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Salad Dressing
Ellie Krieger's De-light-ful Ranch, Avocado Lemon Herb & Orange-Balsamic Vinaigrette recipes / Renee Comet/USA WEEKEND
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With all the colorful, just-picked produce available in the summer, it’s hard not to be inspired to whip up a salad. Nature has already done most of the work by providing a garden of glorious, healthy ingredients. All you need to do is pull them together and drizzle with a dressing that allows them to shine.

All too often, though, the dressing we choose does more damage than good, drowning fresh produce in artificial ingredients and unhealthy fats, and adding hundreds of calories. But making tasty, low-cal dressings couldn’t be easier.

Here are three for you to try.

The first is a classic creamy ranch made lighter by subbing much of the mayo with Greek yogurt. It’s so rich and flavorful you will never miss the extra fat and calories. It begs to be used as a dip for cut veggies or to dress a crisp green salad.

Then there is a subtly sweet balsamic vinaigrette lightened with orange juice. The juice replaces about half the oil in the traditional recipe and brings a citrusy punch.

Finally, there’s a dressing that uses nutrient- and fiber-rich avocado as its base, which lends it a stunning pale green color and a decadent, buttery taste. Spiked with tangy buttermilk, lemon and herbs, it offers a gentle yet bright flavor to any salad or a simple sliced ripe tomato.

NOTE: All dressings will keep in the refrigerator two to three days in an airtight container.

For all recipes, whisk together all of the ingredients in a medium bowl, until well combined.

De-Light-ful Ranch Dressing

1 cup plain Greek-style non-fat yogurt
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
3 Tbs. mayonnaise
1½ tsps. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
½ tsp. onion powder
¼ tsp. garlic powder
1 Tb. finely chopped fresh chives
¼ tsp. salt,

Yield: 8 servings

Per serving (2 Tbs.): 50 calories, 2g carbohydrates, 1g protein, 4g fat (0.5g saturated), 0g fiber, 2.5mg cholesterol, 144mg sodium

Orange-Balsamic Vinaigrette

¼ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup orange juice
1 tsp. finely grated orange zest
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Yield: 8 servings

Per serving (2 Tbs.): 70 calories, 2g carbohydrates, 0g protein, 7g fat (1g saturated), 0g fiber, 0mg cholesterol, 90mg sodium

Tangy Lemon Herb Avocado Dressing

½ ripe avocado
¾ cup low-fat buttermilk
3 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
3 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley
3 Tbs. chopped chives
¼ tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Put all of the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.

Yield: 8 servings

Per serving (2 Tbs.): 30 calories, 3g carbohydrates, 1g protein, 2g fat (0g saturated), 1g fiber, 0mg cholesterol, 100mg sodium

Recipe reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Taunton Press Inc., from The Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life, by Ellie Krieger. Copyright by Ellie Krieger.

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