghurt. Can add in chili flakes too.

Greek dressing

Blend a Tb feta cheese with handful of spinach and coup of Tbs of yoghurt for the smooth consistency and lovely to drizzle over a falafel salad. Or finely diced mint leaves with yoghurt, finely diced cucumber and tsp olive oil.

Dressing for Coleslaw

½ cup yoghurt with 1Tb wholegrain mustard and wedge of lemon juice.

Home made tomato sauce

2 whole tomatoes, 2Tb olive oil, couple of basil leaves or tsp dried basil, tsp honey, 1T apple cider vinegar. Blend. For thicker consistency- add tomato paste. For extra flavour- add a couple of sundried tomatoes or olives.

Parsley Dressing for roast veges (after cooking)

Blend a handful of parsley with couple of Tablespoons of olive oil, salt n pepper, fresh lemon juice.

Or can use this when panfrying white fish.

Sweet Thai Chili dressing

1Tb sesame seed oil, chili flakes, tsp honey.

This is only the beginning- see what creative things you can come up with J

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