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Best balsamic vinaigrette brand

It’s fair to say that no one on the editorial staff of Bon Appetit enjoyed this edition of Supermarket Standoff. Every one of the seven brands of balsamic vinaigrette that we tasted was either too sweet, too acidic, too thin, too gloppy, or just plain gross. Simply put, store-bought vinaigrette has few redeeming qualities. Compounding the problem is the fact that homemade vinaigrette is dead simple to make. (Mix one part balsamic vinegar with three parts olive oil, season, and shake to combine.) That said, we know there are harried nights when even the simplest food prep is out of the question, and sometimes those nights need to involve a salad. In that moment, it’s good to know how store-bought salad dressing brands stack up against each other.

We tested all of the dressings on plain romaine lettuce, but the results were all over the board. The same vinaigrette elicited comments like “strange, fishy flavor” and “like a really cheap restaurant,” to “nicely peppery,” to “the best.” Still, when the score sheets came back, we deciphered three close winners as nutritionist Marissa Lippert decoded the healthiest choice. –Emily Fleischaker

Our Favorites for Flavor 1 Maple Grove Farms of Vermont 2 Trader Joe’s Fat Free Balsamic Vinaigrette 3 Wish-Bone Balsamic Vinaigrette

Nutritionist Marissa Lippert’s Picks

Does the best store-bought salad dressing even exist? In the town where I grew up, there wasn’t a refrigerator door that didn’t have bottles of Kraft and Wish-Bone tucked away for pouring on limp pieces of iceberg lettuce. Then I became a snob: Now I think store-bought dressings are by and large gross. Why buy them when you could mix nice vinegar and oil with some salt and pepper, and maybe throw in some lemon zest and a dollop of tahini? Like many homemade things, DIY dressings are more delicious and don’t include emulsifiers, added sugar, or preservatives.

Still, a store-bought salad dressing is just a condiment like any other. And condiments are nice things to have around. They’re nice when you’re busy. They’re nice to fix bad pizza and pour over grain bowls. They’re nice for hot nights when you just want to sit in front of the air conditioning unit and dip cold sliced cucumbers and carrots in a puddle of creamy sauce. So, here are our favorite store-bought dressings. They might even convince the non-believers. Hey, they convinced us.

Bragg Ginger & Sesame Salad Dressing

My colleague Adina’s dad is crazy about this ginger dressing. He likes it because it’s not too sweet like many store-bought varieties are. It’s tangy from apple-cider vinegar and ginger, and savory and smooth from sesame seeds and olive oil. Drizzle it into stir-fries when they’re almost done cooking, pour it over cold sesame noodles with lots of vegetables, or use it to top a bowl of seared salmon and rice.

Bragg’s Ginger & Sesame Salad Dressing, 12-oz bottle, $5.74 on Jet.com

Annie’s Naturals Organic Shiitake Sesame

Read the reviews on Annie’s website and on Amazon and you’ll understand that my coworker Kat Sacks is not alone in loving this salad dressing. It has a boost of umami flavor from soy sauce, sesame oil, and toasted sesame seeds, and plenty of shiitake mushrooms, an unconventional but inspired dressing ingredient. Besides salads, Kat says she’d use it as a marinade, in a stir-fry, or as a dipping sauce for potstickers.

Annie’s Organic Shiitake Sesame Dressing, 8-oz bottle, $4.07 on Jet.com

Annie’s Goddess Dressing

Another win for Annie’s. This goddess dressing was the only store-bought variety my colleague Anya would buy for a while. With creamy tahini, lemon juice, garlic, and a pop of parsley and chives, this dressing is earthy and herbaceous. Use this to dip crudités, as a marinade for chicken, or to accompany a Buddha bowl.

