Amazing Homemade Dressings So Good, You'll Forget They're Healthy

Let's be honest here. If you eat salad on the regular, there's a good chance it's for health reasons. Unfortunately, salads can be a huge downfall in your diet, especially if you slather on that dressing. Store-bought salad dressings are packed full of fat, calories, and preservatives, but since it's incredibly easy to just make your own, let's take a look at some super-healthy and super-tasty salad dressings that aren't just good for you, but so good you'll never regret salad night again!

Chipotle

Spicing up your proteins might seem like a given, but what about spicing up your salads? If jalapenos don't last long in your house, neither will a bottle of this chipotle ranch dressing from Life Should Cost Less. This healthy ranch gets its creaminess from plain Greek yogurt and Dijon, and as many chipotle peppers as you can stand.

You can add a little sweet fruitiness to that heat, too, with this creamy mango and chipotle dressing from High Heels & Grills. And yes, it's still healthy, and it gets that creamy texture from a whole bunch of mango. Yum! Another amazing option for keeping it light and fruity is this chipotle and lime dressing from The Creative Bite, and you can tone this one down with fewer chipotles... or, you can totally turn up the heat.

We can't leave out this knock-off recipe from Mexican Please, either. It's perfect for anyone who likes a little bit of sweet with their spicy, and it's a homemade version of Chipotle's honey vinaigrette. The honey pairs perfectly with the chipotles and adobo sauce, and it's proof salads don't have to be boring.

Maple

Maple is one of those amazing fall flavors that will undoubtedly make you think of pancakes and autumn afternoons. If you've never thought of putting it on your salad, what are you waiting for? According to Diethood ... the eating effect, their maple balsamic vinaigrette isn't just for salads, it's just as great as a drizzle on pastas and as a marinade... and we know you love multi-purpose recipes. For something creamy, try this maple dijon dressing (with a Greek yogurt base) from Cupcakes and Kale Chips.

And if you love maple walnut ice cream, you'll love this maple walnut vinaigrette from The Yummy Life. Try this drizzled over a salad loaded with walnuts, dates, and some dried cranberries, and you'll have your new favorite lunch treat — guaranteed!

Pumpkin

So, you're whipping up a batch of pumpkin pie, and you're wondering what to do with the leftover pumpkin. Make a dressing that's perfect on any autumn table! The Cafe Sucre Farine has a super-simple recipe for a pumpkin, maple, and dijon dressing that will add an incredible kick to any salad, especially when you're using things like nuts, figs, and raisins.

The texture of pumpkin puree is one that lends itself to a creamy dressing, and it's a great way to get that creaminess without loading up on a whole bunch of fat. The Seasoned Mom has a recipe for a dressing that takes full advantage of pumpkin puree's texture, pairs it with Greek yogurt, and adds a dash of cinnamon and thyme for a creamy dressing so good you might not miss your ranch... as much.

Strawberry

Salads are great with vegetables, but they can be amazing with fruit, too. Add a few slices of peaches or a handful of raspberries and you've completely changed the flavor profile of your salad... and it's even better with some strawberry vinaigrette to go over it all, like this dressing from Southern Bite.

There's something undeniably delicious about pairing strawberries and poppyseed, and you can do precisely that with dressings like this one from Tastes Lovely. There's just a touch of extra sweetness with some honey, and if you want to take that fruitiness even farther, try this strawberry and lime poppyseed dressing from Cupcakes and Kale Chips.

We couldn't leave out this copycat recipe from Womanista, and if you've ever had Panera's strawberry poppyseed dressing, then you know what all the fuss is about. The secret? Dijon mustard!

Ginger

There are plenty of ways to mix and match ginger, and for anyone who loves their weekly foray into Asian cuisine, this miso, sesame, soy sauce, and ginger dressing from Bowl of Delicious is sure to become a staple in the fridge. Looking for a way to spice up a salad while keeping everything that's healthy about a vinaigrette? Try this ginger vinaigrette from The Real Food Dietitians, and when you do, take their advice and use it not just for a lettuce salad, but to spice up some shredded cabbage salad, too.

We're all about giving you the simple options, and this lemon and ginger dressing from I'm Gluten Free only has six ingredients — so few you're not even going to need a shopping list to remember them. We're not going to forget the creamy dressing, either, because there are some times when you're just not in the mood for a vinaigrette. This ginger-filled recipe from The Tomato Tart gets its texture from its other main ingredient: carrots. Brilliant, right? Creamy, packed with flavor, and healthy — what could be better?

Avocado

Adding an avocado to your diet is a great way to get a whole bunch of good nutrients, and putting a few slices on your salad will dress up any plate of greens. Since you're using some slices anyway, how about using the other half to make a creamy dressing to drizzle over the whole thing? If you're a fan of cilantro, start with this creamy, citrusy dressing from Gimme Delicious Food. Lime is the perfect partner to the cilantro, and since the creaminess comes from avocado and either Greek yogurt or low-fat sour cream, you don't have to feel the least bit guilty about this one.

Hate cilantro? That's not a problem, because Wholefully has you covered with this thick, creamy, avocado-based vinaigrette. With just a hint of citrus from a healthy dose of lemon juice, it's tart and tangy without being overpowering. It's a cinch to make, too — add everything to a food processor and you're done with this recipe so quickly you won't be able to find an excuse not to make it.

