Tag Archives: salad

Dairy-Free Ranch Dressing

Writing this post about Ranch Dressing helps me remember how far my sweet husband has come in his journey!  Ranch dressing was just HIS thing.  Every salad needed a thousand croutons, bacon, and a mound of Ranch Dressing. I don’t think he ever had anything else before he met me.

Then one day, he tried a vinaigrette, and I’m pretty sure that’s when I knew I was going to marry him 😉


The point is–I realize Ranch Dressing is a food group to some. I was never big on Ranch, but for me it was BBQ sauce.  So–I get it!

The real thing is atrocious. Like, really, really bad. It has no place in our diet. But there’s good news, I promise.  Most of the ingredients are FAKE anyways, so there’s always a way to make fake stuff the REAL WAY.

This looks innocent, right? (Photos taken from www.hiddenvalley.com)

Hidden Valley

Well, let’s take a look at what’s REALLY going on. This is some bad mamma jamma:


For the very first ingredient, you see soybean oil.  Soybeans are one of the top genetically modified crops in the United States. Sugar is most likely made from GMO sugar beets.  You see chemicals, and MSG, and artificial flavors.  Think about that. Artificial flavors.  That means they are fake. They are made in a lab.  And remember, if it’s made in a lab, it takes a lab to digest.  We aren’t labs. We’re people. We’re human, and we can’t process these kinds of foods.

Feel blah after you eat? Feel tired?  Your body spends most of its energy digesting food.  So what you put in your body DOES matter. If it spends all day trying to digest foreign ingredients, it doesn’t have much room left to get you through your day.

Here’s the good news.  You don’t have to give up ranch dressing.  That’s the cool thing about this journey. We aren’t giving up stuff (well, except the bad stuff!).  You just have to find a better way to eat the things you love.  I mean, I don’t know about you, but I can’t live without chocolate chip cookies!

Here’s an EASY, quick way to have Ranch Dressing.  Use it on a salad, as a vegetable dip, or make something fancy like these Beer Battered Buffalo Cauliflower Bites (I used gluten free beer and gluten free flour blend).

Buffalo Cauliflower

Read this recipe to hear my thoughts on Vegenaise!

Dairy-Free Ranch Dressing
Prep time: 
Total time: 
  • ½ cup Vegenaise (soy-free variety if necessary)
  • ¼ cup unsweetened almond milk (or milk of choice)
  • 1 T fresh parsley, chopped finely
  • ¼ t garlic powder
  • ¼ t onion powder
  • ⅛ t black pepper
  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl, and store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.


Honey Balsamic Dressing

Sometimes, you just need a classic.

Honey Balsamic Dressing

This one is it.  I love how simple, yet flavorful this dressing is!

My favorite kind of dressings are ones that have a hint of sweetness to it…Y’all know I’m a former sugar-aholic, so I’ve got to always have a little taste of sweet so I don’t relapse back… 🙂

This recipe will be a staple for your summer salads, and would make a great marinade, too!  Grill some tofu and some pineapple? Sounds YUMMY!

In the salad pictured, I used organic greens, organic strawberries, maple candied pecans (homemade), and almond feta cheese.  I took this salad to a gathering with some co-workers, and I had someone tell me it was the best salad she’s ever eaten! Wow, what a compliment 🙂

This dressing would work with ANY salad toppings of your choice.  Go for it this week!

Honey Balsamic Dressing
Prep time: 
Total time: 
  • ¼ cup + 1 T balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup Apple Cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup local honey
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 T Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, or ½ t garlic powder
  • ½ t sea salt
  1. Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Store in an airtight container in fridge for up to a week!




Creamy Poppyseed Dressing

Poppyseed dressing 2

About a week ago, we were a natural disaster zone, and I was busy in the kitchen making all kinds of chili recipes to keep us warm and full.

Today, the sun is shining bright.  It’s a tank top, windows down, pollen buddin’ kind of day.  It’s a little piece of happiness.  Lately, my taste buds have been as fickle as the weather, and today I’m in the mood for something that matches that bit of joy.

To me, nothing screams SPRING more than a fresh, light salad.  So I just had to make my version of one of my favorite salad dressings.

Did you know that most traditional Poppyseed Dressings call for 1/3 cup or more of WHITE sugar and over a cup of vegetable oil, both which (if not organic) contain GMOs?

