Browsing Category: dairy-free salads & dressings

My most-used, must-have dressing and dip recipes

most-used, must-have dressing and dip recipes

In this new mini-cookbook, I’ve collected all the dressing recipes I use again and again. They’re the most basic, most versatile dressings: many of them can also serve as dips for veggies, and as a spread for sandwiches, burgers, and other entrees.

Some of the recipes in this book are scattered throughout this blog, but with this downloadable, printable pdf, you won’t have to hunt all over to find them. Also, a few of these recipes have never appeared on this blog.

.

book cover; dressings, dips, and spreads

.

The pdf book includes:

  • 4-ingredient mayo
  • Honey-mustard dressing
  • Easy aioli (garlic mayo)
  • Dairy-free Ranch
  • Avocado Ranch
  • Creamy Italian
  • Tex-Mex
  • Sugar-free strawberry poppy seed
  • Blue cheese (tastes like my favorite restaurant version!)
  • Easy Caesar
  • The last vinaigrette recipe you’ll ever need

You’ll also find tips for using these recipes beyond salad, as well as a complete shopping list for every recipe.

View it on your device (handy at the grocery store), or print it out to keep in your kitchen.

Buy it here.

Or get it for free when you subscribe to my monthly newsletter. (Also free.)

Citrus avocado salad with orange vinaigrette

citrus avocado salad with orange vinaigrette

This salad is beautiful, and scrumptious, but it’s also super easy to throw together. You can use whatever sweet citrus you have available. I used Cara Cara oranges this time, but you could use regular oranges, blood oranges, or any kind of orange cousin: tangerine, clementine, mandarin, satsuma.

The hardest parts are slicing the avocado and citrus, but that’s not really difficult, once you see a demonstration…

Continue Reading

BLT Salad with Avocado

Easy BLT salad with avocado - gluten-free, low-carb, paleo

This salad couldn’t be easier, and because it borrows the classic flavors of a BLT sandwich, what’s not to love?! Trust me: you won’t miss the bread. My hubs who’s usually all “meh” over salads even likes it! And because there’s no bread, this salad is gluten-free, grain-free, sugar-free, low-carb, Paleo, and Whole30 compliant. (Assuming you use compliant mayo and bacon.)

You could also add chopped cooked chicken to this and call it a one-dish meal!

Continue Reading

Dairy-free Ranch Dressing (Dump Ranch)

Dairy-free Ranch dressing - dump ranch

If you’re not avoiding dairy, my Buttermilk Ranch Dressing recipe is a delicious option. If, however, you have a milk allergy, living the Paleo diet, or doing a Whole30, this Dairy-free Ranch Dressing is a fantastic alternative. And in fact, I think I might just like it better than the traditional recipe!

This was inspired by and is a slight variation on what the blogging duo Whole Sisters call “Dump Ranch.” As in, you just dump it all in a blender and mix!

Made with the lesser amount of coconut milk, it makes an addictive veggie dip…

veggie tray with dairy-free ranch dressing

 

I’ve added it to one of my variations on tuna salad

tuna salad with ranch dressing

 

It’s also great drizzled over fresh summer tomatoes, sprinkled with bacon!

paleo-dinner-bacon-pork-chop-asparagus-tomatoes-600x430

 

And schmeared on a burger!

burger with ranch dressing

 

I don’t have a pic but it’s aMAZing drizzled over hot broccoli! It melts quickly, blending the flavors into every tiny crevice. Yum!

I’m sure it’ll be great on salad, too; just haven’t got to that yet!

Here’s my spin on it…

Dairy-free Ranch Dressing or Dip

(aka, “Dump Ranch”)

• 1 & 1/4 c. mayonnaise

— (OR 1 c. light olive oil, 1 egg, 1 T. lemon juice and 1/4 t. salt)

• 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar (or other light-colored vinegar)

• 1 teaspoon black pepper

• 1 teaspoon granulated onion or onion powder

• 3/4 teaspoon salt

• 3/4 teaspoon granulated garlic or garlic powder

• 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk, or other milk of your choice (1/4 c. for dip)

• 1 handful fresh or frozen parsley, coarsely chopped

• from 1 pinch up to 1/8 t.  dill, fresh or dried (adjust according to your love for dill)

• optional: snipped fresh chives and or fresh basil to taste

.

Note: Do NOT use less vinegar. I tried that once, and the mixture did not emulsify.

If you have a stick blender / immersion blender, just blend everything together in the carafe till well mixed. (Chop the basil coarsely before adding. I use one large leaf.)

