7 Healthiest Salad Dressings for Weight Loss

Salads make a healthy foundation for any diet, but it’s all too easy to block their nutritional punch by drizzling on the wrong salad dressing and other toppings. At the same time, to keep you in love with lettuce and other leafy greens, you want choices that tantalize your taste buds, says Judy Caplan, RD, author of GoBeFull: Eight Keys to Healthy Living and a dietitian in private practice in Vienna, Virginia.

Although it’s always the best option to whip up healthy salad dressings at home from vinegar, herbs, and a healthy oil, it is also easy enough to find a healthy, tasty store-bought kind — if you read the nutritional facts label carefully. Caplan generally recommends buying healthy salad dressings with fewer than 45 calories per tablespoon (tbsp), and measuring your portions carefully, though she’ll go above that limit if it’s for the right healthy fat. She says it is equally important to watch out for fat and added sugars on the label — fewer than 5 grams (g) of sugar per serving is best, with less always being better.

Of course, the body needs fat to function, and there are several fats used in the best salad dressings that provide amazing health benefits, including:

Monounsaturated Fatty Acids (MUFAs) These are found in olive, canola, and peanut oil, as well as in avocados and most nuts.

Polyunsaturated Fats (PUFAs) These are found in other plant-based oils, like safflower, corn, sunflower, soybean, sesame, and cottonseed oils. omega-3 fats are polyunsaturated fats that are necessary for proper cell function.

When planning a healthy diet, it’s important to avoid bad fats, such as trans-fat and saturated fat. Instead choose the MUFAs and PUFAs. Check the Nutrition Facts label and ingredient list when selecting your healthy salad dressings to make sure they contain good fats, but keep in mind the calorie counts. All fats are high in calories. Adjust your diet choices to use good fats instead of other foods — not as an addition to your daily menu.

RELATED: Here’s Why Fad Diets Don’t Work — and What Will

In addition to watching the calories in your salad dressing, be sure to keep an eye on the calories in the salad itself. Fill the bottom of the bowl with leafy green vegetables and then use portion and calorie-control (and self-control!) with your salad add-ons, such as fruits, nuts, seeds, bacon bits, and other higher-calorie toppings or deli-salads.

Sometimes people eat 1,000 calories in salad, thinking they are doing their body good — when the excess calories will add on pounds if over the daily calorie allotment. It can be particularly challenging at a restaurant, where a salad may have as many calories and as much fat as a burger.

For a healthy shopping shortcut, pick up one of these seven store-bought dressings.

Restaurant Salad Dressing Options For Dieters and Why Olive Oil Might Be Sabotaging Your Weight Loss

“What do I do about salad dressing when I’m watching my weight?” I get asked this question A LOT and thought that writing a blog post on the subject could be helpful!

One thing I want to mention—there is a big difference between “healthy” and “weight friendly”.

A simple vinaigrette made from apple cider vinegar and cold pressed organic olive oil is a great, heart healthy option.


2 tablespoons of that heart healthy dressing packs ~240 calories… and that’s BEFORE you’ve even added any other ingredients!

“Why did no one ever tell me that?”

Because most people just repeat what they hear other people say and everyone’s always talking about how amazing olive oil is. AND it IS great…compared to other oils BUT that doesn’t mean it’s a free food!

There’s no such thing as a free lunch.

Most people don’t have that kind of room in their diet for dressing and if we’re being honest, I’d rather get my healthy fats from things I’m actually chewing and tasting (hey there avocado, cheese, nuts, nut butter, etc)

It’s not that you CAN’T have oil on your salad, it’s just that you probably don’t even realize how many calories it’s adding because everyone talks about how great olive oil is.

I’m not here to rain all over olive oil’s parade but let’s just talk about the facts.


I mean, I guess you COULD if it’s the only thing you’re eating.

An oil based dressing may even have MORE calories than the ranch and blue cheese you so consciously avoid.

I know, it’s not fair… even olive oil isn’t safe anymore!

We’re scared to talk about calories because they’re supposed to not matter and we’re a better, body positive, modern society now where talking about calories is anti-feminist and is the reason everyone has disordered eating…. right?

Actually, when I educate my clients about calories, where they come from and where they’re hidden, it finally clicks!! The reason you’re doing everything “right” and not seeing results might just be because you’re getting the wrong education!

I’m talking about calories in dressing not because I want you to count your calories or restrict. NOT AT ALL! But would you walk into Louis Vuitton and just grab any bag and bring it up to the register without even knowing the price? Well… maybe you can, and if so, hook a girl up!

SO here’s the deal…

I do this with my clients and I am going to do this with you. I educate, make my point and then provide options.

