This healthy blackberry dressing is sweet, tart, and packed with nutrients! Plus, with just 3 base ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan, naturally sweet, and keto-friendly. Plus, there are three methods too – with a reduction, heat-free, and a quick 5-minute method!
As delicious as other berry vinaigrette and salad dressing recipes are, there really is something special about the deep color and fresh, fruity flavor of this blackberry salad dressing. Plus, it’s the perfect recipe for blackberry picking season.
I’m not sure how it is in the US and other countries, but here in the UK, blackberry picking is an absolute must at-least once in your life. The blackberry bushes grow quite freely on the sides of roads, and at pick-your-own farms. Along with blackberry jam, this salad dressing is my next top pick for using up lots of fresh blackberries.
Plus, did you know that blackberries are absolutely packed with health benefits? Making this a flavorful and nutritious addition to meals. Oh, and this ‘salad dressing’ is used for a lot more than just salads in my household too – I’ve included my top picks below.
The Health Benefits
Blackberries, and berries in general, are packed with health benefits. In fact, according to some resources, blackberries are labelled one of the top ten healthiest foods on the planet.
Without boring you with paragraphs and paragraphs, I’ll stick to the absolute basics here. If you want to read more about their health benefits, check out this Healthline article.
Blackberries are packed with Vitamin C, with just one cup of the berries contains half of the daily recommended amount.
The berries also contain high levels of Vitamin K and Manganese and may be beneficial to brain health, too. On top of that, blackberries are also high in fiber, which can increase gut health!
Ingredients And Variations
This blackberry salad dressing is naturally keto-friendly and sugar-free. However, if you do feel the need to add a little extra sweetness then I’ve included options for vegan and keto sweeteners, too.
In total, this recipe uses just three base ingredients though (not including salt and pepper), and is super versatile to additional herbs, flavorings, and etc. Plus, it’s much ‘cleaner’ than store-bought salad dressings.
- Blackberries: You can use freshly picked wild blackberries, store-bought fresh berries, or frozen blackberries. Each will affect the color and flavor of the dressing in certain ways.
- Lemon Juice: As much as I love a vinaigrette, I decided to keep this recipe vinegar-free and super fresh, with lemon juice as my ‘acid’.
- Extra virgin olive oil: Packed with healthy fats and health benefits, this is my go-to for all salad dressings. You could also use other neutral oils such as grapeseed oil or vegetable oil, etc.
- Salt and pepper: To taste
- Sweetener (Optional): I prefer mine with no added sugar. However, if it is a little tart for your liking, maple syrup and agave will work as vegan options, meanwhile Erythritol, works as a keto option.
More Optional Ingredients and Notes
- If you want to make a blackberry vinaigrette then feel free to sub the lemon juice for vinegar of your choice. Some of my favorite options for blackberries include balsamic vinegar (in fact blackberry balsamic vinaigrette dressing is a classic choice!), and red wine vinegar. Though, you could also use apple cider vinegar, or white wine vinegar – if preferred.
- You could add a little grape juice for more natural sweetness. Though this is usually an ingredient avoided on a keto diet.
- For a dash of ‘umami’ flavor, you could add in soy sauce, tamari (GF), or coconut aminos (keto). You could also use a little miso paste.
- For more ‘tang’ add in a little mustard. You can use smooth yellow mustard, dijon mustard, or whole seed mustard (to add a little texture)
- Blackberry pairs amazingly with finely chopped herbs. Some of my favorite options include mint, basil, oregano, rosemary, sage, and thyme. Some even like licorice (but not me!).
- You can experiment with using less oil in this dressing when first cooking the berries. I’ve even made one batch oil-free before.
Let me know if you have any other favorite combinations in the comments!
Step By Step Instructions
Step 1. Prepare the Blackberries
Rinse the berries thoroughly and then mash lightly with either a potato masher or fork.
Step 2. Heat The Berries
Heat the blackberries over low-medium heat for around 5 minutes to begin reducing the berries. This will help with texture and intensify the flavor of the berries.
During this step you can optionally add in the blue pea flowers. These won’t affect the flavor too much, but when mixed with lemon juice will change color, from blue to purple.
Allow to cool slightly and then (optionally) press through a sieve to remove the seeds and excess pulp. You can skip this if you like dressing with more ‘body’ and crunch.
You can use the leftover pulp to make ice lollies or fruit leather or you can add it to smoothies or breakfast bowls.
Step 3. Mix the salad dressing
Mix the berries with the remainder of the ingredients and stir well. Taste and adjust the seasonings and acid/sweetener, as required.
Finally, decant into a glass jar or bottle and shake well. For additional flavor, allow the dressing to infuse for an hour or two in the fridge (or even overnight) for best flavor. However, you can also use it immediately.
To retain the full nutrients of the raw berries, you can create a heat-free method with just as much flavor. Begin macerating the berries by letting them sit in the vinegar and sweetener for an hour or two. This will help draw out the syrupy juices from blackberries and infuse the flavors more.
Then, combine with the remaining ingredients and shake well OR blend, for a smooth dressing.
For a super simple and quick version, simply blend all of the ingredients together in a blender (or with an immersion blender) and serve. It’s still best to leave this to infuse for an hour or so, but can be served immediately, if preferred.
Not only is this blackberry dressing delicious when served with salads ( like this spinach blackberry salad), but it also pairs AH-MAZINGLY with cheese (vegan and non-vegan). Spread it over grilled cheese, drizzle over cheese and crackers, or with cream cheese and toast and more.
It works particularly well with fairly strong cheese types too like goat cheese and feta cheese (vegan).
You can also use this for sweet dishes too – such as drizzling over brownies and ice-cream (use normal sugar to turn this from caramel to vanilla ice-cream).
Store this dressing in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
Just note that, if using olive oil, this can solidify in the fridge, so allow it some time outside of the fridge before using.
Although I personally haven’t tried to, I wouldn’t recommend this as I think it would affect the texture, upon thawing.
I’m no expert in long term ‘canning’ storage. However, with the oil content of this, i’d err on the side of caution and NOT attempt this.
If you’d like to gift this blackberry dressing then do so with the fresh product. You can include a tag to let them know how to make their own second batch.
For more healthy salad dressings and related ‘ingredients’, you may like:
- Strawberry Salad Dressing
- Raspberry Salad Dressing
- How to Make Sugar-free Pomegranate Molasses
- Apple Cider Vinegar
If you give this recipe a go, then let me know your thoughts in the comments. Also, feel free to tag me in your recreations @AlphaFoodie.
Healthy Blackberry Salad Dressing
Prepare the Blackberries
- Rinse the berries thoroughly and mash them with a potato masher/fork.
Heat The Berries
- Heat the blackberries over low-medium heat for around 5 minutes to begin reducing the berries. This will help with texture and intensify the flavor of the berries.
- During this step you can optionally add in the blue pea flowers. These won’t affect the flavor too much, but when mixed with lemon juice will change color, from blue to purple.
- Cool slightly and then (optionally) press through a sieve to remove the seeds and excess pulp.
Mix the salad dressing
- Mix the berries with the remainder of the ingredients and stir well. Taste and adjust the seasonings and acid/sweetener, as required.
- Decant into a glass jar or bottle and shake well. For additional flavor, allow the dressing to infuse for an hour or two in the fridge (or even overnight) for best flavor. However, you can also use it immediately.