ArrowDownFill 1arrow-small-lineFill 1Cooking Light - EasyCooking Light - FastCooking Light - So GoodCooking Light - How-ToCooking Light - Staff FaveCooking Light Badge - Wow!GroupClose IconEmailEmpty Star IconLike Cooking Light on FacebookFull Star IconShapePage 1 Copy 3Page 1 Copy 2Grid IconHalf Star IconFollow Cooking Light on InstagramList IconMenu IconPrintSearch IconSpeech BubbleFollow Cooking Light on SnapchatFollow Cooking Light on TwitterWatch Cooking Light on YouTubeplay-iconWatch Cooking Light on Youtube

The Only 5 Salad Dressings You Really Need

Toss the store-bought salad dressings for good, and make your own homemade version instead. With all of the additives, preservatives, sneaky sugar sources, and other unnatural ingredients found in salad dressings, you really are so much better off making your own. Not to mention, homemade dressings just taste better, too!

We've sorted through our recipe archive to find our favorite five salads that are each tossed in our favorite dressings. Keep these five dressings in your back pocket, and whip them out for weeknight or weekend salad success!

1. Balsamic, Beet, and Berry Salad The real treat here is the balsamic rosemary vinaigrette. With the sweet-tart taste and punch of fresh rosemary, this simple dressing would work beautifully over any sweeter spinach salad, such as a pear and walnut salad, or grilled chicken salad with Craisins and toasted almonds.

Vinaigrette (Makes 1 Serving)  3 tablespoons olive oil 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar 1 teaspoon honey 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 1/4 teaspoon pepper 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary

2. Grilled Shrimp Caesar Salad Caesar salad dressing is a staple in the pantry. It makes fresh salads pop, yet provides that comforting taste that many of us remember from growing up. While you might have grown up on the store-bought version, you'll never go back again after making your own. It's simple and fresh and provides a depth of flavor without the unwanted sodium and preservatives.

Caesar Dressing  (Makes 4 servings) 1/4 cup canola mayonnaise (such as Hellmann's) 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce 1 oil-packed anchovy fillet, drained and mashed to a paste 1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/4 cup) 1/2 small garlic clove, minced

3. Spring Salad with Buttermilk-Herb Dressing Everyone needs a good everyday dressing to liven up simple salads that feature crunchy greens such as romaine, butter, or Bibb lettuce leaves. Everything tastes better with fresh ingredients, so make sure to grab fresh dill and chives.

Buttermilk-Herb Dressing (Makes 2 servings)  1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill 3 tablespoons fat-free buttermilk 1 1/2 tablespoons canola mayonnaise 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives 1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt 1 small garlic clove, grated

4. Cobb Salad with Green Goddess Dressing Let's be honest, the real star of this salad is the dressing. The fresh herbs in the dressing add another dimension of flavor. 

Green Goddess Dressing (Makes 4 servings) 1 small garlic clove, peeled 1 cup basil leaves 1/2 cup fat-free Greek yogurt 1/3 cup parsley leaves 1/4 cup canola mayonnaise 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

5. Greek Tomato and Cucumber Salad with Farro So simple, yet so delicious, Greek dressing is a must, and it's really never the same when bought from a bottle. Keep this delightful dressing to serve on your Greek-inspired dishes for up to a week.

Greek Dressing (Makes 4 servings) 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh oregano 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Wildcard: Spring Pea Salad with Creamy Curry Dressing Liven up your salad from time to time with a punch of this Creamy Curry Dressing. It's an absolute must-try. Wonderful flavor comes from Madras curry powder—it's bold but not too heavy. Not only is this dressing incredibly delicious, but it's lighter becuase it's made with Greek yogurt.

Creamy Curry Dressing (Makes 12 servings)  1 tablespoon Madras curry powder 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice 1/4 cup canola mayonnaise 3 tablespoons plain 2% Greek yogurt 1 tablespoon fat-free milk 1/2 teaspoon sugar 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

See More: