No More Bottled Salad Dressings

Written By: Sofia Layarda, MPH

Title: Master of Public Health

Alumni: University of California, Berkeley

Last Updated on:

Healthy Salad Dressing

Nothing could be easier than buying pre-made salad dressing in a bottle or jar to bring to work, especially if it means you’ll be enjoying a healthy salad for lunch, right? As we gear up for New Year’s resolutions and healthier eating, let’s make sure you are not sabotaging your good intentions by drenching those healthy salads with a dressing full of food additives.

Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing

Homemade Ranch Dressing

We created our version of the ever-popular ranch dressing from scratch and compared it to a bottled version. Check out the following table:

Hidden Valley
Ranch Dressing


Ranch Dressing

Serving Size:
2 tbsp 2 tbsp
140 kcal 50 kcal
1 g 1 g
14 g 4 g
Trans Fat:
0 g 0 g
2 g 2 g
260 mg 69 mg
Preparation time:
0 mins
(straight out of the bottle)

8 mins
(to cut and measure ingredients)

Price per serving:
$0.25 $0.08

How Did the Two Stack Up?

Our homemade dressing beats the bottled version in all departments: it costs way less, tastes better, and has dramatically lower sodium and fat contents per serving. Taste-wise, the flavors are a lot more pronounced in the homemade version – tangier (from the fresh lemon juice, yogurt, and buttermilk) and more savory from the use of fresh and dried herbs.

Plus, no mysterious chemical are to be found in our homemade dressing, while the bottled version is full of hard-to-pronounce ingredients like xanthan gum (which keeps the dressing thick yet pourable), disodium phosphate, disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate, MSG (a flavor enhancer), and calcium disodium EDTA (a preservative).

The Bottom Line

Making your own salad dressing from scratch is not as daunting a task as it may seem. Armed with a good recipe, it is something you can complete in minutes while packing the next day’s lunch. The best thing about it is that it gives you full control over what ingredients get drizzled over your salad and, ultimately, what goes into your body!

Our Homemade Recipe

The ranch dressing is courtesy of Ellie Krieger’s The Food You Crave.

De-Light-Ful Ranch Dressing

Great as a dip or a sandwich spread as well as a salad dressing, this will last about three days in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

Makes 1 cup. Serving size: 2 tbsp


  • 1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt or1/3 cup plain Greek-style nonfat yogurt
  • 1/3 cup low
  • fat buttermilk
  • 3 tbsp mayonnaise1 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbs finely chopped fresh chivessalt to taste


If using regular yogurt, place it in a strainer lined with a paper towel and set the strainer over a bowl. Let the yogurt drain and thicken for 20 minutes. In a medium bowl, whisk together the strained or Greek-style yogurt with the remaining ingredients.


home cooking, no more packaged foods, recipes, salad dressing


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