Why make that when you can make something just as good (better in my opinion) with high quality, good-for-you ingredients?

Toss this with some greens, avocado, slivered almonds, dried cranberries, and blue cheese (we like the sheep’s milk variety) and you have one of my favorite salads!

This would be perfect drizzled on some pasta salad for that family BBQ or summer picnic!

Creamy Poppyseed Dressing
Prep time: 
Total time: 
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 T water
  • 2 T maple syrup
  • ½ shallot (about a heaping tablespoon or so)
  • 1 t dijon mustard
  • ¼ t salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 2 t poppy seeds
  1. Combine all ingredients (except poppy seeds) in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Stir in poppy seeds until well combined.
  3. Store in an airtight jar in the fridge for about a week.


Lemon-Basil Dressing

Allergen Information: Free of the top 8 allergens

Special equipment: Blender

Lemon Basil Salad 2

It’s tangy.  It’s basil-y.  It’s fresh. It’s interestingly addicting.  This dressing started as an experiment using up some ingredients in the fridge and is now topping my list as a favorite.

Lemon Basil Dressing 2I know that buying dressing makes life easy.  But I guarantee this will take less than five minutes of your time.  That five minutes will have you eating a fresh, real food dressing rather than a store-bought one laden with sugar, oil, preservatives, additives, genetically modified ingredients, and/or artificial sweeteners .  It will help your body GAIN energy rather than deplete it.

Put this one on your list this week and see what you think!

Lemon-Basil Dressing
Prep time: 
Total time: 
  • ½ cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, about one lemon
  • 2 T honey (try local honey!)
  • 1 t dijon mustard
  • salt to taste (I used about ¼ t)
  1. Place all ingredients in a high speed blender & blend until smooth. Store leftovers in a jar with a tight fitting lid in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.



Asian Buckwheat Salad–Gluten Free

Allergen Information: Contains soy.  You could use Coconut Aminos in place of the soy sauce, though I’ve never tried it. Gluten-free

Asian Dressing adapted from Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Kitchen

Asian Buckwheat Salad 2

I know the title sounds misleading, but yes, this is a gluten-free dish!  One of my favorite parts of my own personal food journey has been learning about all the amazing ingredients that God created–one reason why I encourage non-gluten free friends to try new things!

Buckwheat Soba NoodlesBuckwheat (though it sounds like it’s related to wheat) is actually not even a grain.  It’s a seed–which makes this recipe compatible for those on a grain-free diet as well.  The flavor works very well in Asian dishes, and gives this recipe just what it needs.

I have never found these noodles at a traditional grocery store in my area, only at Earthfare on the Asian aisle.  If you are following a gluten-free lifestyle, be careful to choose these noodles wisely.  You will see “Buckwheat Soba” noodles which are made with only Buckwheat flour, and you will see “Soba” noodles that are made with Buckwheat and wheat flour. If you are not gluten-free, feel free to try any (the Soba noodles tend to be cheaper)!

The taste of this recipe is punchy.  It’s all mixed together, but each ingredient stands out and lingers around for a while.  It’s incredible.  We like this salad paired with our spring rolls, but it is good enough on its own.  The recipe as written will probably feed about 4 servings, but if I’m left alone with it, you can bet I eat it in one sitting!  Do as I say, not as I do, right?

Asian Buckwheat Salad--Gluten Free
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • For Salad:
  • 8 oz package of Buckwheat Soba noodles, cooked & rinsed
  • ½ cup thinly shredded Napa Cabbage (save the rest for another use)
  • ½ cup red pepper, julienned
  • ½ cup fresh broccoli
  • 2 carrots, julienned or shredded
  • 3 Tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted lightly
  • For Dressing:
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 3 T sesame oil
  • ¼ cup Tamari (gluten-free soy sauce)
  • ½ cup white wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup agave
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 T fresh ginger root, peeled & minced (cut as small as you can)
  1. Put all dressing ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid and shake vigorously until well combined.
  2. Combine all chopped vegetables and cooked noodles in a large bowl. Drizzle desired amount of dressing (between ½ and ¾ cup) over the salad and stir!
  3. Store leftover dressing in the refrigerator & use on salad, raw vegetables, or as a marinade.
  4. If possible, chill the salad for at least one hour or overnight. If not possible, it still tastes great 🙂