A quick and easy way anti-inflammatory salad + dressing [step by step]

A quick and easy way anti-inflammatory salad + dressing [step by step]

When was the last time you ate a salad? I am talking about a healthy, nutrition-packed salad that wasn't drowned in store-bought dressing. If your answer is never that okay, because we have a beginner-friendly recipe that we are sure you will love. 

We chose to focus on salads this week because one of our main goals here at Brown Women Wellness is to help you make quick, easy, anti-inflammatory meals. And trust me when I say this recipe is super quick and easy. 

First, we will discuss how to make salads, a meal that provides all the nutrients you need, and then we will dive right into the recipe for a beginner-friendly salad + homemade dressing. 

Tips on Adding Nutrients to Your Salad 

Salads tend to get a bad name because when people think of salads, they think of green lettuce, tomatoes, a few carrots, and salad dressings. And even though stores are selling salads in a bag to make things easier for us, we must be careful. That is because it is easy to make a salad inflammatory by adding things that can make it taste good but void of the nutrients needed.

You want to put as many vitamins, minerals, nutrients, and enzymes into your body as possible. There’s no better way than juicing and eating fresh raw organic fruits and vegetables.

There are some guidelines to follow when it comes to making an anti-inflammatory salad:

  • Use absolutely no meat, cheese, or unhealthy store-bought salad dressings.
  • It is important that you use organic produce, which is free of toxic chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
  • Wash everything before you eat it.

Another hack when making your salad is buying bigger bowls, one that holds at least 6 cups. That’s six servings of vegetables, 10+ servings per day of fruits and vegetables are ideal for anti-inflammatory and healing.

Beginner-friendly salad recipe 

Okay, now for the fun part - a beginner-friendly recipe. We are about to show you how to build the biggest, baddest Inflammation fighting salad ever!!!

Serves 1 to 2

  • 1 handful of leafy greens: kale, Swiss chard, watercress, arugula, spinach (Do not exceed 10 cups per day)
  • 1 handful of broccoli (The best source of sulforaphane which promotes liver detoxification, and Indole-3-carbinol, an anticarcinogenic compound)
  • -1/4 cup Broccoli Sprouts (page 20) (Concentrated sulforaphane & I3C. Do not exceed four cups of sprouts per day)
  • -1 handful of cauliflower
  • -1 to 3 purple cabbage leaves, chopped (cheapest source of antioxidants per ounce in the world!)
  • -1 red, yellow, or green pepper, sliced
  • -1 to 2 slices of red, yellow, or green onion
  • -1/2 leek, sliced, washed, and rinsed in a colander
  • -mushrooms (Bella, cremini, or shiitake)
  • -1/2 avocado, sliced
  • -1 to 3 tbsp sunflower seeds (sprouted is better)
  • -1 to 3 tbsp hemp seeds
  • -1/2 cup legumes, sprouted (garbanzo beans, lentils, mung beans) or cooked (black, garbanzo, kidney beans, …)
  • 1 large apple (yes, apple for sweetness)
  • Now from here, you can get imaginative, I like to add -Sauerkraut like Bubbies Old Fashioned Sauerkraut because it is made with only three ingredients: cabbage, water, and salt.

    It is fermented and cured with all natural enzymes intact, and there is no vinegar added. (Bubbies Kosher dill pickles are super tasty too.) Look for it in the refrigerated section of your local grocer or health food store. Replaces probiotics

    Once done, I like to add spices and herbs for more flavor, one of my favorites is Trader Joe everything but the bagel sesame seed seasoning and turmeric, or I keep my spice sprinkles ready.

    By mixing dried 1 tablespoon of oregano, garlic powder, turmeric, black pepper, Italian seasoning or Bragg Organic sprinkle, 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, and 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast, each one of these spices not only add flavor but also have anti-inflammation and anti-cancer properties, keep in a small mason jar or resealable container and shake until well mixed. You can keep this in your spice cabinet.