Let’s compare some dressing options at popular restaurants (I pulled these from chain restaurants because they’re required to list their nutrition facts, but you can assume that they’re going to be similar across the board)

*For reference, 1 oz is equivalent to 2 tablespoons


  • 2 oz (4 TBSP) Vinaigrette: 220 calories, 16 g fat, 18 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 1 g protein



As you can see, each restaurant provides a different portion (between 2.5-4 TBSP) so let’s say we had 2.5 TBSP of olive oil (or any oil for that matter):

  • 1.25 oz (2.5 TBSP) Olive Oil: 300 Calories, 35 g Fat, 0g Carbs, 0g Fiber, 0g Protein


As a good rule of thumb, assume that any regular salad dressing at a restaurant contains ~50-130 calories per TABLESPOON. That means you need to multiply that by how many tablespoons you’re using.

When you get your salad with the dressing already on it, it likely has at the very least 2 tablespoons of dressing but a big salad can have 4+ tablespoons!

TIP #1: The first rule of salad club: Always ask for dressing on the side!

When you do this, you’re in control of how much dressing you use and it allows you get creative.

TIP #2: You can drip ~1 tablespoon of the full fat, “real” stuff on your bowl of greens and then you can add fresh lemon, lime or vinegar to that to stretch the dressing out further without having to stretch your jeans out.

When your dressing comes on the side, it usually comes in a little cup or ramekin. You might be able to determine the size of the ramekin by using what you know about portion sizes, but if you don’t know, then take your spoon and try to get a good idea of how much you’re using. (from experience, you’re probably getting at least 2 ounces of dressing on the side which is equivalent to 4 tablespoons so unless you know you’re getting a light dressing, be careful!)

Remember, 1 tablespoon of oil contains 120 calories and 14 grams of fat while 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar contains just 15 calories (and other vinegars have even less).

Here are a few other ways to dress your salad at a restaurant without overdoing it on high calorie dressings! Of course, if you’re eating at home, there are tons of options of both store bought and homemade dressings you can use (but that’s for another post!)

Tip #3: Salad Dressings Alternatives When Dining Out At Various Cuisines:

  • Mediterranean: Hummus or Tzatziki

  • Mexican/Spanish: Salsa, Guacamole (2 tbsp=60 Calories), Sour Cream (2 tbsp=60 Calories)

    • I’ve been known to mix my salsa, guac and sour cream and make my own creamy dressing!

  • Asian: Ginger dressing is not a bad option! 2 tbsp is generally ~80 calories so just use portion control!

  • Italian/American/Steakhouse, etc (almost all restaurants will have these available)

    • Vinegars (Balsamic, Red Wine, Champagne, Apple cider)

    • Balsamic Glaze

    • Mustard– this mixes well with vinegar!

    • Fresh squeezed lemon, lime or orange

    • Avocado– avocado is a healthy fat and because it’s creamy, you can mix it with your vinegar!

Tip #4: Dip, don’t pour!

Use your fork and dip the tines into the dressing before you take a bite, this will ensure that each bite of salad has some dressing but will keep you from overdoing it!

Last and final tip!

Tip #5: Choose a fat, just not ALL the fats!

You can and SHOULD have a source of fat in your salad. After all, our bodies need fat in order to digest fat soluble vitamins (AKA vitamins A, D, E and K) BUT you don’t need five sources of fat. What counts as a fat on a salad?

You can also do a little bit of each! If you order things on the side, you can control your portion!

  • 1 tbsp Regular dressing or 2 tsp of olive oil

  • 1 oz Cheese

  • 1/4 Avocado

  • 1/2 oz Nuts

  • Fatty protein sources such as Salmon (again, a good source of fat!)

  • 10 olives

  • Sauteed Vegetables– remember, if the vegetable was cooked, it was probably cooked in oil.

  • Whole egg (you could do egg white and skip the yolk OR you can keep the yolk but count it as a fat)

How many sources of fat should you aim for in a salad? This totally depends on your individual needs and goals and also, what else you’re eating in a day. Some people may only need one source of fat in their salad and others may need 3 or more! Make sure you know you’re individual needs and plan accordingly. And, if you don’t know what your body needs, well… you’ve come to the right place! Let’s chat!

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Whenever I tell someone I love healthy food, the first thing they inevitably ask me is if I eat salad all day. Here’s the truth for you: I actually don’t really like salad that much. I am definitely not one of those people who grab a mixing bowl from the cabinet, dump in a bunch of greens, and happily go to town. I am not a rabbit, and I don’t enjoy eating like one.

For me, for a salad to be good, it has to be something substantial. It has to have a great mix of flavors, textures, and really good dressing. I love veggies, but let’s call a spade a spade—veggies can be boring-tastic if you don’t do something to spice them up a little bit. And a good salad dressing goes a looooooong way to making veggies exciting (even for those folks who aren’t big veggie fans—like my two year old, who happily chows down on raw veggies when they are dipped in the Greek Yogurt Ranch Dressing you’ll see below).

