7 Healthy Herb Dressings Ready In 5 Minutes or Less

Published on June 28, 2023

By Kristen Boye BS, Natural Health

Kristen Boye

Kristen Boye is a natural health expert, writer, copywriter, and editor. Kristen was raised on an organic farm in British Columbia which inspired her life’s work. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Natural Health, is a Certified Natural Foods Chef, co-owner of a medicinal herb farm, and is a natural foods and children’s health advocate. Kristen lives with her husband and two children on their medicinal herb farm in Western North Carolina.

Tasty and healthy salad dressings can make or break your attempts to eat more fresh greens.

However, healthy salad dressings made with high-quality oils and other ingredients are pricey and unique options can be hard to find.

Instead, try these seven healthy salad dressing recipes featuring a variety of fresh herbs.

Why Bother Making Your Own Healthy Salad Dressing?

With so much on the average person’s plate (no pun intended), it can be hard to imagine making time to create your own healthy dressings.

However, there are some serious perks to carving out five minutes or less to make a dressing, including:

  • They’re speedy & easy to make. No fancy skills, meal-prep time, or equipment are required. Just throw everything into a jar, blender, or salad bowl, shake, whisk, or blend, and you’re done.
  • They’re affordable. If you shop smart, you can save up to 80% or more on healthy salad dressings versus buying pre-made in the store.
  • They taste better than store-bought dressings. The addition of fresh herbs and high-quality ingredients makes for incomparable flavor. Once you start making your own salad dressings, you may wonder how you ever ate the store-bought stuff.
  • They’re healthier. Most salad dressings (including some healthy versions) contain preservatives, chemical emulsifiers, artificial ingredients, pro-inflammatory oils, flavor enhancers, cheap kinds of vinegar, and loads of added sugar and salt. Plus, research tells us that food stored in plastic containers can leach harmful plastic chemicals and microplastics into the acidic dressing (yes, even food-safe plastic containers can leach). REF#2070
  • They’re more eco-friendly. No more tossing out one-use glass or plastic dressing bottles. 

So, perhaps the question should be: why not make your own healthy salad dressings?

Let’s start with a crash course in the basics of salad dressing making.

The Basic Components Of Salad Dressings

Although there are many types of salad dressings, they all require the same basic ingredients:

  • An oil
  • An acid, such as vinegar or citrus juice
  • An emulsifier, such as Dijon mustard, mayonnaise, yogurt, tahini, avocado, egg yolks, or tomato paste
  • Salt
  • A bit of sweetness to offset the acid

Are there exceptions to these rules? Yes. 

For example, when hand-whisking a dressing, an emulsifier is more helpful than if you’re using a high-powered blender.

And not all dressing recipes call for something sweet.

However, all good homemade dressings generally contain some variation of these basic components.

What’s The Best Oil To Use For Healthy Salad Dressings?

Most dressing recipes will call for olive oil or a neutral-tasting refined seed oil such as canola, sunflower, or vegetable oil.

However, if you’re going for healthy dressings, the best oils to choose are the least refined, highest quality, neutral- to semi-neutral tasting non-seed oils, such as:

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Avocado oil

These oils are recommended because they contain less pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids REF#2071 and are more natural than highly processed, refined seed oils. 

Plus, they taste better and are pretty affordable these days.

Why Not Coconut Oil?

Although considered a healthy fat, coconut oil becomes solid at room temperature, making it a poor choice for dressings.

What About Sesame, Walnut, Hemp, And Flax Seed Oil?

These are also considered healthy oils and may work in certain dressings. 

However, due to their stronger flavor, we’re recommending olive oil or avocado oil for the recipes in this article.

A Note About Using Olive Oil In Dressings

Extra virgin olive oil will solidify at cool temperatures.

However, since it is liquid at room temperature, it is a good option for most dressings—although it will solidify if stored in the fridge or freezer. 

Refrigerated olive oil dressings can be re-liquified by sitting at room temperature for 20-30 minutes or running the dressing bottle under warm water.

Also, since extra virgin olive oils carry a natural grassy olive flavor, they or may not be your top choice for every dressing.

If you’re unsure, it’s better to go with neutral avocado oil or a 50:50 blend of olive oil and avocado.

Equipment Options For Making Homemade Dressings

Homemade dressings require no fancy equipment, though you can use a blender or food processor.

Dressings can be made via:

The Traditional Bowl And A Whisk Method

Mix up all the ingredients except for the oil*, then slowly drizzle in the oil while whisking constantly to form a homogenous mixture.

*Note: some people prefer to whisk in fresh herbs at the very end of the process to preserve their natural beauty.

