Humankind has been dreaming up dressings for nearly as long as we've been eating salads. In fact, salads most likely got their very name from the salty concoctions that we use to dress them!

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Nowadays, however, salad, is far from the only food we dress, and it isn't necessarily a good thing that these condiments have become so ubiquitous. For while there's nothing inherently wrong with dressing, there is a lot wrong with the highly processed dressings we're likely to find on supermarket shelves.

You may think you're safe if you choose a light-looking vinaigrette over a seemingly worse creamy concoction, but both dressings tend to have high-fat oily bases, making them very calorie dense.

Plus, since soybean oil, the most common dressing base used in the the US, is higher in inflammatory omega-six fatty acids than in anti-inflammatory omega-threes, it may be particularly dangerous for your health and metabolism.

Other alarming ingredients commonly found in dressings of all types include added sugar, mysterious natural flavors, monosodium glutamate, high fructose corn syrup, and excessive sodium. Even gluten is ocasionally used as an additive!

A two tablespoon serving of one of these creepy concoctions could easily add at least 200 calories to your meal, and the amount of dressing you would find on your usual restaurant salad could leave you even worse off. Who knew that it was so easy to turn a healthy meal into a diet disaster?

For that matter, traditional "diet" dressings aren't a safe bet either. Fat-free dressings are often loaded with even more sugar to "make up" for the lost fat, while sugar-free varieties may be sweetened instead with problematic artificial sweeteners.

However, none of this means your salads have to go around undressed; you just need to be a little smarter about jazzing them up, starting with these three 123diet-friendly recipes for French, Italian and ranch dressings!


First, though, have you ever wondered whether French dressing was even French? The unfortunate answer is: not really, or at least not anymore. The name "french vinaigrette" once referred to more or less any vinaigrette, a term that itself refers to any salad dressing made primarily of oil, vinegar, and herbs.

However, once us Americans got their hands on this "French dressing", it slowly began to morph into the troubling concoction it is today. Common ingredients in modern French dressing include ketchup, tomatoes, salt, paprika, and brown sugar.

Instead of using sugary ingredients to give us its kicks, our French dressing uses fat-burning spices like cayenne and mustard powders, plus superfood add-ins like horseradish and lemon juice!

Next, though Italian dressing is also thought to have originated in America, it was at least concocted by Italian immigrants; reportedly, the Hanna family of Massachusetts, who eventually founded mainstream brand Ken's dressing, and the Sollomi family of Kansas, whose dressing was eventually acquired by Wishbone.

Italian dressing thus has the benefit of including traditional Italian spices and flavorings, like garlic, oregano, basil, and rosemary. We kept many of these good old herbs and spices in our version, but swapped the oil for broth and the plain old vinegar with healthier apple cider to create a lower calorie version.

Finally, we have ranch, which could easily have been called "American dressing." It gets its name from the California Hidden Valley Ranch, where it was first perfected by former plumber Steve Henson.


The Hensons, however, eventually sold the name and formula of their dressing to Clorox. Then, their relatively wholesome mix of buttermilk, mayo, and herbs gradually became the oily and artificial diet-wrecker that appears on store shelves today.

To make a ranch dressing suitable for the 123Diet, we suggest mixing some of the herbs found in traditional ranch with a spoonful of yogurt or sour cream (your dairy allowance) and subbing a few teaspoons stevia for the sugar. You're also free to use the dry mix as a seasoning for whatever you'd like!

Happy dressing!

French Dressing

french dressing

Estimated nutritional value of 34 calories, .9g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 3.1g carbohydrate, .7g fiber, 1.9g protein, and 1.2g sugar.

Prep Time
5 minutes
Cook time
5 minutes
Makes 2 servings


  • ¼ cup beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic crushed and minced
  • ¼ teaspoon horseradish or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon mustard powder
  • Cayenne pepper to taste
  • Stevia to taste

Dissolve spices in broth, vinegar and lemon juice. Mix well and heat slightly in small saucepan. Chill and serve over mixed greens or vegetables.

Recipe provided by

Italian Vinaigrette

italian vinaigrette

No need for a storebought Italian vinaigrette when you've got this tasty substitute! Estimated nutritional value of 50 calories, 1g fat, 0 mg, 5.2g carbohydrate, .8g fiber,, 3.2g protein, and 2.7g sugar.

Prep Time
5 minutes
Cook time
5 minutes
Makes 2 or more servings


  • ½ cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon organic Italian herb spice blend
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced onion
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder

Combine ingredients in small saucepan. Simmer on low heat for 5 minutes to combine flavors. Remove from heat, chill, and serve as a dressing or use as a marinade.

Phase 3 Modifications
Phase 3 modifications: Add olive oil or omit the lemon juice and stir in sour cream or mayonnaise to make creamy Italian dressing.

Recipe provided by

Ranch Dressing

ranch dressing

This healthy version of the classic dressing is as tasty as ever! Estimated nutritional value of 124 calories, 1.2g fat, 1 mg cholesterol, 26.7 carbohydrate, 7g fiber, 5.5g protein, and 9.2g sugar.

Prep Time
10 minutes
Cook time
1 serving


  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 3 teaspoons black pepper
  • 5 teaspoons stevia
  • 2 or 3 teaspoons paprika
  • 4 teaspoons parsley flakes
  • 1 cup minced dried onion
  • 1 tablespoon yogurt or sour cream

Combine dry ingredients throughly, then mix about a teaspoon of dry mix with sour cream or yogurt. Use the remainder of powder for additional servings or whatever else you would like!

Recipe provided by

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