Salad dressings are super easy to make at home, and I think learning how to make your favorite dressing in your own kitchen is a super useful skill to have. It’ll save you tons of cash. The markup on bottled salad dressings is CRAZY—most of them you can make for pennies on the dollar.

You can completely control the ingredients. Have you ever cruised the salad dressing aisle and checked ingredient lists? There are definitely some cleaner options out there, but many of them are packed with artificial colors, flavors, and more sugar and salt than is really necessary.

And my favorite part is that you can completely customize the taste to your liking. Once you “land” on your house dressing that is perfect for your family’s tastebuds, you always will have that recipe in your pocket. It’s like having the healthy eating gold ticket!

Below, I’m sharing eight of my favorite simple, easy, and healthy salad dressing recipes that you can make at home. Honestly, you probably have most of the ingredients to make most of the dressings already in your pantry and fridge—there are no fancy pants ingredients that you’ll have to track down at a speciality store.

All eight recipes can be made using the jar-and-shake method. Just grab a jar with a tight-fitting lid (I use a wide-mouth pint canning jar and a plastic cap), toss in all the ingredients, and shake the dickens out of it until it’s well-blended. There are a couple recipes below that could be made smoother if you use a food processor or a blender—but you don’t have to if you’re fine with a chunkier dressing.

All the recipes below make about one cup of dressing—enough to last for a few days of salads, but not so much that it goes bad before you get a chance to use it up. Use up the dressings with dairy in them within a week. The vinaigrettes can last two or more weeks in the fridge in an airtight container.

Each recipe below has amounts for using fresh OR dried herbs—you can use all fresh, all dried, or any combination of the two. Just keep in mind that the dried herbs will take a while longer to impart their flavor on the dressing. A good rule of thumb is that if you’re using mostly fresh ingredients, you can get by with using your dressings within 15-30 minutes. If you’re using mostly dried ingredients, you’d be better off waiting 2+ hours so the flavors can really develop. Let’s get started.

I think everyone needs a really good ranch dressing recipe in their back pocket—and this is mine. By using a base of whole milk Greek yogurt, the dressing is packed with healthy fat and protein. If you’d like to make the dressing lighter, you can use lowfat Greek yogurt (I’d skip nonfat—in my opinion, “nonfat” just means “nonflavor”).

This recipe uses a little bit of buttermilk (it really helps give the dressing that typical ranch flavor), but if you’re sick of buying big containers of buttermilk and not using it all, do what I do—freeze it! I freeze buttermilk in one ounce cubes, and then I have it on hand whenever I need it for dressings, pancakes, or biscuits.

Good for: All kinds of salads, dipping veggies, dipping pizza (so good), honestly, dipping anything.

Notes: Store in an airtight bottle or jar in the fridge for up to a week. If you’re looking to make a thicker ranch dip, only use 1/4 cup of buttermilk. For a thinner dressing to drizzle onto salads, add more buttermilk.

Even though I’m not a huge fan of salads, one of my joys in life is a really good, loaded taco salad topped with this dressing. It’s bright, citrusy, and just a little bit spicy. I’m a weakling when it comes to heat, so if you like more of a kick, add more red pepper flakes. I also like to make a bean salad with pinto beans, chickpeas, and black beans (plus some diced red onion and bell peppers) and drizzle it with this dressing. Yum!

Good for: Taco salads, marinating shrimp or chicken for tacos, bean salads.

Meet my husband’s favorite salad dressing. Sweet and tangy, honey mustard is super versatile and works with a ton of different flavors. This recipe is so quick and easy, I doubt you’ll even need to print it out.

Good for: All kinds of salads, dipping chicken fingers (so good!), marinating meat.

It seems like everyone and their mother have an Italian salad dressing recipe they swear by, and this is mine. It’s not as sweet as many of the ones you’ll find on the store shelf—it’s packed full of herbs and has a nice, nutty flavor thanks to a good dose of Parmesan cheese.

Good for: Side salads (especially with lasagna!), antipasto salads, dipping breadsticks, marinating chicken or fish, pasta salads.

You either love blue cheese or you hate it, and I’m staunchly on the “love it” side of things. This dressing is creamy, tangy, and earthy. If you want to keep this dressing vegetarian, make sure you pick up vegetarian Worcestershire sauce (I like Annie’s brand). Normal Worcestershire sauce is made using anchovies.

Like the ranch dressing above, using a base of whole milk Greek yogurt adds a nice boost of healthy fat and protein. If you’d like to make the dressing lighter, you can use lowfat Greek yogurt.

Good for: Steak salads, dipping hot wings, iceberg wedge salads, any hearty salad that can stand up to the strong blue cheese flavor.

Note: If your blue cheese is chunky, use fork to smash down and big pieces—you want the blue cheese flavor to be in the entire dressing.