I use this stick blender and the carafe that came with it, and this works great. I don’t bother to bring the egg to room temperature.

If you don’t have a blender, use already-made mayo, mince the herbs fine, then just whisk everything till well blended.

Refrigerate for one hour at least, if possible. Four is better. Taste, and adjust seasonings if needed.

Makes about 16 oz of dressing, or 14 oz of dip. Lasts in fridge up to one week. (But it’ll probably be long gone before then!)

(Stick blender link goes to my Amazon store; I get 4% – which doesn’t affect your price at all. I only list products that I actually use and love.)

Pin it!

Dairy-free Ranch dressing - dump ranch

———————————————————————————-

Subscribe to my monthly email, and get a free gift…

ipad-w-'smallsteps'-cover-520x400

———————————————————————————-

Very veggie tuna salad

easy lunch; tuna salad with tomato, avocado + peppers

Making healthy food more convenient is the way to kick the convenience food habit! But I can’t deal with the kind of meal prep that requires having 12 different casseroles in the freezer to drop in the slow cooker. What works for me is having a lot of different ingredients and meal components chopped and/or cooked, so they’re ready to be thrown together at a moment’s notice, for quick, easy meals — not just dinner, but also super easy lunches, since I work from home.

Lately, I’ve been on a tuna salad kick. It’s a perfect lunch for summer – no cooking needed! I do sometimes do the super-simple version of throwing a packet of tuna, a bit of homemade mayo, and some lemon pepper together and eating it on romaine hearts. Might even throw in some chopped celery and/or pickle, if I feel like a little something extra. But lately, I’ve been doing variations on a tuna salad dressed with oil and vinegar, rather than mayo. And this is a great way to work in lots of veggies, too!

This would work great for a lunch to pack for work, school, or a picnic, too.

The core recipe is:

1  2-to-3 oz. package of tuna

about 1/2 c. of diced onion (but you can eyeball* it)

1 T. of lemon juice or rice vinegar

2 to 3 T. of olive oil (use 2 if the tuna is packed in oil; 3 if it’s packed in water)

1/4 c. chopped parsley – again; just eyeball* it

1/4 to 1/2 avocado

1/2 t. kosher salt (or 1/4 t. regular salt)

1/4 t. fresh ground black pepper – or more to taste

a pinch or two of dill – optional

*”Eyeball it” = just throw in an amount that looks to you like it would fill a measuring cup of that particular measurement. If you’re not comfortable doing that straight away, measure it out and pay attention to what that looks like, and remember it for next time. This saves you the few seconds of getting out a measuring cup. (And saves some space in the dishwasher.)

This is where my meal prep comes in handy. I always keep a container of already-diced yellow onion in the fridge, and a container of already-chopped parsley in the freezer. I squeeze fresh lemons every few days and keep a bottle of that in the fridge. If you’re cool with the pre-squeezed stuff that comes in a bottle, I won’t judge! I also keep tuna packets in the fridge, so the tuna is already cold when I add it to the other salad stuff. When I buy a bunch of parsley, I chop it all and put it in a baggie in the fridge. It stays a nice green and is super easy to grab what you need and toss it into any dish.

Avocado is something that’s best cut up at the last minute, but thanks to the acid in the dressing, the avocado won’t turn too brown if you need to hold this for a few hours.

Then add the other veggies of your choice, and stir it all together gently. It’s best if you can let it chill for a couple hours or so, but I rarely think ahead that far! Whenever you’re ready to eat it, taste it first and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Add more salt if it’s just overall bland; more lemon/vinegar and/or pepper if it needs more zing!

Here are some of my variations…

easy lunch; tuna salad with tomato, avocado + peppers

This has been my standby combo for years: to the basic core recipe, I add some chopped bell pepper — also something I keep ready in the fridge — and some chopped tomato. (Tomatoes should always be kept at room temp for best flavor, so those can’t be stashed in the fridge.) Measurements aren’t important; just add it till it looks like an amount you’ll like.

Lately, I’ve been trying to live without nightshades — a family of plants including potatoes, tomatoes, and all peppers except black pepper. (Not because these veggies are bad for you! But some people have a sensitivity to them, and I’m experimenting to see if they have any impact on how I feel.) So here are a few nightshade-free tuna salad variations.

nightshade-free tuna salad

Here, I used diced cucumber to replace the crispy texture of the bell pepper, and pine nuts to fill the role of the sweetness of the tomatoes. It turned out quite nice!

.

tuna salad with ranch dressing

And here’s another slight variation on that: still with cucumbers, but I’ve also got some diced celery, chopped celery leaves, and homemade paleo Ranch dressing added to the mix. Oh, and half a hard-boiled egg — another thing to keep on hand, if you like them.

