Easy Sweet Onion Dressing for Salad

We all know the struggle: you crave a delicious salad dressing, but those store-bought options are loaded with hidden sugar, oil and artificial flavors. Well, fret no more! This sweet onion dressing uses a CLEVER TRICK and a SECRET INGREDIENT making it a flavor explosion that won’t spike your blood sugar and calorie intake. It is perfect for busy families who love to eat clean and delicious. BONUS: It’s super easy to make!

Sweet onion vinaigrette being drizzled on salad on a white plate.

Recipe Video

This sweet onion vinaigrette is the healthy, flavorful upgrade your salads have been waiting for. Let’s get cookin’!

Ingredients

(You can find the exact measurements and instructions in the printable recipe card at the end of this page.)

Like all my sauce recipes, this sweet onion sauce requires simple ingredients you might already have in your kitchen.

Labelled ingredients for sweet onion vinaigrette.
  • Fresh Onion: You don’t need any specific kind like Vidalia onions. Any type (white, yellow or red onions) work for this recipe. 
  • Olive oil: Use either regular one or extra virgin olive oil for a stronger fruity flavor.
  • Chia seeds: This is the SECRET INGREDIENT that emulsifies the dressing. They help reduce the oil (and hence calorie) content of the recipe. The health benefits of chia seeds are a plus for this salad dressing.
  • Lemon juice
  • A touch of honey and brown sugar: We caramelize the onion that unlocks its natural sweetness. (Secret trick!) That helps us reduce the quantity of added sugar in the recipe.
  • Dijon mustard: Adds a bit of spice and zesty flavor.
  • Black pepper and salt
Sweet onion sauce in a glass bottle and a plate of salad next to it.

How to make sweet onion dressing: step by step pictures

This homemade salad dressing can be made in 3 simple steps:

Soak chia seeds

Add water to chia seeds in a small bowl. Stir after a minute so that they don’t clump together. Allow them to soak for 10 to 15 minutes.

Chia seeds soaked in water in a small bowl.

Sauté the onion

Thinly slice a medium-sized onion. Heat oil in a large pan. Add onion and salt.

Sliced onions being sauteed in a large pan.

Sauté on low heat for 10 minutes. Add brown sugar.

Sauteed onion slices with brown sugar in a large pan.

Sauté for 10 more minutes or until the onions are golden brown.

Let the onion cool down.

Caramelized onions in a medium pan.

Blend

Place the caramelized onion, soaked chia seeds, lemon juice, honey, Dijon mustard, black pepper and water in a food processor. 

Ingredients for sweet onion vinaigrette in a food processor.

Blend until you get a smooth sauce.

You just made the most delicious sweet onion dressing (without adding tons of sugar and oil)!

Sweet onion sauce in a food processor.

Drizzle this delicious dressing on your favorite salad or use it as a dipping sauce.

Sweet onion Dijon vinaigrette being poured into a glass bottle.

What to serve with sweet onion vinaigrette

This versatile onion dressing can be used in many ways. Adjust the amount of water added to make it a salad dressing, sauce or dip.

Salads

Use it to drizzle on salads:

Beyond salads

Use the onion vinaigrette as a sauce or dip with:

Sweet onion dressing in a glass bottle and salad on a plate next to it.

More sauces and dressings

Sweet onion vinaigrette being drizzled on salad on a white plate.

Healthy Sweet Onion Dressing Recipe

We all know the struggle: you crave a delicious salad dressing, but those store-bought options are loaded with hidden sugar, oil and artificial flavors. Well, fret no more! This sweet onion dressing uses a CLEVER TRICK and a SECRET INGREDIENT making it a flavor explosion that won't spike your blood sugar. It's also super easy to make.
Author: Sheeba
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course dip, dressing, sauce
Cuisine American
Servings 6 servings (1 cup)
Calories 36.8 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion 250 grams/8.8 ounces (white, yellow or red)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

STEP BY STEP IMAGES

Scroll back to find detailed recipe photos!

Instructions
 

Soak chia seeds

  • Add water to chia seeds in a small bowl. Stir after a minute so that they don't clump together. Allow them to soak for 10 to 15 minutes.

Sauté the onion

  • Thinly slice the onion.
  • Heat oil in a large pan. Add onion slices and salt. 
  • Sauté on low heat for 10 minutes.
  • Add brown sugar. Sauté for 10 more minutes.
  • Let the onion cool down.

Blend

  • Place the caramelized onion slices, soaked chia seeds, lemon juice, honey, Dijon mustard, black pepper and water in a food processor. 
  • Blend until you get a smooth sauce.
  • Drizzle this delicious dressing on your favorite salad or use it as a dipping sauce.

Video

Notes

    • Added sugar: Caramelizing the onion makes it sweet. So you’ll need only a teaspoon of brown sugar and a tablespoon of honey to make this dressing. You can add more, if you want a sweeter sauce.
    • Caramelizing the onion: Sauté the onion slices on low flame for a good 15 to 20 minutes, or even longer. The more you caramelize the onion, the sweeter the dressing turns out. Keep an eye on it to ensure it doesn’t burn. Golden brown is what you should aim at.
    • Vinegar: Lemon juice provides a perfect balance to the sweetness of the dressing. If you want more of a tangy flavor, add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar.
    • Vegan option: Honey can be replaced with maple syrup.
    • Making it for a crowd: This recipe can be easily scaled up or down. Use the slider that will appear if you hover your mouse over the number of servings above.
    • Storing: This dressing keeps well since you don’t use raw onions here. It stays fresh in the refrigerator for about 5 days.
    • Freezing: You can store it in the freezer for about a month.

Nutrition Facts
Healthy Sweet Onion Dressing Recipe
Amount per Serving
Calories
36.8
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
1.6
g
2
%
Saturated Fat
 
0.2
g
1
%
Trans Fat
 
0.002
g
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
0.3
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
1
g
Sodium
 
393.4
mg
17
%
Potassium
 
37.7
mg
1
%
Carbohydrates
 
5.8
g
2
%
Fiber
 
0.6
g
3
%
Sugar
 
4.4
g
5
%
Protein
 
0.4
g
1
%
Vitamin A
 
2.1
IU
0
%
Vitamin C
 
2.4
mg
3
%
Calcium
 
10.6
mg
1
%
Iron
 
0.1
mg
1
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Author profile photo

Hi! I’m Sheeba, welcome to Go Healthy ever after!

I have a passion for cooking delicious nourishing food that’s easy to cook with fresh natural ingredients free from additives or preservatives. The easy healthy recipes you find here will inspire you to cook with creativity.

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