If I had to pick my favorite dressing from this list, it’d be this tangy, citrusy lemon vinaigrette. I’m a little bit lemon obsessed, and I could honestly eat this stuff on every single salad I’ve ever made. If you aren’t a fan of lemons, this dressing isn’t for you!

Good for: all salads (especially Greek salads or salads with fruit), drizzling on gyros, marinating chicken or shrimp for the grill, everything ever in life.

It’s taken me years to finally appreciate the flavors of ginger and sesame—but I’m starting to really love the tangy earthiness that comes with these Asian flavors. I use this dressing more often as a marinade than a salad dressing! It’s great for marinating chicken drumsticks or for using with meat in the slow cooker.

Good for: Marinating meat, Asian slaws and salads, cold noodle salads.

And last, but certainly not least, my balsamic vinaigrette recipe. EVERYONE needs to have a balsamic vinaigrette recipe in their wheelhouse. This is, without a doubt, my most used recipe out of the list. Mostly because it’s so darn easy and so darn tasty.

I do highly recommend investing in a good balsamic vinegar—trust me, not all vinegars are made the same. You’ll really notice the difference if you spend a few more bucks on the good stuff. It’s worth it.

Good for: All salads, drizzling on fresh tomatoes, drizzling on watermelon (seriously, try it), marinating meat.

Note: Add a pinch of cinnamon to make a dressing that is DELICIOUS on top of salads with fruit. My favorite is spinach, pear, blue cheese, and walnuts!


For Greek Yogurt Ranch Dressing

  • 3/4 cup whole milk plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced OR 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup fresh minced parsley OR 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1/4 medium onion, diced (about 2 tablespoons) OR 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons fresh minced chives OR 1 tablespoon dried chives
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1/4 cup—1/2 cup buttermilk

For Chili-Lime Salad Dressing

  • Zest and juice of 2 limes (about 4 tablespoons juice and 3 teaspoons zest)
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced OR 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For Honey Mustard Salad Dressing

  • 1/4 cup dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (I prefer raw, unfiltered)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

For Italian Salad Dressing

  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons finely grated parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon fresh minced parsley OR 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 1/4 medium onion, diced (about 2 tablespoons) OR 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon (about 2 tablespons)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh minced basil OR 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh minced oregano OR 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced OR 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

For Greek Yogurt Blue Cheese Dressing

  • 1/2 cup whole milk, plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup finely crumbled blue cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced OR 1 teaspoon garlic powder

For Lemon Vinaigrette Salad Dressing

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon (about 4 tablespoons juice and 3 teaspoons zest)
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced OR 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh minced oregano OR 2 teaspoons dried oregano

For Sesame Ginger Salad Dressing

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced OR 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons peel and grated fresh ginger OR 2 teaspoons ground ginger

For Balsamic Vinaigrette Salad Dressing

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced OR 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


  1. Combine all ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid, shake until well combined. Alternatively, for thicker dressings like the ranch or Italian, you can combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and pulse until well combined and smooth.
  2. Refrigerate and let flavors blend for at least 30 minutes, preferably 2 hours, before serving.


  • You can swap out the olive oil for any other mild-flavored oil (I like avocado oil!).
  • If you’re using unseasoned rice vinegar or low sodium soy sauce, check for seasoning and then add more salt to taste.

If you master these eight dressings, you’ll be in good shape to never buy the bottle stuff again if you don’t want to. And if you’re looking for even more salad dressing recipes (seriously, that wasn’t enough?), here are a few others that I have kicking around: creamy avocado vinaigrette, coconut milk ranch dressing, clementine vinaigrette, lemon poppyseed vinaigrette, and lemon sesame vinaigrette.

RANKED: These are the salad dressings with the fewest calories

So many options. Rebecca Harrington/Tech Insider A single serving of salad dressing can have more calories than all the vegetables in the actual salad.

Low-fat dressings may be lower in calories, but they are often high in sugars. (They have to add something in there to make it taste good after they take all that fat out.)

If you want to choose a dressing with fewer calories or fat, watch out for how much sugar it has, too. The World Health Organization recommends adults eat fewer than 50 grams of sugar per day, and you don’t want to waste a chunk of that on 2 measly tablespoons of dressing.

So while this is a list of salad dressings ranked by their calories, it’s also a lesson in looking at a nutrition label holistically.

To compare salad dressings, I went to the grocery store and photographed a sample. This of course doesn’t include every dressing or every variety, but hopefully this list can get you started.

Here’s how 17 dressings rank from the highest to lowest calories in one 2 Tbsp. serving, and I’ve included how much sugar each has, too:


  • 86
  • 1.2K

Snacktime doesn’t need to be boring or unhealthy. These 50 healthy snack ideas, each 100 calories or less, will help to keep things interesting

When it comes to afternoon snacking, the busier I am, the better I do. A long to-do list guarantees that I can grab something quick to recharge my energy, and then move on. Idle time leads to idle ways. Well, maybe not idle. I mean, it does take some work to rummage through the fridge and pantry to find something to satisfy my hunger which, by the way, is not actually hunger. It’s boredom.

