Recipes: Summer Salad Dressings

by BUST Magazine

By Isa Chandra Moskowitz

Styled and Photographed by Vanessa Rees

Summer is the season for crispy salads, and while the bottled dressings at the supermarket are inviting, they never taste all that fresh. Luckily, whipping up your own dressing is a cinch with these recipes. Plus, they only require a handful of ingredients, many of which you probably already have in your kitchen cabinets. So give from-scratch dressings a shot; they’re way more satisfying and economical, meaning that this summer, you can spend your cash on organic veggies and Mai Tais.

These dressings keep for about two weeks in a refrigerated, tightly sealed container, except for the avocado one. (Try to use that up within a few days.) An infomercial fave, the Magic Bullet mini-blender, is actually perfect for preparing these recipes, because you can store the dressings right in its little blender jars, but any small food processor will do.

Creamy Avocado Lime Dressing

Makes 2 cups

Avocado is a great salad ingredient, but it also makes for a deliciously creamy dressing. Serve this with crunchy romaine, black beans, tomato, and leftover brown rice for a meat-free taco salad (crumble tortilla chips on the top for crunch). I also love it on cooked and cooled red potatoes.


  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • 3/4 tsp. salt


Pulse the garlic in a blender until it’s chopped, then add the avocado, water, lemon juice, oil, and salt, and blend until the mixture’s completely smooth. Add the cilantro and pulse just until the dressing turns a brilliant green with flecks of herb throughout. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Peanut Curry Dressing

Makes 2 cups

This Southeast Asia-inspired peanut dressing has some big, bold flavors. It pairs well with a sturdy, crisp lettuce like romaine hearts. Or cut carrots and red bell peppers into matchsticks, and mix with cooled rice noodles and sauteed tofu. Add this dressing for an excellent entree salad.


  • 2 tsp. minced fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tsp. curry powder
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp. tamari
  • 1 tsp. Sriracha
  • 2 Tbsp. agave nectar


Blend all ingredients until smooth, and thin with up to an additional 1/2 cup water.

Sesame Orange Vinaigrette

Makes about a cup

This dressing is fruity, toasty, spicy, and tangy. Pour this over raw spinach with toasted sliced almonds, or on roasted and cooled root veggies.


  • 3/4 cup fresh orange juice (from 2 to 3 navel oranges)
  • 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. Sriracha
  • 1 tsp. microplaned or finely minced ginger

Vigorously mix together all ingredients, and serve.




These recipes appear in the June/July 2012 issue of BUST Magazine with cover girl Anna Paquin. Subscribe now.



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