Healthier DIY salad dressings & marinades

by Clare Fairs, June 20, 2018

Salads are a wholesome, low-calorie meal – until your smother a supermarket salad dressing on them! If you’d like to start whisking or shaking up healthier salad dressings or marinades, we’ll show you how with our simple recipes and tips! 

If you’re trying to lose a few pounds before a holiday, the chances are salads have become your summer staple. But if you’re drizzling your leaves in a shop-bought dressing, it’s time to take a closer look at the label. Even ‘light’ or ‘healthy living’ dressings are usually made with refined oils that are sweetened with sugar, thickened with xanthan gum (an additive created from the same bacteria that causes black rot in cabbages and cauliflower) and then given a longer shelf life with potassium sorbate. 

Yet it’s actually incredibly quick and easy to make your own salad dressings and marinades with natural, wholesome ingredients. Once you’ve invested in a few storage bottles (we like kilner!), it’s much cheaper too – and your homemade recipes will be much tastier than anything from the supermarket. 

The basics of salad dressings

The key to a satisfying salad dressing is getting the right balance of sweet and sour flavours. For your base vinaigrette, we recommend a ratio of 3:1 – that’s three parts cold pressed rapeseed oil to one part vinegar. Olive oil can be overpowering in salad dressings, which is why subtler rapeseed oil has become the oil of choice for many British chefs. Suitable vinegars include balsamic, white wine and cider but opt for a high-quality brand, such as Aspall, for the best result. 

You can then add your choice of other ingredients, depending on your recipe and personal taste. Stock up on honey, mustard, fresh herbs, crushed garlic, soy sauce, ginger and chilli and you’ll always have a range of options. 

Dressings that include fresh herbs or dairy are best eaten within a week but vinaigrettes without these can be stored in the fridge for two weeks in a Kilner bottle, which has a tight seal to keep it fresh. Make plenty and you’ll be able to enjoy healthily dressed wholesome and nutritious salads any day of the week.

Simple salad dressing recipes 

You’ll find a selection of salad dressing recipes on our website, including our:


The basics of marinades

Marinades are a great way to add flavour to lean meat for a tasty, healthy meal – if you avoid shop-bought ones! Off-the-shelf marinades are often packed with sugars, including glucose-fructose syrup, molasses and caramelised sugar syrup, as well as other additives and preservatives. But don’t panic! Making your own takes just minutes. 

We’re big fans of honey-based marinades here at Hillfarm. Not only is honey an excellent binder, it also adds delicious sweetness. Combined with our cold pressed rapeseed oil, which has a high smoke point and less saturated fat than other oils, it provides the basis for a marinade that will deliver tender, juicy meat that is full of flavour. 

Easy marinade recipes

Our failsafe marinade recipes include our:

  • BBQ marinade (a family favourite made with soy sauce, orange juice, Hillfarm honey, garlic, English or Dijon mustard and Hillfarm oil)
  • Sweet and sticky marinade for duck (which combines Aspall apple balsamic vinegar, Hillfarm runny honey, Worcestershire sauce, dark soy sauce, garlic, lemon and Hillfarm oil)
  • Stir-fry beef marinade (Hillfarm oil, soy sauce, white wine, honey, ginger, garlic, chilli and brown sugar)
  • Middle Eastern marinade for chicken shawarma (Hillfarm oil, lemon juice, curry powder, salt, ground cumin and garlic). 


Got a signature salad dressing recipe or unbeatable marinade? Share your tips and tricks with us via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!

Win a DIY dressings and marinades kit!

For your chance to win a goodie box containing everything you need to make your own dressings and marinades at home – including a selection of Kilner jars and bottles, a range of Aspall vinegars, and Hillfarm oil and honey – enter our competition here!





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