6 Homemade Paleo Salad Dressings (Whole30 and Vegan modifications)


Several years ago I posted about DIY Salad dressings. It’s still a vital post with all the technique behind making your own to avoid buying expensive bottled dressings (especially if you’re avoiding sugars, chemicals and fillers.) But I wanted to update it with these 6 Homemade Paleo Salad Dressings that meet my current Paleo and mostly vegan eating habits.

Salade Nicoise in a Jar - Basic Vinaigrette with potatoes, cucumbers, radish, olives, tuna, arugula

Salade Nicoise in a Jar - Basic Vinaigrette with potatoes, cucumbers, radish, olives, tuna, arugula

Homemade Paleo Salad Dressings in Salad Jars

If you are not familiar with the Salad Jar concept, it is a great weekday lunch hack to know. Simply layer salad dressing of choice on the bottom of a quart jar then follow that with crunchy veggies, cubed or shredded protein of choice, cheese, softer veggies, lettuces or greens and then anything crispy to mix in wrapped and taped on top or simply thrown in with your lunch (just don’t forget). When you get to work, either shake it all together in the jar (leave space at top to do so) or dump onto a plate at work for a perfectly composed salad.

Left to Right - Lemon, Sesame Ginger, Basic, Ranch, Honey Mustard, Sweet Balsamic

Left to Right - Lemon, Sesame Ginger, Basic, Ranch, Honey Mustard, Sweet Balsamic

Homemade Paleo Salad Dressings Variations and Uses

Most of these dressings are great as dipping sauces or marinades besides being the perfect salad partner. With each recipe, the “Now What?” section include several ideas for how to add variety to it and uses for meals beyond salads.

Homemade Paleo Salad Dressing #1 - Basic Vinaigrette

Dijon mustard helps this dressing to not separate as readily. You will still need to shake or whisk before using. For salad jars, just shake a little before opening jar. 

1 tsp Dijon mustard 

1 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

3 tbsp apple cider vinegar 

½ cup extra virgin olive oil 

Shake all ingredients in a jar until well blended. If Dijon is not mixing in, whisk well then shake again. 

Now What?

Herb Vinaigrette - add 2 tsp dried or 2 tbsp fresh, chopped herbs

Garlic Vinaigrette - add 2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tsp pre-minced)

Caesar-esque Dressing - Cut olive oil to 1/4 cup and add 1/4 cup mayo (regular, homemade, or vegan). Stir in 1/4 parmesan cheese or 1 tbsp nutritional yeast (for vegan).

Uses - Quick marinade for any meat. If using on seafood, only marinate 15-30 minutes. Poultry up to 8 hours, beef, lamb or pork up to 24 hours.

Homemade Paleo Salad Dressing #2 - Ranch Dressing

1 1/2 tsp sea salt 

1 tsp granulated onion 

1 tsp granulated garlic  

1 tsp oregano 

2 tsp Italian herb blend 

2 tsp dried dill weed 

Lots of freshly ground pepper 

1 cup GMO free mayo (regular or vegan) 

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar 

2 tbsp milk (regular or dairy free) 

 Whisk everything together well and taste. Add more salt if necessary and if it doesn’t taste tangy enough, add more apple cider vinegar.   

Now What?

Chipotle Ranch - Omit the Dill weed and add 1/2 tsp chipotle powder and 1 tsp smoked paprika.

Tex Mex Ranch - Sub 1 tsp cumin for the dill weed and combine all ingredients in a blender with 1 tbsp lime juice, 1/2 cup chopped green onion, 1 chopped jalapeno or 2 tbsp green chiles and 1/2 cup chopped cilantro.

Ranch Dip - Sub 1/2 cup Greek Yogurt for the milk.

Uses - Drizzle dressing or dollop dip over baked potatoes as a Whole30 sub for sour cream, use as a dairy free pizza base, serve with Buffalo chicken or cauliflower.

Homemade Paleo Salad Dressing #3 - Honey Mustard

This is the only one that is not Whole30 friendly. You can certainly try softening 3 dates in hot water and blending it all together instead of using the honey to make it so. I haven’t tried that, but it would be a close sub if you’re really needing a honey mustard fix.

1/4 cup yellow mustard (or 2 tbsp each Dijon and Yellow for spicier version)

2-3 tbsp honey (to your taste for sweetness)

2-3 tbsp apple cider vinegar (balance sweetness to taste)

1/3 cup light olive or avocado oil

lots of freshly cracked black pepper

sea salt to taste

Start with the smaller amounts of honey and apple cider vinegar. Whisk all ingredients together or shake in a jar. Taste and add more honey or vinegar to get it to sweet and tangy level you want.

Now What?

Tarragon Honey Mustard - Add 1 tsp dried tarragon.

Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce - Sub mayo for the oil.

Uses - Of course, it can be use as a dipping sauce for oven fried chicken tenders (Like these Grain Free Chicken tenders or these) or as a Carolina style (tomato-free) barbecue sauce.

Homemade Paleo Salad Dressing #4 - Sweet Balsamic

1 tsp Dijon mustard 

¼ cup balsamic vinegar 

2 tbsp honey (omit for W30) 

6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 

1 ½ tsp Magic Salt 

Shake together in an 8 oz jar. If you want a sweeter dressing for W30 version, substitute 1 pitted date for the honey and blend until smooth. 

Healthy Homemade Salad Dressing #5 - Lemon Vinaigrette

Zest of 2 lemons

¼ cup lemon juice 

½ cup extra virgin olive oil 

1 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp black pepper 

Whisk everything together well in a small bowl or shake in a jar.

Now What?

Lemon Herb Marinade/Dressing - Add 2 tsp each minced garlic, rosemary and thyme. Especially GREAT on poultry and seafood.

Greek Lemon Dressing - Add 1 1/2 tsp minced garlic and 2 tsp dried oregano. If you eat dairy, add 1/4 crumbled feta or blend it all together to make a creamy dressing.

Uses - Keep grilled meats extra juicy by using half as marinade before cooking then drizzle more on after cooking. Marinate veggies in lemon vinaigrette and toss with feta or parmesan (or toasted slivered almonds if Paleo/W30) to make a quick slaw that goes great with roasted and grilled meats.

Homemade Paleo Salad Dressing #6 - Sesame Ginger

1/4 cup coconut aminos 

2 tbsp maple syrup or honey (your choice) 

1 tsp granulated garlic or 2 tsp minced fresh garlic 

1 tsp powdered ginger or 1 tbsp minced fresh ginger

½ tsp cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes, optional 

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar 

1 tbsp sesame oil

1/3 cup avocado or light olive oil

sea salt to taste

Whisk the coconut aminos, maple syrup, ginger and garlic in a pan over medium heat until it is reduced by half. Whisk in apple cider vinegar and oils then add sea salt to taste.

Now What?

Whole30 Asian Sauce - Omit maple syrup and instead of cooking, blend 2 pitted dates with all the other ingredients. The dates will naturally thicken the sauce without cooking.

Peanut (or “Peanut”) Sauce - Sub 1/4 cup peanut butter mixed with 2 tbsp hot water for the oil. If you are Paleo or Whole30, use almond butter instead and use the Whole30 variation above.

Uses - Marinate poultry or seafood. Grill with pineapple or make kebabs by threading pineapple, red pepper and onion chunks with marinated poultry or seafood. Serve peanut sauce with veggies for dipping or with these Thai Chicken Satays or Vietnamese Spring Rolls

When you make any of these recipes, please share your creations on Instagram and tag (and follow if you’re not) @christiflaherty and use #simplyrealfood.

*Go to DIY Salad Dressings for the original post and a lot of background info on how to formulate your own dressings.