Yep, boredom is not my friend. Though it’s amazing how many “original” combinations of food I can come up with when boredom sets in. Turkey wrapped around a pickle, Nutella spread on graham crackers…a can of black olives. Not that I’ve ever eaten any of these things. Ahem.
Whether it’s a busy day or a “boredom” day, I try to be more conscious about what I’m eating and follow my own advice on portion control.

100 calories may sound like very little food, but it’s enough to refuel the body and brain, and curb hunger until the next meal.

But there’s a trick. Once you’ve eaten that 100 calorie snack, find something else to do. Quickly. Drink some water, leave the kitchen, go for a walk, run an errand. If you stand in the kitchen, surrounded by snack food, chances are that your well-intentioned snack will balloon to 300 or 400 calories.

Below are some of my favorite snacks, but I would love to hear your ideas. I need all the help I can get at snack time!

Fruit & Vegetables:

Raw veggies and hummus, such as Asparagus Hummus, Creamy Curry Hummus or Artichoke Hummus with Hazelnuts & Mint
Celery with peanut butter (2 stalks celery + 1 tablespoon peanut butter)
Blueberries (1 cup)
Banana (1 medium)
Apple (1 medium)
Cantaloupe (1/2)
Grapes (1 cup)
Mango (1 cup chopped)
Pear (1 medium)
Peach (1 medium)
Edamame (1/2 cup shelled)
Clementine orange (2 to 3)
Fruit leather
Avocado (1/2 small)
Unsweetened applesauce (1 cup)
Dried apricots (1/4 cup)

Asparagus Hummus


Almonds (about 10)
Pistachios (about 25)
Raw almonds and dried cranberries
Egg whites (2) with whole wheat toast (1/2)
Hard-boiled egg (1 egg)
Baked potato (1/2 medium) with salsa
Baked sweet potato (1 small)
Popcorn (3 cups air-popped)
Granola Bars, such as Low-Fat Granola Bars with Bananas, Cranberries & Pecans
Granola Bites, such as No-Bake Carrot Cake Granola Bites or No-Bake Zucchini Bread Granola Bites
Cooked quinoa (1/3 cup)
Salsa with a few tortilla chips or vegetables
Pretzels, preferably whole wheat
Small bran muffin
Low-fat granola
Kale chips
Cheerios (2/3 cup) with skim milk (1/4 cup)

No-Bake Carrot Cake Granola Bites


Sharp cheddar cheese (3/4 oz.)
Starbucks Tall Skinny Latte
Low-fat yogurt with fruit
Low-fat cottage cheese (1/2 cup)
1/2 whole wheat English muffin with light cream cheese
String cheese (1)


Dark chocolate (2/3 oz.)
Healthy Choice Fudge Bar
Skinny Cow 2 Mini Fudge Pops
Chocolate covered banana (dip 1/2 banana in dark chocolate, then freeze)
Frozen grapes (1 cup)


Almond milk (1 1/2 cups)
Skim milk (1 cup)
Tomato juice (2 cups)
Sparkling water with a splash of orange juice

Be sure to check in on Sunday for my next edition of Run Like a Girl.


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Three Minute Skinny Caesar Dressing! – A super easy and flavorful caesar dressing that won’t chub you up! Made with simple ingredients, you will never miss the full fat version!

Who doesn’t love a really good Caesar Salad?! It’s one of our faves. But the dressing can be a hassle. Raw egg. A can of oily anchovies. Short shelf life. Sure, there is the store bought stuff, but it lacks the fresh flavor of homemade, not to mention pricy and fattening. But here I am to save your Caesar day!

No egg, no oily can of fish, low calorie, big flavored dressing!

I posted this recipe years ago, and it is still a family favorite. It was time for a recipe up-do! It’s the same recipe, I just increased the yield. More is better!

Why is this 3 Minute Caesar Dressing a skinny recipe? Only 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 52 calories a serving. Can I get a whoo hoo!

So lets talk about anchovies. I know you think you don’t like them…but if you like Caesar dressing than you like anchovies. Anchovy flavor is what made you fall in love with the dressing in the first place! If you leave out the anchovies, it will still be good, but it will not be Caesar. It will be Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette.

Cooking with anchovies can be really easy by using the paste instead of the tin of oily fish. You can find it right by the canned anchovy. It comes in a tube. I use Napolean brand but I am sure any will do. It has a long shelf life and you will be sure to have it on hand for many many batches of this tasty dressing. Trust me, you are going to make this a lot!

I use a blender to mix this up but a wire whisk will work just as good. Just mince your garlic very fine if hand whisking. I have a Magic Bullet Blender . I am not big on gadgets, I don’t even own a full size food processor, but I love this blender! It’s small, powerful, and super easy to clean.

