One of the most common questions I get from interstitial cystitis (IC) patients is, “What can I put on my salad?” The answer is, “Plenty!” The trick is to pile the salad itself with flavorful vegetables, herbs, IC friendly fruit, cheeses, and nuts so that you aren’t relying solely on the salad dressing for that burst of flavor. You can also try herb‐infused oils for salad dressing or create homemade dressings with suitable substitutes for the vinegar or mayonnaise base. You can even make your own croutons. Finally, as always, rely on your own instincts and experience with various ingredients. Here are a couple of salad dressing recipes from Confident Choices: A Cookbook for Interstitial Cystitis and Overactive Bladder to get you started:

Basil Blueberry Non‐Vinaigrette Salad Dressing
1 c. frozen blueberries, partially thawed
1/2 c. organic, pure blueberry juice
1/2 c. olive oil
1 t. lemon zest
1/2 t. sugar
2 t. finely chopped fresh basil (may substitute thyme)
Pinch salt
Pinch white pepper as tolerated to taste

Place all ingredients in blender. Blend using one‐second “pulses,” checking consistency after every couple of pulses. May also be made without using frozen berries. Simply increase juice to 1 cup.

Homemade and Healthy Ranch Salad Dressing
1 c. fat‐free plain yogurt (try organic Greek yogurt!)
1/2 c. low‐fat cottage cheese
1/2 t. lemon zest
1 t. dill
2 t. parsley
1/4 t. minced garlic
Pinch onion powder
Pinch sugar
Salt and pepper to taste, if tolerated
Blend all ingredients in blender or food processor until smooth. Store in refrigerator for up to one week past “sell‐by” dates on yogurt and cottage cheese.



Prep time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Salad with honey-drizzled pears and goat cheese rounds. Shown with optional peaches if tolerated.

¼ cup (s) almonds, toasted, finely chopped
½ tsp kosher salt, divided
4 oz goat cheese
4 oz OR 6 cups salad greens – arugula or spinach, any other
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium lemon – zest only
4 medium pears, fresh (ripe but firm) or canned
2 tbsp honey

Ground black pepper (optional)
*substitutions: peaches if tolerated

1. Place almonds in shallow dish. Season with ¼ tsp salt and optional pepper. Roll goat cheese log in pecans to coat. Refrigerate the log until firm, if necessary, then cut into 8 rounds.
2. Place greens into medium bowl. Add oil and lemon zest and toss to coat. Season with remaining ¼ tsp salt and optional pepper.
3. Divide the salad greens among 4 shallow bowls. Nestle 2 pear halves into each portion or greens, top each half with a round of almond crusted goat cheese and drizzle each salad with honey.


recipe adapted for IC Diet by Elizabeth Braun, MSRD from


Makes 4 main course servings or 6 side dish servings.


  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 handfuls baby spinach leaves, washed and drained
  • 1 large, ripe pear – washed, stemmed, cored & cut into pieces
  • 1/2 cup canned white beans, rinsed and drained (Navy or Great Northern)
  • 1/2 cup cut-up fresh vegetables (bell pepper, cucumber, zucchini, sweet potato, etc.)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • chopped parsley for garnish
  • chopped or slivered almonds for garnish


quinoa spinach salad



  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup (more if desired)




  1. Place quinoa in a saucepan.  Add the 2 cups water.
  2. Cover & cook on a low simmer until water is evaporated and quinoa is tender – roughly 20 minutes.
  3. Fluff with a fork & place in a large salad bowl.  Add the remaining ingredients (except parsley and almonds).
  4. Whisk the olive oil & maple syrup together, pour over salad & toss gently to coat. Chill in refrigerator.
  5. Just before serving add the parsley and almonds & combine gently.