Low Calorie Salad Dressing (6 Flavors!)


Take your salads up a notch with a low calorie salad dressing that tastes incredible! Ready in seconds, it’s so much healthier than store bought. 

low calorie salad dressing.

Looking for the healthiest salad dressing in the world? I have you covered.

Salad dressings truly transform even the most bland of salads. Whether it’s something simple, like a spinach salad or something more extravagant, like a pasta salad, it’s a necessary ingredient. 

When I first started counting calories, low calorie dressings were SO important. They added tons of flavor to many of my meals, not just salads, and for very few calories. 

Now that I’m in my maintenance phase, I still regularly enjoy using this dressing. It’s slightly tangy and sweet, and hits all the senses. It’s so easy to customize and work well as a marinade too, especially for chicken or salmon

Ingredients to make the healthiest salad dressing

  • Red wine vinegar– The best vinegar to use, both in flavor and how mild flavored it is. You can use apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar. 
  • Sugar substitute (granulated)– Keep the calories down but add some sweetness. I like using a brown sugar substitute or a powdered sugar substitute
  • Water– Lukewarm water to whisk into the vinegar easily. 
  • Garlic– Freshly minced. 
  • Salt and pepper– To taste. 
  • Italian seasonings– Optional, but adds a lovely subtle flavor. 

How to make a low calorie salad dressing

Making this dressing is easy and just involves whisking everything together. Here are key tips for success:

  • You can either make it a small batch or a big batch, depending on your needs.
  • This is an oil free dressing, which keeps the calories low. If you’d like to add a touch of oil, use the 3:1 formula, of 3 parts dressing to one part oil. 
  • Taste the dressing before adding it to your salad or using it as a marinade. If it needs more sweetness, add more sugar/sweetener. If it is too thick, thin it out with water. 
healthiest salad dressing.

What salad dressing is lowest in calories? 

Any dressing that uses minimal oil and has little added sugar would naturally be low in calories. Opt for non-creamy ones, like Italian, French, Greek, or lemon based dressings. 

Can I use this dressing as a marinade?

Low calorie dressing works well as a marinade for higher fat proteins like pork chops, chicken thighs, or chicken drumsticks.

Flavor variations

You can still keep the calories low while changing up the flavor with a few simple swaps. Here are some of our favorites: 

  • For a French twist, use white vinegar and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. 
  • Add some lemon and half the vinegar used, for a lovely lemon vinaigrette. 
  • For some creaminess, swap out half the vinegar for Greek yogurt or sour cream. 
  • Add some spice by whisking in red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, or chili flakes. 

Storage tips

What is the best way to store this low calorie dressing? Here are the best practices for dressing storage:

  • Up to 1 week: Store leftovers in the refrigerator, covered. Be sure to whisk the dressing well before serving, in case there has been separation. 
  • Up to 2 months: Place the dressing in an airtight container and store it in the freezer. Thaw it out completely.
low calorie dressing.

Salads to add this dressing to

Frequently Asked Questions

Is balsamic or Italian dressing healthier?

Balsamic dressing is a healthier option than Italian dressing because of its lower sugar and fat content.

Is homemade salad dressing healthier than store bought?

Homemade dressings will always be healthier than anything from the supermarket, as you can control the fat, sugar, and oil levels.

Can I use any vinegar?

Red wine vinegar has the best flavor, but you can use balsamic, white, or apple cider instead.

healthy salad dressing.
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar substitute
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup water lukewarm
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasonings
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • In a small bowl, add the ingredients and whisk together until smooth.

  • Pour over your favorite salad or use as a marinade.

One serving is 1 tablespoon.
TO STORE: Store leftovers in the refrigerator, covered. Be sure to whisk the dressing well before serving, in case there has been separation. 
TO FREEZE: Place the dressing in an airtight container and store it in the freezer. Thaw it out completely.

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 2kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 5mg | Fiber: 1g | Vitamin A: 3IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 4mg | Iron: 1mg


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Jacqueline M. Faulkner

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