April 14


Monika’s Molecular Meals: 60-Second No-Fail Low-Carb Dressing Formula

By Monika Knapp

April 14, 2021

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Delicious & Healthy Low-Carb Dressing

Monika's Molecular Meals: 60-Second No-Fail Low-Carb Dressing Formula

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Homemade salad dressing is one of the lowest-effort, highest-payoff concepts when it comes to cooking at home.

And yet…

I can’t tell you HOW many times I’ve gone over to a friend’s house… only to open the fridge, and see a bottle of Newman’s Own in the refrigerator door.

Now, I don’t usually go over to my friends’ houses just to check out their salad dressing selection…

But I have a lot of friends who cook a lot, so it just surprises me every time I see it.

(Especially when they serve a delicious, thoughtfully put-together salad with a bottle of Hidden Valley!)

Salad dressing takes about 60 seconds to make and lasts for weeks as long as you aren’t feeding an army.

It’s stupid simple.

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Plus, the bottled stuff is almost always HORRIBLE for you.

Almost always, there’s at least one ingredient in there that sounds completely foreign, or like it’s straight out of some experimental science film:

Polysorbate 60…

Potassium sorbate…


Not to mention… the sugar. Oh, the sugar. Every low-carb dieter’s worst enemy (other than bread, of course!).

So the simple act of making your own salad dressing can relieve that sugar problem… plus, you won’t be consuming all of those awful preservatives, “natural” and artificial flavorings, & other additives.

But instead of giving you just one recipe for a low-carb dressing that goes well on just about anything I’ve decided to arm you with a simple formula that will make DIY’ing your dressing even easier.

It’s super easy, super fast, and super customizable.

Whether you’re a ranch lover, balsamic vinaigrette fanatic, or you’re into the old school oil & vinegar…

Here’s how to make a low-carb dressing specifically catered to YOUR tastes and low-carb dieting needs:

Monika's Molecular Meals: 60-Second No-Fail Low-Carb Dressing Formula

FTH’s No-Fail Low-Carb Dressing Formula

Equipment Needed: Small bowl, glass measuring cup, or mason jar; whisk

Recipe Time: 5 minutes (4 minutes of ingredient prep, 1 minute of whisking)

Makes: About 3/4 cup of dressing

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Formula (See Recipe Notes):

  • 1/4 cup acid of choice
  • 1/2 cup oil of choice
  • 2 tsp emulsifier of choice
  • 1 tsp salt of choice
  • 1/2 tsp pepper of choice
  • Optional add-ins, such as miso paste, smoked paprika, garlic, chopped fresh herbs, etc.


1) Measure your dressing ingredients and whisk.

Combine everything you want in your dressing into a small bowl, glass measuring cup, or mason jar. 

If you’re making it in a small bowl or glass measuring cup, whisk the dressing until it appears homogeneous. If you’re making it in a mason jar, close the mason jar with a lid and shake the dressing until homogeneous.

Taste your dressing! It should taste quite salty (remember, you’re putting this on bland, seasoning-less lettuce) and acidic, but still balanced.

(Pro Tip: If you think it might need more salt but aren’t sure, take a teaspoon of dressing, sprinkle some salt on the teaspoon, and taste it again. If it tastes better, then the dressing needs more salt.)

Once you’re happy with the flavor, your dressing can be used right away or refrigerated and stored for later. (Make sure to shake it before using.)

Salad dressing without dairy will keep for up to two months in the fridge dressing with dairy will keep for up to a week. To be on the safe side, you can taste the dressing for freshness before using.