.

mayo-free tuna salad variation

Another alternative for those avoiding tomatoes: blueberries! I know, it sounds weird, right? But don’t knock it till you’ve tried it! The blubes have a sweet-slightly-tart flavor that makes an excellent sub for tomatoes.

Pretty easy lunches, huh? I hope this gives you some inspiration: with some of your favorite pre-diced veggies in your fridge and a couple other staples on hand, you can mix up any number of variations of your own favorite salad, and it really just takes a few minutes.

These could serve two people for a light lunch; especially if you serve something else with it. I must confess, though, that most days, I polish it all off on my own!

easy lunch - all gone!

 

———————————————————————————-

Follow me on Instagram! And…

———————————————————————————-

Once a month, I send out tips and recipe links to my subscribers. And when you sign up, you get a couple freebies! One gives you tips for easy ways to cut down on sugar and carbs; the other one is my “meal planning for people who hate to meal plan” plan! Learn more here…

Subscribe to my monthly email,

and get a free gift…

The Meal Plan for People Who Hate to Meal Plan

———————————————————————————-

Strawberry poppy seed dressing (sugar-free)

poppy-seed-dressing-salad-cu-600x330

 

I’ve always loved poppy seed dressing, but once I went sugar free, it had to be a very occasional treat. It takes a lot of sugar to balance the onion, and I tried making sugar-free poppy seed dressing, but I found that substituting Splenda ruined the dressing’s ability to cling to the greens. (Back when I ate Splenda.)

Then a few weeks ago, I saw a photo of strawberry poppy seed dressing and it hit me: use the sweetness of strawberries, and you won’t need sugar at all!

sugar-free poppy seed dressing - strawberries make it sweet! #paleo #whole30

This dressing is so easy to make, it’s no trouble for everyday. And it’s so pretty, it can be a star player on a brunch or luncheon table. Especially perfect for a bridal shower, Mother’s Day — or any spring or summer party, really.

I left the onions out of the dressing; with onions in the salad, and with the strawberries bringing the flavor and body to the dressing, they’re not so needed in the dressing.

And yes, this salad is Paleo and Whole30 compliant! Let’s just talk about all the healthiness packed into the salad: spinach, strawberries, olive oil, oranges, pecans – super foods, all! If I weren’t avoiding dairy, I would totally throw some feta cheese in there, too. (Or goat cheese, if you like. Which I don’t.)

sugar-free strawberry poppy seed dressing on spinach salad #paleo #whole30

Sugar-free poppy seed dressing and spinach salad

makes enough for 4 – 6 salads

 

1/2 c. chopped strawberries

2 T. light olive oil, or other light-flavored oil

1 T. mayo (homemade, if ya got it)

1 to 2 T. white balsamic vinegar (or red wine vinegar)

pinch salt

1 t. poppy seeds

 

Strawberries may be fresh or frozen. If using frozen, chop and measure while still partially frozen, but allow to thaw before blending.

sugar-free poppy seed dressing; paleo, whole30Combine all ingredients except for poppy seeds in a blender container, using only 1 T. of vinegar to start with. Blend till smooth. Taste, and add 1 t. of vinegar at a time until it’s as tangy as you want it. (Remember, being spread out on the spinach will make it a bit milder.)

Pour into a jar for storage, then add poppy seeds and stir.

Chill till ready to use. Can be served immediately, but tastes best the next day.

for four salads:
6 – 8 oz. baby spinach
1/4 small red onion
2 navel oranges or cara cara oranges
chopped pecans, to taste

Tear the spinach into bite-size pieces, and cut the onion into thin, short slices.

Cut the tops and bottoms off the oranges, then slice the peel and pith off of them. (To see what I mean, watch 0:20 – 1:30 of this video: how to peel an orange.) Then tear the sections apart, and cut into pieces that will fit neatly on a fork.

Aren’t they pretty in the sunlight?

orange segments for spinach salad

Assemble the salads ahead of time, or let guests build their own. If making ahead of time, the spinach and onions may be stored together in the same bowl. The acid from the oranges and the salt in the dressing would begin to break the spinach down, so don’t store them together. Pecans might get soggy, so keep them separate as well.

spinach salad with sugar free poppy seed dressing #paleo #whole30

 

Pin that purty thang!

sugar-free poppy seed dressing, sweetened with strawberries, on spinach salad. Paleo, whole30

————–

New to eating gluten-free? Or thinking of going Paleo?

Check out my 20-Day Countdown to a New Way of Eating!

————–