Annie’s Goddess Dressing, 16 oz bottle, $6.95 on Jet.com

Newman’s Own Balsamic Vinaigrette

My coworker Abby says: “I am VERY partial to all Newman’s Own dressings, especially the balsamic vinaigrette. I know it’s so simple but it tastes 100x better than when I make it.” Use this dressing on a summery melon, basil, and feta salad. Or, fire up the grill and use it on a steak salad. Or try marinating short ribs in it.

Newman’s Own Balsamic Vinaigrette, 16 oz bottle, $7 on Amazon

Trader Joe’s Cilantro Dressing

My personal recommendation for the best store-bought salad dressing is Trader Joe’s Cilantro Dressing. Full disclosure: This dressing is reduced fat, which is an outdated and horrible way to eat. Still, it’s delicious due to the copious, copious amounts of cilantro and the creamy base. Eat it with tacos or on top of a homemade burrito bowl. It’s also great with grilled steak and grilled vegetables. Join my letter writing campaign to convince TJ’s to make a full fat version.

Trader Joe’s Reduced Fat Cilantro Dressing, $3.49 (prices may vary) at Trader Joe’s

Need some ideas for salads now that you know the best store-bought salad dressings? Why not try making a few of these main course-worthy vegetarian salads:

1 / 41Chevron Chevron Squash and Radicchio Salad with Pecans This squash-centric salad has an irresistible pecan dressing and hardy radicchio that refuses to wilt. The palm-size 898 squash, a new cousin of the beloved honeynut, tastes like a turbocharged butternut. It’s now rolling out at farmers’ markets, select grocery stores, and online grocers across the country. Preheating the baking sheet will help the squash sizzle and sear as soon as it hits the pan rather than steam and stick. Get This Recipe

Everyone knows that an amazing dressing is the secret to a great salad. While there are a ton of easy recipes to make at home, sometimes you just want a salad and you don’t want to work for it. For example, when you’re hangry and need food right away, store-bought salad dressing can sometimes seem like your only option.

Registered dietitians generally prefer homemade salad dressings to store-bought for some good reasons. Brigitte Zeitlin, M.P.H., R.D., owner of BZ Nutrition, tells SELF that options with labels like “lowfat” or “fat-free” tend to contain lots of sodium and added sugar (both fine in moderation, but the USDA recommends keeping your daily sodium intake below 2,300 milligrams and your daily added sugar intake to less than 10 percent of your overall diet). Nora Minno, R.D., C.D.N., also explains that even if a dressing has a reasonable amount of added sugar or sodium per serving on the nutrition panel, you’re likely using far more than a single serving on each salad.

With all this in mind, even R.D.s can admit that store-bought salad dressings are often the more convenient option. As long as you’re paying attention to the label to make sure it contains nutritious ingredients—like olive oil, fruit or fruit juices, and spices—these premade dressings can be great expert-approved options. SELF asked R.D.s to recommend their favorite store-bought salad dressings for when they’re in a pinch. From green goddess to balsamic to a lemon-turmeric vinaigrette, these are their nine favorite options.

Best Balsamic Vinaigrette Recipe

This amazingly rich and creamy Balsamic Vinaigrette is the best ever! The key is blending it in the blender for velvety smoothness. Your salads will never be the same!

Jeff and I have salad preeeeeetty much every night. And I have this balsamic vinaigrette recipe of EPIC proportions to thank for it!

We legit crave this salad. Who craves salad?! YOU do. I DO! We ALL do after laying mouth on this godsend of a salad dressing. Seriously, your life will never be the same.

I posted how I make this balsamic vinaigrette on my Instagram stories and so many of you went on to make it! That made my heart sing. A bunch of you asked for the exact recipe, which I didn’t have until this very moment. Truth be told, I’d never measured anything for this dressing before. I just pour a bunch of olive oil in the Nutribullet cup, add a bit less balsamic vinegar, a splash of water, maple syrup, Dijon, a clove of garlic, and a hefty pinch of kosher salt and pepper. It’s second nature to me!