The dijon is a natural emulsifier and holds this yummy concoction together. It won’t separate…not even after sitting in your fridge for a few days.

This will keep in your refrigerator for about a week. Like me, it gets better as it ages :).

You may also like this Chipotle Caesar Salad with Spicy Croutons! or this Crunchy Thai Chicken Salad with Peanut Dressing!

To healthy but flavorful salad dressings that won’t chub you up!



What do you think about this recipe?Have questions?Comment below!Don’t forget to like us on Facebook, and connect with us on Instagram and tag your @Laughingspatula recipes with #laughingspatula,while you’re at it…We love to see your pics!

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3 Minute Skinny Caesar Dressing 4.18 from 56 votes Prep Time 3 mins Total Time 3 mins

A fast and fresh Caesar Dressing made with greek yogurt.

Course: condiment, dressing, Salad, Side Dish Cuisine: Italian Servings: 12 : 52 kcal : Kathi & Rachel Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt I used fat free
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice about 2 lemons
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons anchovy paste
  • 1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper


  1. Add all ingredients to blender or food processor.

  2. Blend for about 10 seconds until smooth. Taste for seasoning. More salt, pepper, anchovy paste?

  3. Store in glass or plastic container.

  4. Chill for 30 minutes before serving.

Recipe Notes

Makes about 1 1/2 cups of dressing.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I might receive a very small commission should you chose to purchase that linked item. I only link to items I know and trust. Thank you for your support! Clink!

Nutrition Facts 3 Minute Skinny Caesar Dressing Amount Per Serving (2 tablespoons) Calories 52 Calories from Fat 31 % Daily Value* Fat 3.4g5% Saturated Fat 0.9g5% Cholesterol 4.2mg1% Sodium 164.9mg7% Carbohydrates 2.8g1% Fiber 0.1g0% Sugar 1.9g2% Protein 3g6% * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. 4907shares

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25-Cal Caesar Dressing

Last updated January 2, 2015

Creamy 1-point dressing full of flavor, zing and cheese.

This weekend I experimented in the kitchen trying to make the perfect low-calorie Caesar dressing.

I love Caesar salads. They’re so simple ~ just romaine lettuce, Parmesan cheese and croutons topped with a zesty, garlicy dressing.

But with that dressing comes lots of calories. Look at the label on the side of the bottle. In full-fat dressings, the first ingredient is usually oil.

Once the calories start to shed off the label, oil slides down the list and is replaced with water. The sugar ingredient quickly becomes high fructose corn syrup, and real milk or buttermilk is replaced with whey, a milk by-product.

So now picture this: You’ve decided to go on a diet. You don’t really like lettuce, but you know in order to lose weight, you’ve got to put aside the burgers and turn to some flavorless, leafy greens.

A little restaurant-style Caesar dressing would make those greens taste good, but that means you’re looking at 150 calories for two tablespoons. You could eat a McDonald’s hash brown for 150 calories, but you’re trying to be good, so you stick to the salad and replace the full-fat dressing with reduced calorie or fat free dressing.

Awesome. Now you have a bowl of flavorless, leafy greens topped with water, corn syrup and whey. And you wonder why it’s hard to stick to this diet?

This recipe is for a low calorie Caesar dressing. Caesar dressing can easily be 150 calories and up for two tablespoons. This recipe, however, is only 25 calories per serving.

Caesar dressing dates back to … wait for it … not Julius Caesar. Nope, he wasn’t sitting around in his toga in 49 BC eating his veggies topped with this dressing. It wasn’t created until the 1920s.

Caesar Cardini, an Italian restaurateur living in San Diego, is credited with creating the recipe in his restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico.

It was made with fresh eggs, Parmesan, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, vinegar, salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce.

Over the years, the recipe has shifted, so I take no shame in altering it myself.

First off, I’m not comfortable eating raw egg unless it is fresh from the farm. Fortunately, we have an easy substitute for that. Right next to the eggs in the grocery, you can find pasteurized raw eggs in the carton.

I do use Parmesan cheese. That, to me, is the foundation of the bitter, saltiness that Caesar dressing is all about. Garlic, lemon juice, salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce have virtually zero calories, so that leaves one more full-fat ingredient to conquer – the olive oil.

When you emulsify olive oil and eggs, you get mayonnaise, which is what makes Caesar so creamy. But wait, don’t go there. If you use fat-free mayo, you might as well just buy the fat-free dressing.

My favorite option for a creamy, full flavor substitute is Greek yogurt. The first time I had Greek yogurt was at a bed and breakfast outside of Amsterdam.

An English innkeeper with a magic culinary touch prepared coddled eggs and served them alongside a bowl of Greek yogurt and fresh fruit and pastries.

