Fruit-Sweetened Salad Dressing

I recently read a recipe from a cookbook written by teens whose favorite dressing is a caramel salad dressing (they ask you to add caramel-flavored syrup or ice cream topping to the recipe to sweeten it). Yeah, I know it was written teen and that’s what they like, but for some reason this seemed like conflicting ingredients to me – healthy salad – caramel dressing. Although it made me cringe to think about how sweet this would be on salad, I could see where they were coming from.  Teens like sweetness!

So what better way to honor their sweet palates than to make a sweet salad dressing?  Believe me, I’m not suggesting that you all run out and get super-sweet syrup for your student’s salad recipes.  However, there are other ways that you can make dressings sweet.  One of my favorite ways is to add “fresh” fruit to the dressing.  This way you get the sweetness from the fruit and fiber to help prevent the rapid rise in blood sugar levels resulting in groggy and cranky teens, craving more sweetness.

I love using mango in these types of recipes.  They are one of my all-time favorite “bridge foods.”  You know the time of the year when most of the winter fruit is gone and we are waiting for the summer fruits to arrive.

A whole mango contains almost 200% of the daily recommendation for Vitamin C, 25% of the daily recommendation for Vitamin A and is an excellent source of fiber!

So here is a great recipe you can make with your students.  If you want students to make it their own recipe, have them experiment with swapping out the mango with other fruit (e.g. use pears, apples or oranges), or exchanging the cilantro for other herbs (e.g. basil or lime). Have them add fresh, hot Fresno peppers for a spicy flavor or use ½ tablespoon honey instead of the orange juice to make the recipe even sweeter.


Sweet Mango Salad Dressing

Serves: 4


  • 2 ataulfo mangoes – skin and pit removed
  • 1 clove garlic – chopped
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar

  • ¼ cup fresh-squeezed orange juice* (not from concentrate and without added sugars)
  • 1/8 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


       *As an alternative, use the juice squeezed from ½ of a “fresh” orange or tangerine.


  1. Add all ingredients to a blender.
  2. Blend for a few seconds until blended, but not frothy.
  3. Serve over a spinach salad that may include sweet onions, tomatoes, eggs, avocados or sliced almonds.


This salad dressing is an excellent source of Vitamin C (46%), a good source of Vitamin A and contains a small amount of calcium and iron.

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