An emulsifier, such as Dijon mustard, mayonnaise, or jam, makes the hand-whisking method much easier and more effective.

When using the Traditional Bowl and Whisk Method, all herbs and other fresh ingredients must be pre-minced.

The Mason Jar Method

Put everything into a mason jar at once, then shake, shake, and shake some more until it’s all mixed up.

All herbs and other fresh ingredients must be pre-minced when using the Mason Jar Method.

The Blender Or Food Processor Method

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until combined.

This method is pretty fail-proof for achieving a uniform mixture, even without an emulsifier.

Fresh herbs can be added directly to the blender or minced finely and whisked in by hand after blending to preserve their shape.

7 Healthy and Fast Herb Salad Dressings

Let’s dive into our seven options for fast, healthy, and delicious herbal salad dressings.

1. A Basic Herb Vinaigrette

There is nothing more versatile and scrumptious than a punchy vinaigrette made with fresh herbs.

(This simple recipe can be used with any fresh herbs you have; the herbs listed are just suggestions.)

The addition of parmesan cheese adds a nice umami flavor but can be omitted or substituted with dairy-free parmesan or mellow white miso.


  • 1/2 cup high-quality, extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil
  • 1/4 cup white wine or red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1-3 cloves freshly minced garlic (to taste)
  • 1-2 tablespoons shallot, onion, chives, or scallions, minced
  • A handful of fresh herbs such as basil, oregano, rosemary, lemon balm, and parsley (finely minced if not using a blender or food processor)
  • 3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese or 1 teaspoon mellow white miso (optional)
  • A small drizzle of raw honey or maple syrup
  • Pinch of cayenne (optional for added spice)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Combine all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and mix until just combined. OR throw everything into a mason jar and shake vigorously to combine.
  2. Add salt and pepper to taste and remix.
  3. Store in a mason jar or salad dressing container in the fridge.

    2. Make-In-The-Bowl Herby Caesar Dressing

    Caesar dressing may seem complicated and intimidating, and it is if you use a traditional recipe (raw eggs, anyone?).

    However, when you deconstruct it, Caesar dressing is a mayonnaise-based dressing with big umami and garlic flavor.

    Here’s a quick make-in-the-bowl anytime version with big herb flavor you can whip up any night of the week.

    The herbs suggested yield a nice balance of flavor, but you can substitute your favorite herbs and experiment with the taste.

    This recipe yields one big bowl of herby caesar salad


    • 1/4 cup high-quality egg-based or vegan mayonnaise
      • Greek yogurt also works as a base
    • Juice of 1 lemon
    • 1-3 cloves freshly minced or grated garlic
    • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
      • For a vegan version, use vegan parmesan to 1-2 teaspoons of mellow white miso
    • 1/4 cup avocado oil
    • 1/4 cup parsley, chives or scallions, and dill (or a variation)

    This dressing does not contain anchovies. However, you can add 1-2 teaspoons of anchovy paste or 1-2 teaspoons of dulse if desired.


    1. Throw everything into your favorite salad bowl before adding the greens.
    2. Whisk to combine.
    3. Toss in the salad greens and garnish with croutons and extra parmesan cheese if desired.

    *Note, since this is a very savory dressing, there is no sweetener. However, a drizzle of honey or maple syrup can be added to offset any sourness from the lemon if needed.

    3. Sweet Elderberry & Mint Dressing For Fruit Salad

    Elevate your next fruit salad with this sweet, floral, and minty dressing.

    If you can’t find elderberry syrup, you can substitute pomegranate molasses with your favorite all-fruit jam and a dash of balsamic vinegar for acidity.


    • 1/4 cup Elderberry Syrup, such as Gaia Herbs Black Elderberry Syrup
    • 2-3 tablespoons raw honey or your favorite all-fruit jam
    • 3 tablespoons fresh mint (chop finely if not using blender or food processor)—if you don’t have mint then lavender or thyme can be substituted
    • Pinch of cardamom or cinnamon
    • 1/4 cup orange juice
    • Pinch of salt


    1. Combine all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and mix until just combined. OR throw everything into a mason jar and shake vigorously to combine.
    2. Store in a mason jar or salad dressing container in the fridge.

    This dressing can be drizzled over your fruit salad right before serving or mixed in several hours before serving for a more intense flavor.

    4. Avocado Cilantro Lime Dressing With A Kick

    This dressing is perfect for fresh summertime salads—especially those with fruit—and goes great with crudites.

    Since it’s made with an avocado base, no oil is required. 

    Also, due to the short lifespan of cut avocados, this dressing is best consumed fresh or stored in the refrigerator and eaten within a couple of days. 


