10 Fresh Ideas for Salad Dressings

Tired of the same old salad dressings? Try one of these delicious, easy mix-ins.

One go-to dressing for spring and summer salads is to simply toss greens in olive oil, salt, and pepper until evenly coated, then to toss again with lemon juice. This combination goes with just about everything and couldn’t be easier, but if you're craving more exciting flavors, try one of these easy ideas.



Photo by Cultura/Brett Stevens

A staple in hummus, this nutty puree of sesame seeds makes a creamy (cream-less!) dressing when simply whisked with lemon juice or vinegar. You can thin it with water for a runnier dressing or spike it with minced raw garlic.


Pickled Ginger

Don’t dump those sushi take-out containers of pickled ginger. Instead, whir the slices in a blender with soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame oil for an Asian dressing with kick.


Salsa Verde

Tomatillos, green cousins to tomatoes, make green salsa tangy and refreshing. Its thin consistency is perfect for tossing with salads straight up. For even more tang, squeeze in some lime juice. It’s especially good with crunchy corn kernels and radishes.


Coconut Milk

Decadent and creamy, this canned liquid adds instant richness to salads. For Thai-inspired flavors, stir it with fish sauce and lime juice before tossing with loads of fresh basil, mint, cilantro, and greens and topping with roasted salted peanuts.


Pickle Brine

Don’t dump the brine in the pickle jar! Use it in place of vinegar in any salad dressing. And sure, go ahead and toss some pickles into the salad too. Try this trick with potato salad and your summer will never be the same.



Both classic basil and slightly-less-classic sundried tomato bring Italian goodness to the table. Swap it for olive oil in dressing and it makes even a standard-issue green salad exciting.


Barbecue Sauce

It’s not just for meaty main dishes. Stir some of your favorite into vinaigrette for a hint of sweet and smoky in your salad dressing. Its bold flavors taste great with chopped salads.



Ground from dried sumac berries, this pretty pink Middle Eastern spice tastes as tangy as lemon but with a less assertive sourness. Mix it with yogurt or oil and vinegar for Greek salad or to drizzle over grilled vegetables.



You already know how great miso tastes in soup, so you won’t be surprised to find you love it in salads too. White (shiro) miso tends to be smoother and sweeter than darker varieties and can be whisked with rice vinegar and sesame oil for any green salad. It’s also great over grilled eggplant.


Almond Butter

If you’re looking for a protein boost, thin almond butter with oil, vinegar or lemon juice, and water to create a nutty dressing. It’s great when paired with summer fruits in leafy salads.