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Having a salad before a meal makes me feel healthier, especially when I’m eating something fattening like my favorite mac n cheese. 🙂 Getting my daily veggie servings in completes a meal.

I like to get creative with some seasonal salads, like my Fall Apple Salad. But usually I like a traditional green salad as an appetizer.  My favorite ingredients in a classic mixed green salad are tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, and fresh mozzarella. (And I recently discovered that tomatoes, onions, and several other vegetables should NOT be refrigerated – read this article for why.)

Simple healthy salad

A simple healthy salad

To me, dressing can make or break a salad.  Unfortunately, it can also make a salad super fattening and cancel out what you thought was a guilt-free meal.  Some are too sweet and sugary and it’s just not how a salad should be dressed.

Lady in green

Lady in green – I stole this from Kiley’s college art project.

So, I recently started making my own dressings and now, I won’t go back to the bottled stuff.  I know what goes into it and can be certain there is nothing artificial.  The dressing is as fresh as the salad!

All it takes is a few simple ingredients: honey, Dijon, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar.

Easy homemade balsamic dressing

Just mix the ingredients, and enjoy your homemade dressing – better, healthier, and cheaper than the store-bought stuff.

Easy homemade balsamic dressing

When I know I’ll have salad a few days in a row, I’ll make it in my homemade dressing bottle – available at Target, Crate & Barrel, HomeGoods, or pretty much any home store.  This one even has some recipes on the side. Of course mine are better. 😉

Easy homemade balsamic dressing

A glass salad dressing bottle makes it a convenient staple in your fridge – but it’s homemade!

And the left overs can go into my lunchbox for a healthy packed lunch.

Easy homemade balsamic dressing

Save some salad and dressing and pack it for a healthy lunch. These dressing containers are from Dollar Tree – 20 contains for $1!!

The best part about this salad dressing, is you can substitute the balsamic for anything to get different flavors.  Sub it for lemon juice to get a healthy lemon vinaigrette. Or, use red wine vinegar for a lighter vinaigrette.  Add extra Dijon and honey to get honey mustard. The possibilities are endless…

I’ll also leave you with a tip from Ina Garten: if you are preparing a salad in advance, add the dressing to the bottom of the salad bowl.  When you are ready to serve, just toss the salad well and it will be fresh, not soggy.


Homemade Balsamic Dressing

  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of pepper
  • pinch of Italian seasoning (optional)
  • 1/8 c. olive oil
  • 1/4 balsamic vinegar

Mix honey, Dijon, and spices.  Stir in olive oil, then add balsamic.  Mix well and serve.

Refrigerate leftovers for up to 1 week.