    • 1 small to medium avocado
    • The juice of 1 orange or 1/4 cup of prepared orange juice
    • 1/4 cup lime juice
    • Half a bunch of fresh cilantro
    • 1-3 cloves of garlic (to taste)
    • A few shakes of soy sauce or tamari (you can substitute a couple pinches of salt or a few shakes of liquid aminos)
    • 3-4 tablespoons raw honey (to taste)


    Combine everything in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth and creamy.

    5. Leftover Pesto Vinaigrette

    If you’ve struggled to use up leftover homemade or store-bought pesto, this recipe is a must-try.

    It’s delicious on salads and can also be used as a marinade for beef, chicken, fish, seafood, vegetables for grilling, or game.


    • 1/2 cup prepared pesto 
    • 3-4 tablespoons lemon juice
    • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil
    • Salt and pepper to taste


    1. Place everything in a mason jar and shake to combine. 
    2. Taste and season with salt & pepper as needed.
    3. Store in the refrigerator.

      6. Spicy Herby Curried Yogurt Dressing

      This yogurt-based dressing gets its golden color from turmeric-based curry powder.

      It can be made with regular or vegan plain yogurt. However, you may need to add more lemon or lime juice if you use vegan yogurt.

      It is yummy on greens but exceptional on grain-based salads such as quinoa, cous cous, rice, farro, or millet with some added fruit, alliums (onions or garlic), and crunchy nuts.


      • 1/4 cup plain yogurt (regular, greek, or vegan)
      • 3-4 tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice
      • 1 teaspoon curry powder
      • 1/4 cup chives or scallions
      • 1/4 cup cilantro or mint (mince finely if not using blender or food processor)
      • 1 fresh jalapeno or serrano pepper, minced (remove seeds for less spiciness)
      • A drizzle of raw honey
      • A small squirt of dijon mustard
      • A generous pinch of salt
      • Freshly ground black pepper


      1. Combine all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and mix until just combined. OR throw everything into a mason jar and shake vigorously to combine.
      2. Store in a mason jar or salad dressing container in the fridge.

        7. Herbal Fattousch-Style Dressing

        Fattoush salad is a classic Lebanese salad made with fresh vegetables, lots of fresh herbs, toasted pita bread, and a sumac-based vinaigrette.

        In this recipe, we combine classic herby fattoush flavor you can use on any type of salad or as a marinade.


        • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
        • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
        • 1-3 cloves garlic, minced
        • 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses or Gaia Herbs Black Elderberry Syrup
        • 1 teaspoon sumac
        • 2-3 cups fresh parsley (minced if not using blender or food processor)
        • 2-3 tablespoons chives or scallions (minced if not using blender or food processor)
        • 2-3 cups mint (minced if not using blender or food processor


        1. Combine all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and mix until just combined. OR throw everything into a mason jar and shake vigorously to combine.
        2. Store in a mason jar or salad dressing container in the fridge.

          Storing & Using Your Homemade Dressing

          Generally, dressings made with fresh herbs should be stored in the refrigerator and used up within about five days. 

          The acid, salt, garlic (if used), and refrigeration can help preserve them.

          Suppose you need homemade dressings with a longer shelf-life. In that case, you can generally substitute 1 teaspoon of dried herbs for 3 tablespoons of fresh herbs (check out this handy conversion calculator for more details & exceptions here).

          Glass storage containers are highly recommended for the following reasons: 

          • They prevent the potential leaching of plastic chemicals and microplastics into your dressing, as noted earlier REF#2072
          • They are better for the environment than plastic (as glass is infinitely recyclable)
          • They will not retain the flavor of the dressing after washing
          • Unlike ceramic containers, they will not “pit” or become damaged from the acidity of the vinegar or citrus

          You can find various glass dressing bottles in kitchen stores and online. 

          You can also use a trusty pint-size mason jar to mix and store your dressing in one container.

          Inspired To Try More Herb-Based Recipes?

          Herbs and spices add unparalleled flavor, nutrition, and benefits to nearly any sweet or savory dish.

          If you’re inspired to add more herbs to your cooking, check out our blog for more recipes, including:


          • 1. , "Most Plastic Products Release Estrogenic Chemicals: A Potential Health Problem That Can Be Solved", Environmental Health Perspectives.
          • 2. , "The importance of the ratio of omega-6/omega-3 essential fatty acids", Biomedicine and Pharmacotherapy.
          • 3. , "Most Plastic Products Release Estrogenic Chemicals: A Potential Health Problem That Can Be Solved", Environmental Health Perspectives.