Over the past year, Greek yogurt has become more common in the states. My favorite brand, the brand I had in Amsterdam is Fage (pronounced fa-yay).

It has a nice richness. Don’t expect it to taste like strawberry Yoplait. It’s thick and plain. But if you take the thought of sugar, food dye and berry extracts out of your mind, and you really focus on the flavor of what’s in the cup, you’ll taste the creaminess of cultured milk. It’s so smooth and so satisfying. And even better, it’s full of protein.

So when making my 25-cal Caesar dressing, I swapped the standard olive oil with Greek yogurt.

The result: instead of 150 calories, 16 grams of fat, 1 gram of carbs and 1 gram of protein, this recipe only has 25 calories, .5 grams of fat, 1 gram of carbs and 3.5 grams of protein. That’s one Weight Watcher’s point instead of four.

But I promise you, despite the fact that this is so low-cal, it really does taste good. I don’t waste calories on food that doesn’t.

25-Cal Caesar Dressing

Yield: 1 cup (8 servings)

Calories per serving: 25


  • 8 ozs. Fage 0% Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons Egg Beaters
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoons champagne vinegar
  • 1 tsp. chopped garlic, packed in oil
  • 1 ½ tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper

Place all ingredients in a bowl and whisk together.

Serve over romaine lettuce with grated Parmesan cheese and croutons.

3.1 © Zestuous 2014

Looking for a healthy caesar salad dressing? This avocado caesar dressing uses avocado instead of eggs so it’s still super creamy and flavorful, but low in calories and fat. Less than 60 calories per serving!

I feel like caesar salad is something you either love or you hate. Or maybe everyone loves it… I just know I’ve never been a huge caesar salad person myself, maybe because when I first started eating healthier I learned that caesar salads weren’t exactly “healthy”, so I spent years avoiding them.

Typically, caesar salads are high in calories and fat and don’t have much nutrition because they’re made with just lettuce, cheese and croutons. But to my own surprise, I recently created this dressing and a totally epic, EBF-friendly caesar salad (recipe coming soon) and can now say I’m hooked! I can totally see why people like the taste of caesar salads.

How to Make Healthy Caesar Dressing

When it comes to caesar salad dressing , it’s typically made with eggs and loaded with processed oils, but I’ve created a delicious, healthier avocado caesar dressing that’s creamy and light but still packed with all the caesar flavor you love.

Bonus points: this dressing couldn’t be much easier to make – just throw everything into a blender or food processor (affiliate link) and blend until smooth! No separating egg yolks, no whisking — bada-bing, bada-boom.

Anchovies are Packed with Nutrition

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room: anchovies. I know they’re scary and a little weird, but let me tell you – they are nutrition powerhouses and are what gives caesar dressing that unique flavor! They are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are really important in the standard American diet. They are also high in calcium and vitamin K, which help with bone health (yes please!). Last but not least, they pack a surprising punch in the protein department (1 serving of anchovies has 13 grams of protein)! If you’re freaked out by using anchovy fillets, you can also use anchovy paste (found in your grocery store near the tuna) — whichever is easier for you!

Are you a caesar salad lover? If so, try this dressing and let me know what you think!

If you try this dressing, please leave a comment and star rating below. Your feedback is helpful for us here at EBF and other EBF readers who plan to make the recipe!


Looking for a healthy caesar salad dressing? This avocado caesar dressing uses avocado instead of eggs so it’s still super creamy and flavorful, but low in calories and fat. Less than 60 calories per serving!

  • 1/3 cup mashed avocado
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 anchovy fillets (or 1 teaspoon anchovy paste, if you prefer)
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup shredded or shaved parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 2 Tablespoons unsweetened almond milk
  1. Add all ingredients into a high powered blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Taste and add additional salt and pepper if needed.
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Blender
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size: 2 Tablespoons
  • Calories: 58
  • Sugar: 2g
  • Sodium: 336mg
  • Fat: 5g
  • Saturated Fat: 1g
  • Carbohydrates: 2g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Protein: 2g
  • Cholesterol: 4mg

Keywords: avocado caesar dressing, caesar salad dressing, avocado dressing

10 Low-Calorie, Easy-to-Make Salad Dressings

Dress up your boring salad with these delicious, low(er) calorie recipes. By Maggie Brooks· 3/18/2013, 12:27 p.m.

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Salad dressings photo via

Bottled salad dressing can turn your healthy lunch into a creamy mess of extra calories. Luckily, vinaigrettes are a breeze to whip up, and all the ingredients are probably already in your pantry.

These recipes should make enough to keep some in your fridge for future use. Most of the time the bottles will just need a solid shake before using. But if the dressing doesn’t come back together within a couple shakes, then toss everything into a blender and take it for a whirl until everything is recombined.

DIY dressings are an easy way to keep sneaky calories out of your salad. With these vinaigrettes, you won’t have to feel guilty about splashing a little extra onto your greens. Happy whisking!