Hot-n-Spicy

Love everything and anything that's hot-n-spicy? That's not just for chicken wings any more, thanks to recipes like this honey jalapeno dressing from Chef Savvy. This five-minute dressing isn't just great on salads, either, and since it's made from sour cream (swap in the low-fat stuff if you like), cilantro, lime, and jalapeno, you can't go wrong if you use this as a creamy spread drizzled over your next grilled chicken or fish tacos. Pretty brilliant, right?

Slim Sanity has a spicy vinaigrette that's just what the heat-lover in your house will like, and this one uses Sriracha for the heat instead of fresh peppers, so it'll last a little longer in the fridge. That one uses a dash of lemon to really bring out the flavors, and for something with a little different flavor profile, try this honey, Sriracha, and lime dressing from Peas and Crayons. It's hot enough to satisfy your craving for spice, and it's light enough to compliment any fresh summer salad. Win!

Peach

There's nothing that can even compare to a fresh, juicy peach, and hopefully you've tried grilling peaches and putting them on your salads. (If not, check out our advice for that right here!) Now, let's talk about some peach dressing to drizzle over the top of these salads... or any other salad that needs a sweet, fruity tang. For something with the right amount of flavor without being overpowering, check out this peach vinaigrette from The Gracious Party. Since a vinaigrette is the perfect dressing to make with the delicate flavors of peaches, we're going to share another awesome idea: this peach balsamic vanilla vinaigrette from Cafe Johnsonia. There's just something about that set of words that sounds right, isn't there? Even better, you can swap the peaches out for apricots, raspberries, or any other fresh fruit you might have on hand, and if there's anything we like as much as simplicity, it's versatility.

Now, how about one more. This peach and honey vinaigrette from Closet Cooking. It has a bit of Dijon mustard and a completely different flavor profile, making it a must for any summer salad. 

Cranberry

You really know summer's over and winter is just around the corner when cranberries start showing up at the grocery store, and there's no reason to be sad! Pick up a bag or two and whip up a salad dressing that'll make those autumn salads something special, like this warm cranberry vinaigrette from Gimme Some Oven. They recommend serving it over a kale salad with dried cranberries and sliced almonds, and that might just be proof salads can be comfort food, too.

Averie Cooks has another take on a cranberry vinaigrette that uses apple cider vinegar, an ingredient that's shaping up to be one of the new contenders in the world of eating healthy. And for something packed full of all the flavors of the holiday season, Glue & Glitter has a five-minute, five-ingredient dressing that turns cranberry, ginger, and maple syrup into a tasty dressing you might just find yourself using other places, too, like over all that leftover turkey.

Citrus

There's nothing worse than getting a salad with a dressing so overpowering you can't taste any of the fresh vegetables underneath it. For something with just an extra hint of flavor that compliments instead of overpowering, try this light citrus vinaigrette from The Real Food Dietitians. With orange, orange zest, and lemon mixed in an olive or avocado oil, it's perfect for letting the flavors of your veggies become the real star. The Harvest Kitchen has a slightly different take on the same idea, adding in some maple syrup for extra sweetness and dropping the lemon.

Lemon and orange aren't your only citrus fruits, either, and for something equal parts fun and different, this grapefruit vinaigrette from Serena Bakes Simply From Scratch is exactly what you're looking for. Or, you can combine the unlikely — and delicious — flavors of citrus and sweet onion into this tangy dressing from Cooking with Curls.

Apple cider vinegar

You've probably heard apple cider vinegar is the trendy new health food, and according to what Cosmopolitan discovered, some of the seemingly wild claims are actually valid. It has been shown to relieve bloating, soften a sugar- or carb-crash, and it might just lower blood pressure. They also say you shouldn't have more than a tablespoon or two at once, so putting it in your salad dressing is a great way to get a healthy dose of this maybe-miracle-food. Start with something simple, like this creamy apple cider vinaigrette from Mama Loves Food.

Love garlic? Try this garlic vinaigrette from Health Starts in the Kitchen, and remember, you can use as much garlic as you want! This vinaigrette from Crafty Cooking Mama has as much honey as apple cider vinegar, and if you're looking for something packed full of flavors, this is it. And we know you love getting restaurant quality and taste at home, so if you're a fan of Chick-fil-A, you'll be happy to know that Lisa Buckholts has re-made their apple cider vinaigrette. It'll probably require a trip to the store, but it's worth it!

Blueberry

Once you try your hand at making some blueberry salad dressing, you just might find yourself looking for other places to use it... and according to Cupcakes and Kale Chips, their lemon, blueberry, and chia seed vinaigrette makes a great chicken marinade, too.

Veganosity has a blueberry and basil dressing that only takes a few ingredients and is ready with just a spin of the blender. If you're trying to cut back on oils as well as fat-filled creaminess, this one's for you — there's no bad stuff here. And for a super-simple blueberry balsamic (as well as a great run-down on what types of ingredients make a winning salad dressing), check out this recipe from Live Eat Learn. It just might inspire you to start getting creative with whatever you have in your fridge, and salads will never, ever seem like a chore.