    The Harmful Side to Store Bought Dressing 

    Let's talk about salad dressing! Store-bought salad dressings you have to be very careful with. While you now have the perfect anti-inflammatory salad, you don’t want to mess it up with the wrong salad dressing.

     Pick up any salad dressing bottle, and you’ll likely see canola oil, soybean oil, and/or vegetable oil as the main ingredients. These oils are heavily processed, rich in inflammation-promoting Omega-6 fatty acids, and oftentimes contain trans fats that aren’t disclosed on the label due to how processed they are.

    “All-natural” salad dressing found in the refrigerated section isn’t much different. You’ll see these oils as the base of nearly all of those brands. Why? They were cheap!

    Also, don’t be fooled by labels that claim “Made with Extra Virgin Olive Oil.” Sure, it sounds good and leads you to believe that it’s an EVOO-based dressing. Instead, it only means that there is at least a drop of extra virgin olive oil in the bottle, and oftentimes that’s all it has. Flip the label over, and you’ll see the same vegetable oils listed first and extra virgin olive oil way down on the list of ingredients.

    In addition to cheap, potentially harmful oils, store-bought salad dressing is also loaded with sugar. Even worse, it often comes in the form of high fructose corn syrup (the worst form of sugar available).

     Finally, we have a long list of artificial additives and preservatives that often plague these products. If you’re looking to avoid artificial chemicals in your food, you won’t have much luck with store-bought salad dressing.

    Instead of purchasing these bottled dressings, make your own by mixing some Italian seasoning or any combination of your favorite seasonings + REAL extra virgin olive oil + vinegar (or lemon juice). Easy and tasty!


    Everyday Lemon Vinaigrette Recipe 

    The recipe is easily one of my favorite oil-free vinaigrettes! You only need 7 basic ingredients to make this Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette recipe! It's bright and zesty, just like you'd expect from a vinaigrette, but it's also dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free, grain-free, and obviously vegan - unexpected!!

  • dijon mustard - rich, creamy depth of flavor
  • apple cider vinegar - for a sour bite
  • lemon juice - fresh is best for zip and brightness
  • garlic - freshly minced adds pungency and flavor
  • salt - sea salt or Kosher to elevate and enhance flavors
  • maple syrup - smooths out sharpness
  • cracked black pepper - for spicy peppery flavor
  • fresh or dried oregano or thyme - any combination of herbs to add flavor
  • hot pepper flakes - a hint of heat
  • ¼ avocado - optional for richness and creaminess

  • This creamy 5-minute lemon vinaigrette is my go-to salad dressing that just happens to be super quick to make, oil-free, gluten-free, and dairy free. Forget store-bought salad dressings! With only a few ingredients, whip up this zingy, Dijon maple vinaigrette recipe in under 5 minutes and transform your salads from ordinary to extraordinary!


  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 small lemon, juice
  • 1 teaspoon dry oregano or thyme leaves
  • ¼ teaspooon red pepper flakes, more to taste
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt, more to taste
  • ½ - 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1-2 tablespoons filtered water (too thin)
  • ¼ avocado (optional)


     Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl or jar.

    If adding avocado (for richness and creaminess), place all ingredients in the blender and process until smooth.

    Store in the fridge in a jar or air-tight container for up to a week.


    Store in a jar in the fridge for up to a week. Apple cider vinegar and lemon add bitter and acidic notes. Because this vinaigrette is oil free, it has a sharp edge - the maple syrup softens the acidic edge. If making the avocado option, it will soften the acid too. Or sub in white balsamic vinegar for apple cider vinegar which is slightly sweeter. Now you have the perfect anti-inflammation salad, which is almost a meal in itself. 


    We hope you enjoyed those simple, easy, and anti-inflammatory recipes. Be on the lookout for our next blog post. We will be touching on a fun topic - cooking without oil! See you soon.

    See all articles in Well Informed: Health Tips & Resources


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