Healthy Homemade French Dressing (American Style)

Paleo French Dressing

Weekends have been so perfect lately I can’t really complain about the last two days of rain. The only downside is this is the exact week the lilacs are blooming in our backyard. Every year I look forward to the days when I can sit on the back patio and drink in the intoxicating fragrance of the lilacs. But I’ve either been at work or it has been raining. Fortunately, before the rain started, there was time on Friday night to enjoy the flowers while decompressing from the busy week. And by Sunday afternoon the rain had stopped which allowed me to make up for lost time by capturing a few shots of these beauties in full bloom.

These are just two of our mature Palabin lilac bushes.

Backyard lilacs

Palabins have cute little heart-shaped leaves.

Lilacs and heart leaf

We planted them several years ago and every year they are more beautiful than the year before. I found a poem about lilacs planted by a mother and it makes me wonder if my boys will ever come back to this house years from now and think about how we planted and enjoyed the lilacs.

Here’s an excerpt. (You can find the rest at the link.)

The Lilacs Mother Planted

by Ed Blair

Oh, sweet and fragrant lilac, the one she loved so
Thy fragrance brings to memory sad thoughts I
cannot tell;
Sweet lullabies of childhood sung at the evening
By mother clasping closely the one she loved the
A voice that gently whispered sweet words of
love to me,
A face so kind and gentle, a heart with love so free;
Still yet my heart throbs feel them, still yet I see
them there,
When lilacs that she planted with fragrance fill
the air.

Wet Lilacs

The rain drops are actually rather flattering don’t you think?

lilacs after rain

While taking pictures of the rain soaked lilacs I noticed the chives also blooming on the back patio.

wet chives

Who knew chives could be so beautiful!?

wet chives 2

Paleo French Dressing

Paleo French Dressing

This paleo friendly salad dressing recipe was inspired by my youngest son Nathaniel. At a mere eight years old, Nathaniel is a serious salad eater. We usually dress our salads with oil and vinegar. But he has eaten the American version of French dressing at a few salad bars and liked it. The downside is these dressings undoubtedly contain things like high fructose corn syrup and soybean oil, among other questionable ingredients. But something happened recently that motivated me to come up with a healthier version of French dressing. We went to a restaurant that was out of French dressing and Nathaniel actually burst into tears. It was at that point I realized I better help the child out!

This boy NEEDS his salad and he wants his salad to have “French dressing” on it. How could I resist?

Nathaniel with salad-3

The healthy salad dressing recipe does contain honey so it’s not the lowest carb dressing out there but it’s great for a change of pace. Most of the ingredients are pretty basic while there are a couple of slightly more unusual additions that are optional. I just happen to know the American version of French dressing usually contains some form of ketchup and Worcestershire sauce. Worcestershire sauce contains things like molasses and cloves and I think these additions give the dressing an added depth of flavor. But if you don’t have those on hand you can still make the dressing and it will be totally fine.

French Dressing Ingredients

  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons coconut aminos (or gluten-free soy sauce)
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon molasses (optional)
  • pinch of cloves (optional)


Combine all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until very smooth. 

Makes about 2 1/2 cups French dressing. Keep refrigerated.

This is one serious salad eater. He recommends you try this healthier version of French dressing!

French Dressing-4

Thanks for stopping by! (Check here for more lilacs from last year)

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10 thoughts on “Healthy Homemade French Dressing (American Style)

    • Thank you, Kristen. You are probably right about the sweetness. The good thing about making it at home is you can control how sweet it is.

  1. LOVED French dressing as a kid, but you’re right – the ingredients are not healthy. Interesting that the restaurant didn’t have it; maybe it’s fading in popularity?

    Anyway, I’m definitely going to give this a try. I’m usually an oil-and-vinegar man myself, but as far as salads go, I feel the need to branch out.


    (And GREAT pics, BTW!)

  2. Thanks SO much for posting this! My husband was getting irritated with me because I refuse to buy expensive and unhealthy bottled dressing from the store anymore (even Organicville and Annie’s Natural brands have soybean and/or canola oil in them YUCK) and he’s missing his French dressing. Looking for a paleo French dressing recipe was on my To Do list but I kept pushing it down the list LOL! Making this right now so he can have it tomorrow for lunch on his salad. Keep up the great blog and recipes. Love your Chocolate Cake recipe too…just like a Devil Dog without the guilt…

  3. I came for the french dressing but left with memories of lilacs … for years, I loved lilacs and then found out that is what my dad brought to my mom the day I was born (no money to be had, so he picked a big stem full of flowers from a yard) … how I miss them here in Florida :-(

  4. Hi there, I have just stumbled on the paleo diet while looking around online for a simple way to loose weight… seems to make sense… went onto your site to check out dressings and sauces etc allowed on the diet … so can we have things like honey, mustard and vinegar on the diet??? I am going to try your french dressing soundz delicious .. some of the foods are hard to get where I live which is in Aitutaki in the Cook Islands… thanks

  5. Thank you!!! I’m with Nathaniel (which, BTW, is my eldest son’s name)…French is my favorite!!! I’ve been known to throw a pity party when a restaurant has been out myself! Can’t wait to give this a try…also looking for a red french (ie Catalina) substitute if you have any ideas (trying to replicate one of my mom’s recipes that requires it).

    • Hi Bonnie,
      Nathaniel is a great name, isn’t it! I thought perhaps “french” dressing and Catalina were the same or very similar. I guess Catalina might have more tomato? I’m not sure. This version won’t be exactly like the store bought variety but I think it gets pretty close. I hope you like it.

      • Tried the recipe, as written, last week and it is AMAZING!!!! It’s hard to distinguish what is different from “french” and “catalina french” dressing but with comparing a couple “homemade” versions of each, the biggest difference seems to be that catalina uses red wine vinegar. In the store-bought version, the most obvious difference is color – “french” is usually an orange color, whereas catalina is a deep red. I’m making it again today to attempt my mom’s recipe and I’m going to use red wine vinegar to see how that changes things up. Catalina is also really smooth and has a very slight “gel” consistency so I’m going to try adding just a little gelatin. I’ll let you know how it goes but I’m super glad that I have a wonderful recipe to return to if my efforts fail :D

        • While it was still a great dressing, simply changing the vinegar didn’t create the “catalina” I was hoping for. No worries though, I still gobbled the salad right up – with my new favorite dressing!

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