Recipe Notes

  • Let’s talk logistics. A good dressing needs the right balance of acid (for zing), oil (for richness and to carry flavor), an emulsifier (for consistency), and seasoning (for flavor). So below I’ll lay out several examples of the types of each you can use.
  • Acid: Common choices include lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, sherry vinegar, and a variety of other citrus juices and specialty vinegars. You can also combine vinegar and citrus for more interesting combinations, such as sherry vinegar and fresh orange juice, red wine vinegar and pomegranate, white wine vinegar and grapefruit juice, etc. But if you use fruit, make sure it’s fresh so you avoid added sugars in store-bought juices!
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  • Oil: Best-quality extra virgin olive oil is a great choice for low-carb dressings because it packs a ton of flavor and carries other flavors well, too. However, you can also experiment with infused olive oils, walnut oil, avocado oil, etc. Avoid more neutral oils though, as they make for less flavorful dressings (and are often worse for you).
  • Emulsifier: Dijon mustard is my personal go-to, but you can opt for an egg yolk or  honey. (Be careful with honey if you’re going low-carb.) There are many different kinds of mustard, so try experimenting with a couple and find your favorite!
  • Salt: While kosher salt is perfectly acceptable, if you have some fancy salt, salad dressing is a great place to use it. Some examples: Truffle salt, smoked sea salt, lava salt, black salt, lemon salt, etc.
  • Pepper: Black pepper is “fine.” But there are SO many more peppers in the world out there! Why not try experimenting with some smoked paprika, or even white pepper? If you truly love black pepper, try using a combo of 1/4 tsp ground black pepper with 1/4 tsp cayenne.
  • Add-Ins: This is where you can make your dressing truly special. Miso paste is perfect for salad dressings because its adds saltiness, sweetness, and richness and it helps thicken the dressing! You can also add freshly grated garlic for a kick, chopped herbs to add brightness, lemon zest, or even something like yogurt or buttermilk if you want to go the ranch route.
Monika's Molecular Meals: 60-Second No-Fail Low-Carb Dressing Formula

3 Low-Carb Dressing Recipes You Can Make Using Only Kitchen Staples & This Formula…

Like I mentioned, this dressing “formula” can be totally customized to your favorite flavors and ingredients.

So whether you like a nice vinaigrette (of any variety)… or something creamier, like ranch or Caesar… you can make this formula work for you.

And to get you started off, here are 3 delicious dressing recipes I LOVE using in my own kitchen.

Take the ingredients in the recipes below, whisk them up, and you’ll have a variety of salad dressings to make your weekday lunch salads that much more exciting (without breaking the bank).

Plus, they’re super versatile, and you can easily modify them if you want to play with the flavors.

1) Basic Low-Carb Lemon Vinaigrette


  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice from about two lemons
  • 1/2 cup best-quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika, ground black pepper, or a combination of the two
  • If you have it: 1 tsp miso paste (you can decrease the salt to account for the extra salt in miso if desired)
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2) Mustardy Garlic & Herb Vinaigrette


  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup best-quality extra virgin olive oil, sauteed in a pan with 3-4 cloves of smashed garlic and 1 tsp of dried oregano for 1-2 minutes (do not burn the garlic) strain before using and reserve the solids
  • 3-4 cloves smashed garlic from above, chopped finely (you can include the herbs if you want)
  • 1.5 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

3) Low-Carb Caesar Dressing


  • 6 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 oil-packed anchovy fillets, finely chopped
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 Tbsp fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt (you may want to adjust depending on how salty your anchovies are)
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely grated or minced
  • 1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, finely grated

My #1 Salad Topping I CANNOT Live Without (Boosts Fat Burn & Tastes Incredible)

OK, you might not believe me when I tell you what my favorite fat-burning salad topping is, but hear me out…

It’s cheese.

I absolutely LOVE adding cheese to salads, because not only does it add texture, flavor, and (much needed) fat…

But it’s actually pretty freaking healthy, when you know which cheeses to use.

(Cheese has sadly been unfairly demonized in much of the health world! But in reality, not all cheeses are bad for you or your waistline.)

And I don’t mean staring at nutritional labels for 5 minutes trying to “do the math on carbs”… or counting calories…

I mean certain cheeses are associated with some serious health benefits.

Like this cheese has been found to boost metabolism, for example…

THIS cheese can lower your levels of “bad” cholesterol…

And did you know certain kinds of cheddar can even boost fat burn too?

Here are my 3 favorite secretly “healthy” cheeses–and how to add them to your salads for MAX fat burn:

Click Here For 3 Delicious, Fat-Burning Cheeses That Are Secretly Healthy

[Note: This post was updated by Fit Trim Happy on January 12, 2020.]

Monika Knapp

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