Creamy Balsamic Vinaigrette & 7 Other Nourishing Salad Dressings


I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!

Creamy Balsamic Vinaigrette, plus seven more tasty, nourishing salad dressings

With the sweet and tangy balsamic, the rich extra virgin olive oil, the pungent garlic and mustard, and the subtle creaminess of coconut milk or cream, this dairy-free salad dressing is a healthy and delicious way to enjoy your greens.

I’m the queen of simple salad dressings because I like to keep my cooking uncomplicated. But if you have a little extra coconut milk, cream or unsweetened coconut yogurt, it’s no trouble at all to add a couple tablespoons to your salad dressing – making it a lovely creamy texture with some added health benefits from the coconut milk too. I’m not really sure why it took me so long to think of it!

As part of our 21 steps to a nourishing diet, I wanted to take the opportunity to share a new dressing and point out how simple and better for you homemade salad dressing is! It’s very hard to find store-bought salad dressing that uses nourishing ingredients, and when you do, they often are pretty expensive. Thankfully salad dressings are one of the easiest things you can make, and they are so delicious.

The other day I sat in front of a green salad with vibrant, nutrient rich baby greens, walnuts, avocado and other delicious additions, all tossed with this dressing. I smiled when I thought of all of the lackluster salads I’ve been served at restaurants. This was so much better. You know you are doing something right when you prefer your own food at home.

When making your own salad dressings,  you are trading out cheap oils for traditional ones, artificial flavors and MSG for the real flavors of herbs, spices, and garlic. You are trading highly processed foods, for gently processed, whole foods. It’s a good trade to make. Here is a list of some other lovely, nourishing salad dressings to choose from.

Other Healthy Salad Dressings: 

Sweet Onion Poppyseed Dressing: This salad dressing is amazing with green salads topped with chicken and fruit. It’s sweetened with honey, and so flavorful!

This PDF is a sample of my cookbook, Fresh: Nourishing Salads for all Seasons. It has my recipe for Leon Salad (a favorite from the book) and two salad dressings, including my Simple Balsamic Dressing (that the below is a creamy version of), and my Everyday Salad Dressing using raw apple cider vinegar.

Kombucha VinaigretteLearn how to make kombucha vinegar and then a simple salad dressing out of it.

Orange Balsamic Dressing: This dressing is perfect for this time of year. I pair it with roasted beets, oranges, greens, and nuts for a lovely light lunch.

Spicy Asian Inspired Dressing: I love the dressing that goes along with this Thai Salad. So good!

Strawberry Salad Dressing: I share a video of my TV segment sharing two salad recipes, with links to my yummy strawberry balsamic dressing.

By the way, my affiliate Vitacost is a great place to pick up organic balsamic vinegar and raw apple cider vinegar.

Creamy Balsamic Vinaigrette & 7 Other Nourishing Salad Dressings
Prep time:
Total time:

This is a simple dressing to throw together and serve with a variety of salads. It will keep 2-3 days in the refrigerator.
  • ⅓ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ⅔ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons dijon style mustard
  • ¾ teaspoon unrefined salt
  • 1-3 garlic cloves, peeled, and finely minced or put through a garlic press
  • 2 tablespoons coconut milk (full fat), cream, or unsweetened, homemade coconut yogurt
  1. Mix all of the ingredients together by either whisking in a small bowl, or putting in a 2 cup jar, placing the lid on, and shaking. Shake before each use.


Frugal & Delicious Italian Pasta Salad (plus 10 other pasta and pasta sauce recipes!)

Italian pasta salad

With the heat of summer upon us, our appetites tend toward lighter meals. Our family works together on our 27 acre vineyard  (you can follow our adventures at my blog, Cultured Palate) and with the temperatures reaching into the 100′sF, we are not hungry for a heavy meal. So, salad meals are on the menu!

But, salad meals consisting of primarily lettuce just do not fill up growing teenagers – at least not mine – for very long! I have had to find other cool, refreshing salad meals and they usually include beans and/or pasta. Add to that a homemade salad dressing with good-for-you oil and some homemade bread lathered in real butter and you have a healthy, filling meal!

Feeding a large family can be challenging, especially on a budget.  I normally take a recipe and triple or quadruple it. You probably know how it goes, when you begin to multiply a recipe, many times the spices are just not quite right. Often you can not just multiply the spices, it may be too spicy. Taste testing certainly has its place in my kitchen – a little bit of this and a little bit of that, taste it and repeat!

But, with pasta, it is so easy to just throw more noodles in the pot and adjust the other ingredients accordingly – tasting as I go, of course! Pasta is economical, healthy and filling – that is important with teenage boys! Which makes this recipe (plus the following recipes ideas) perfect for the 52 ways to save money on a healthy diet series.

Here are ten other frugal and nourishing pasta or pasta sauce recipes from The Nourishing Gourmet:

1. Homemade Buckwheat Soba Noodles

2. Soaked Handkerchief Noodles

3. Homemade Soaked Noodles 

4. Fresh Clam and Herb Sauce  

5. Quick and Easy Marinara Sauce 

6. Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce 

7. White Bean and Kale over Pasta with Smokey Bacon

8. Asian Noodle Salad 

9. Pasta with Creme Fraiche and Salmon 

10. Weekend Pasta Feast (with grilled vegetables.

(Kimi notes: The first edition of the Everyday Nourishing Food contains several simple, super nourishing and delicious pasta sauce recipes and for a limited time you can buy it as part of a bundle with my salad cook for a big savings using these coupon codes

In the following recipe, regular pasta or specialty pastas like gluten free, whole grain or even homemade all work well. Kimi did a comparison of 4 grain-free noodles and of the four types reviewed, the zucchini noodles would work for the following recipe if cut into smaller pieces. As you can see in the photo above, I used garden rotini pasta.

