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7 delicious dressings to spruce up your salads

Need some salad inspiration? Look to your dressing to give a boost of flavour and interest to healthy salads. Whether it’s adding heat from fresh chilli, mastering a lighter creamy dressing or experimenting with Japanese flavours, these delicious dressings are the way to make healthy eating delicious.

  1. Classic

    A basic vinaigrette follows the formula of 1 part vinegar to 3 parts oil. You can experiment with different flavours of both – fruity extra-virgin olive oils are best in simple dressings to let the flavour shine, while neutral oils such as rapeseed are a great base to layer more flavours. This sweet pea salad uses a classic mustard dressing, adding a double peppery hit of mustard powder and wholegrain mustard to the crisp green veg.

  2. Citrus

    Tart citrus dressings are an easy way to cut through rich flavours and freshen up a salad. Lemon is the go-to choice, but you can also experiment with alternative citrus fruits – make the most of blood oranges in early spring, or pair grapefruit with rich, oily fish. In this Turkish salad with citrus dressing, fresh lemon juice is paired with a spoonful of sumac, a dried spice with a unique tart flavour.

  3. Japanese

    Once you’ve mastered the basics, look further afield for some salad inspiration. Tangy Japanese miso paste, made from fermented soya beans, can be diluted into a tangy, umami-rich dressing. This roasted broccoli and rice salad with miso dressing combines miso with soy sauce, tahini and sesame oil for a hearty dish that works equally as a side or main of its own.

  4. Spicy

    Spice up your salads with a touch of heat in the dressing – try chopped fresh chillies, a dash of hot paprika added to olive oil or a generous spoonful of harissa paste (made from roasted chillies and peppers). A punchy harissa and honey dressing is perfect on this bright spring veg bowl with roasted veg, rice and bulgur wheat for a healthy midweek meal.

  5. Creamy

    Creamy mayonnaise dressings add rich indulgence to a simple salad, but they can also quickly add on the calories. Using a mixture of light mayo and buttermilk makes a healthy, tangy dressing that tastes just as creamy as full-fat mayo. Try it out on this lighter chicken Caesar salad with crispy pancetta, soft-boiled eggs and smoky griddled chicken.

  6. Nutty

    Nuts are the secret ingredient in vegan alternatives to mayo-heavy salad dressings, as they can be blitzed until smooth and creamy with no added dairy needed. For this colourful roasted veg salad with cashew dressing, cashews are blitzed with fresh cucumber and a hit of garlic before being drizzled over a colourful combo of griddled veg for a vibrant sharing salad.

  7. Fruity

    A jar of sticky mango chutney is a brilliant storecupboard staple to have on standby. Add a spoonful to dressings for a touch of tropical sweetness to balance out spicy or acidic flavours and vibrant, glossy sauce. Try this griddled steak and purple sprouting broccoli with a sticky mango dressing for a quick dinner for two.