Nutritional therapist Amelia Freer whizzes up delicious vinaigrettes that deliver on flavour without the sugary carbs of shop products

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Store-bought vinaigrettes are usually loaded with sugar and preservatives and are an expensive choice. Making your own vinaigrette can be very simple and a far healthier option – I make up enough for a week and store in a jam jar or glass bottle. I also have a small jar that I can take with me so if I’m eating on the go, I can throw away the sugary dressing that comes with bought salads.

Here are my basic store cupboard ingredients:

Firstly, there needs to be an acid base. I use apple cider vinegar which is considered to have multiple benefits, particularly for weight loss and blood glucose regulation. While there aren’t enough studies to determine any of its claimed benefits, there are many who swear it makes them feel better. I personally love the taste and like to use it in dressings instead of other vinegars that have added sugar. If you are going to use it, ensure that you buy organic, unfiltered and unprocessed which will look murky. It will say “with mother” on the bottle which means it has a cobweb-like lump inside which ensures it is good quality. If you don’t want to use vinegar then the juice of any citrus fruit works well.

Then the oil. I use organic extra virgin olive oil which is the purest and has a lovely rich taste. Olive oil contains oleic acid which is beneficial for reducing cholesterol, a rich source of antioxidants, has anti-inflammatory properties as well as promoting weight loss, so don’t think of it as fattening.

Then choose your flavours – herbs, spices, garlic and fruits to add sweetness. As well as the ones I’ve mentioned below miso and ginger work well, as do coriander and lime – there are endless possibilities, just get creative!

Amelia’s top three dressing recipes

Lemony vinaigrette

Juice of ½ a lemon
1 tbsp organic apple cider vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Zest of an unwaxed lemon
1 tbsp finely chopped preserved lemons
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Pinch of sea salt and fresh black pepper
1 tbsp freshly chopped basil (or any fresh herbs work well)

Put all ingredients into a jar and shake to mix. Lasts for 4-5 days.

Spicy sun-dried tomato vinaigrette

Juice of ½ a lemon
1 tsp of harissa paste or powder (to taste depending on how spicy you like it)
4 sun-dried (or sun-ripened) tomatoes
½ tsp of pomegranate molasses (optional, this adds a bit of a zing)
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Put all of the ingredients except the oil into a blender and blend adding the oil slowly.

This is delicious poured over baked peppers and with red meat dishes.

Green vinaigrette

This is similar to a salsa verde and something that I always have in the fridge to spoon over salads and protein.

1 tsp capers (rinsed)
1 small handful of fresh parsley
1 small handful of fresh basil
1 small handful of fresh mint
2 tsp chopped fresh chives
1 clove of garlic
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Pinch of fresh pepper

Whizz up all of the ingredients in a blender, adding the oil slowly until you are happy with the consistency.

Store all dressings in the fridge and keep for 5-6 days.

For more of Amelia Freer's advice, tips and recipes, click here