For a variation of the Italian Pasta Salad, try adding kidney beans or pinto beans as they taste great!


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Cold Thai Noodle and Vegetable Salad (gluten, grain, and dairy free)

Crispy vegetables and thin, crunchy kelp noodles, topped with a nutty lime dressing with an Asian flair. This salad works perfectly as a side dish for any meal, no matter the season. Make it a complete meal and serve it with chopped chicken or fish. This twist on a classic Thai noodle salad with peanut dressing gives you a real food, allergen-free dish that is sure to please.

One of my favorite dishes when dining out at Thai restaurants were their noodle salads with the creamy peanut dressing. Since going gluten, grain, and legume free, I have have longed for something to soothe that craving. This salad hits the spot, and dare I say, it’s much tastier than any takeout dish. As with all salads, you can customize the vegetables to fit whatever you have on hand, or what is in season. I make this salad year round and pair it with chicken, fish, and even beef. The kelp noodles are a wonderful pasta substitute for those avoiding grains and their neutral taste allows them to soak up whatever flavoring they are surrounded by. Kimi recently did a review of grain-free noodles and I was excited to see kelp noodles included in her post! I love them!

My original recipe for this salad called for thin strips of red bell pepper for the salad, and a dash of cayenne pepper in the dressing. Since going nightshade free, I have had to leave those two ingredients out, but if you can tolerate nightshades, feel free to add them back in. I’ll list them in the ingredient list as optional items. Lemon juice will work in a pinch, but there is something about the fresh lime juice that really makes this salad pop. If you love cilantro as much as I do, you may find that doubling or tripling the cilantro makes the salad even better. But, I’ll leave that up to you, since not everyone is the cilantro fanatic that I am!

Cold Thai Noodle and Vegetable Salad (gluten, grain, and dairy free)
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: Thai
Serves: 4

This crispy, crunchy Thai noodle salad makes the perfect side dish to any meal, no matter the season. Mix it up a bit and use whatever vegetables you have in season!
  • Salad
  • 1 package of kelp noodles (12 ounces)
  • 1 cup thinly sliced cucumbers
  • 1 cup thinly sliced red cabbage
  • 1 cup thinly sliced carrots
  • 1 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper (optional)
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced red onions
  • ¼ cup chopped scallions
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • Dressing
  • ¼ cup sunbutter
  • ⅛ cup coconut aminos
  • ⅛ cup lime juice
  • ¼ tsp. ground ginger (dried)
  • 2-3 tbsp. coconut milk
  • ⅛ tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
  1. In a small bowl, mix together all of the dressing ingredients until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
  2. Rinse your kelp noodles and let them drain in a colander to get rid of excess water.
  3. Prepare all of your veggies and place in a large bowl.
  4. Once the noodles have finished draining, place them in the bowl with the sliced veggies.
  5. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss until everything is coated with the dressing.
  6. Let the salad chill in the fridge for an hour or two before serving to give the flavors time to develop. This salad also holds up well, so you could make it in advance if needed.
  7. Serve as a side, or make it a complete meal and serve with a protein of your choice. Garnish with extra chopped cilantro and a fresh squeeze of lime juice if desired.

Hi! My name is Jessica and I am a real food nut, avid reader and researcher, blossoming yogi, and animal lover. I have had a life-long passion for food and being in the kitchen is where I am the happiest and most comfortable. I began helping my mother cook and bake around the age of three and I’ve been in the kitchen ever since. I ended up working in a restaurant in my hometown for almost a decade, working in every position there and finally becoming the lead chef. My main mission in life is to provide real food recipes that are simple, yet delicious, as well as show how eating healthy doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. I love to show people how making even small changes in their diet and food selections can make a huge difference in their lives. Along the way, I’ll share stories of my own real food and health journeys, as well as ideas for how to live a healthier, more natural life. I’d love it if you’d stop by and visit me at my blog, Delicious Obsessions.

Macadamia Nut “Parmesan Cheese” (Paleo and Vegan)


I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!


(This ebook bundle  with my soup workshop and mini muffin eBook is only on sale until tomorrow! Get it while you can!)

Ever wonder if there is a good, dairy-free substitute for fluffy, rich Parmesan cheese for salads? I have always wondered myself. Well, sometimes you come across a gem of an idea. I recently did myself in a Bon Appétit magazine that answered the above question. They mentioned a restaurant that used a micrograter to make a fluffy cheese-like topping for one of their salads with nuts. I knew I had to try it! With roasted and salted macadamia nuts, and my micrograter in hand, I grated some right over a green salad, that had been tossed with low-mercury tuna, avocado, and steamed beets.


It was delicious! Using the micrograter really does give you a cheese-like texture, and the richness of the nuts mimics what you get with cheese too. Whether you eat cheese or not, this is a delicious idea.

(I am sure that you can use any micrograter. I own this Microplane Zester/Grater and love it, by the way.)

I am really curious as to what other nuts would be like. Making a green salad with apple slices and shredded chicken and then using hazelnuts to grate over the whole thing, is another idea I had. Or what about other ways to use this type of “cheese”?

I have to say that the macadamia nuts are pretty delicious this way! I got mine at Trader Jo’s, where they are a good price. However, you really only need one large nut per smallish salad, so it’s not an expensive option when you consider how little you need per serving.


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