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1. Asian Vinaigrette

Asian flavored dressings can be very versatile. This dressing will pop on a cold noodle salad with seared tuna as well as dress up grilled chicken over spinach with edamame and green beans.

2. Honey-Balsamic Vinaigrette

This recipe combines two classics into one. For a dressing with more texture, substitute the Dijon mustard for coarse grainy mustard. Or kick up the heat with spicy Dijon mustard.

3. Fat Free Vegan Goddess Dressing
via Fat Free Vegan Kitchen

Vegans love creamy dressings too. This recipe is an adaptation of Annie’s popular Green Goddess dressing. The creamy texture is achieved with silken tofu, which slashes the fat and adds protein.

RELATED: Like healthy salad dressing? Try these healthy pasta sauce recipes.

4. Low-Fat Buttermilk Ranch
via SkinnyTaste

Buttermilk ranch dressing is one of my salad indulgences. Try a BLT inspired salad with buttery bib lettuce, crispy turkey bacon, and heirloom tomatoes, all topped off with a drizzle of tangy buttermilk ranch.

5. Orange-Raspberry Vinaigrette
via Southern Living

The sweet and fruity base of this dressing is countered by the minced jalapeño for an added kick. Top a salad with chicken, cucumber, and mint for a really nice pairing.

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6. Warm Bacon Vinaigrette
via My Recipes

In its original form, this recipe doesn’t scream “ready for the beach.” But with a simple swap of turkey bacon for regular bacon, this dressing isn’t so bad. The recipe also makes a lot of dressing (1-1/2 cups) so feel free to cut everything in half.

7. Low Fat Bleu Cheese Dressing
via Honest Fare

This lower fat version of bleu cheese dressing will be best on grilled or baked buffalo chicken (if you’re eating low fat dressing, then skip the fried wings).

8. Light Creamy Caesar Dressing
via Cooking Light

The recipe calls for plain yogurt, but if you like your dressing extra thick and creamy, opt for nonfat plain Greek yogurt. If you can’t find anchovy paste in the tube, then finely dice one or two whole anchovies.

9. Parmesan and Peppercorn Ranch Dressing
via All Recipes

Lovers of parmesan peppercorn dressing can try this lower fat version for a (mostly) guilt-free indulgence.

10. Grapefruit Vinaigrette
via Country Living

Citrus on a salad really makes flavors pop. Grapefruit pairs perfectly with arugula and thinly sliced fennel for a lovely appetizer salad.

Salads are a nutritious choice as long as you don’t overdo it on the dressing! Be sure to keep portions to 150-calories worth of dressing (about 1 1/2 Tbsp of the regular kind) for an entrée salad and 1 Tbsp for a side salad. Whether you like creamy dressings or a nice vinaigrette, here are four of my favorite low-fat recipes. The first three are from my diet book, Your Inner Skinny: Four Steps to Thin Forever and the last is from my newest cookbook: Slim & Scrumptious: More Than 75 Delicious, Healthy Meals Your Family Will Love.

Balsamic Vinaigrette
Makes 3 servings (2 Tablespoons each serving)

1 clove garlic, minced (1 teaspoon) or 1/4 teaspon garlic powder
2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon water

Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk them together well. Keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Nutritional Info (per serving):
Calories: 20
Protein: 0 g
Total fat: 0 g
Saturated fat: 0 g
Sodium: 230 mg


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Thousand Islands Dressing
Make 3 servings (2 Tablespoons each serving)

3 Tablespoons reduced fat mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons ketchup
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon pickle relish
1/2 teaspoon horseradish (optional)

Combine all ingredients and whisk together. Dressing will keep for up to one week in fridge in airtight container.

Nutritional Info (per serving):
Calories: 30
Protein: 0 g
Total fat: 1 g
Saturated fat: 0 g
Sodium: 275 mg

Light Caesar Dressing
Makes approximately 9 servings (2 Tablespoons each serving)

3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 clove garlic, minced (or use 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
1 anchovy fillet (optional)
2 Tablespoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
Salt to taste

Add all ingredients together in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving. Dressing will keep for up to one week in fridge in airtight container.

Nutritional Info (per serving):
Calories: 30
Protein: 3 g
Total fat: 2 g
Saturated fat: 0.5 g
Sodium: 105 mg

Buttermilk Ranch Dip
Makes approximately 16 servings (2 Tablespoons each serving)

1 cup nonfat sour cream
1/4 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
1/4 cup nonfat or low-fat buttermilk (shake well before measuring)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 scallions (white and green parts), thinly sliced
2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

Combine all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and stir well.

Nutritional Info (per serving):
Calories: 47
Protein: 2 g
Total fat: 1 g
Saturated fat: 0 g
Sodium: 215 mg

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Low calorie salad dressing

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