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Dressing Down - Lower-Fat Salad Dressings

Many commercial brands of salad dressing contain egg or dairy, neither of which are good news. However, there is a handful that do the job, although taste varies - and some brands lean heavily on sugar to compensate for lack of oil! So read the nutritional breakdown on the label carefully. See our Product Guide for suggested brands.

Top Tip
Most commercial low-fat dressings use xanthan gum as a thickener (it's an oil substitute and animal-free). You may wish to add a teaspoon of it when making your own dressings - it is available in jars/tubs from many large supermarkets as well as health food shops. Life and Doves Farm are the most common brands.

  • Reduced-fat Soyannaise


  • Ceasar Dressing, reduced fat

    Makes a good-sized jar's worth - add this to a big green salad and home-made (low-fat!) croutons, baked in the oven for a few minutes on a baking sheet coated with a little oil spray | 5 minutes

    • Half a pack of silken tofu, any sort (approximately 175g/generous 6oz)
    • 60ml/4 tbsp water
    • 60ml/4 tbsp lemon juice
    • 2 tbsp light miso - from large Sainsbury's (Sweet White Miso), health food shops or Oriental grocers
    • 1 tbsp agave syrup
    • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
    • 1 tsp vegetarian Worcester Sauce (eg Life or Biona, available from Tesco, Asda and Occado or health food shops)
    • 1 clove garlic
    • Black pepper to taste

    1 Put all ingredients into a blender and puree until smooth.


    2 Cover and chill until ready to serve. Store in an airtight container such as a clean glass jar with lid - will keep in the fridge for up to a week.



    Three Simple Low-fat Dressings

    These take a minute or two to make and are lovely - not too sweet, either. Remember, you can add a little xanthan gum to these if you want a thicker consistency.

    Balsamic Dressing

    Makes a jar. Keeps for at least a week in the fridge - less if you add the fresh parsley

    • 180ml/generous 6fl oz water
    • 2-4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
    • 3 tsp capers
    • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
    • ½-1 tsp dried basil
    • Optional: 1 tbsp fresh parsley

    1 Combine the ingredients. Add 2 tbsp of the balsamic vinegar then taste before adding more - remember, the capers contain vinegar so go easy.


    2 Store in a covered container in the refrigerator.



    Singleton's French Dressing

    Makes about 2 tbsp
    Keeps in the fridge for at least a week, but being a tiny portion will probably get used immediately!

    • 2 tbsp lemon juice - use fresh rather than bottled if you can, much nicer!
    • 2 tsp white wine vinegar
    • ¼ tsp salt
    • ¼ tsp sugar
    • 1/8 tsp French or Dijon mustard
    • Ground black pepper to taste

    1 Put everything in a screw-top jar and shake well.

    Oriental Dressing

    Really easy and lovely, particularly with noodle or rice salads

    • 1 tsp good quality soya sauce (shoyu or tamari)
    • ½-1 tsp brown rice vinegar - use cider vinegar if you can't get it
    • ½-1 tsp fresh ginger, grated fine
    • 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
    • 125-180ml/4-6fl oz water
    • Optional: 2 tsp mirin (rice wine)

    1 Mix everything together and serve.