Now listen here. Blending this balsamic vinaigrette is an absolute MUST. It emulsifies everything and makes the dressing thick and creamy and velvety smooth in a way that mixing it by hand surely would not.

Now let’s talk balsamic vinegar for a second. Quality is key! If you put good things in, you’ll get good things out. A lot of “balsamic vinegars” aren’t actually balsamic at all and contain caramel color and sweeteners to make up for it. Avoid those at all cost! Look for aged balsamic vinegar of Modena, meaning it has matured in wood barrels for at least three years. The bottle should have the yellow and blue I.G.P stamp, a certification guaranteeing it’s made from grape varietals typical of Modena, Italy.

Aged balsamic vinegar of Modena is made from wine vinegar and concentrated Trebbiano grape must, i.e. crushed whole grapes with skins, seeds, and stems. The dark brown color we all know and love comes from aging the vinegar in wood casks. When the vinegar hasn’t been aged for long, companies will add caramel color to mimic the deep, rich color of true aged balsamic vinegar. While the color will be the same, clearly the flavor won’t be. Balsamic vinegar contains naturally occurring sulfates, but none should be added.

Moral of the story: read the ingredients and if you see caramel color, keep looking. Lucky for us, Costco conveniently sells my favorite balsamic vinegar and it comes in a huge bottle, which I love. I also get our organic extra virgin olive oil there for a great price.

Now lettuce talk about lettuce. When I’m making our daily salad, I like to use a variety of organic red or green leaf lettuce versus spinach or romaine because it’s such a soft green. I buy a couple of heads of leaf lettuce each week. When I get home from the store, I wash them in our handy dandy salad spinner (another impulse buy at Costco that I now use every day) and keep the chopped greens in a glass Pyrex in the fridge for easy salading.

To make the salad, I simply fill a mixing bowl with greens (sometimes we’ll add chopped veggies, cheese, apples, etc), drizzle on the balsamic vinaigrette, and then season it with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. I use tongs to toss everything together until every piece of lettuce is coated in luscious balsamic vinaigrette.

If you make this recipe, be sure to leave a comment/star rating letting me know! I can’t wait to change your leafy green LIIIIIIIIFE.

Description

This amazingly rich and creamy Balsamic Vinaigrette is the best ever! The key is blending it in the blender for velvety smoothness. Your salads will never be the same!

Scale 1x2x3x

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar (aged balsamic vinegar of Modena)
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup (or honey)
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic
  • heaping 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender (blending is key for a thick and creamy dressing, I used my Nutribullet) and blend until smooth and creamy.
  2. Store leftovers in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. Dressing will thicken as it chills, so stir in 1-2 tbsp more water as needed. Dressing will keep up to a week or longer in the fridge.

More amazing salads:

Winter Squash, Farro, and Pomegranate Salad with Shallot Vinaigrette

Israeli Power Salad with Za’atar Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Crunchy Thai Salad with Creamy “Peanut” Dressing

Rosemary Roasted Potato, Lentil, and Mushroom Kale Salad

The very Best Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing you’ll ever have! Simple yet oh so flavorful, this ain’t no basic balsamic dressing. Made with real ingredients, and the perfect companion to any salad. Make this dressing today!

Hello, salad lovers! We’re here to tell you: non-creamy salad dressings don’t have to suck! This balsamic vinaigrette dressing is flavorful, savory and the perfect way to dress up a salad without adding the calories of traditional creamy dressings. And it takes just a few ingredients that you likely already have on hand (8 ingredients total!) and a few minutes to make (X minutes to be exact!). You’ll be on your way to living out your salad dreams before you know it. Let’s get into it:

How To Make Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing

Step 1: Dice red onion and mince garlic.

Step 2: Heat a medium skillet over medium/high heat. Then, add olive oil.

Step 3: When your olive oil is fragrant, add the diced red onion and minced garlic. Let sauté in olive oil for 1-2 minutes.

Step 4: Turn heat to low heat and let your olive oil, garlic and onion mixture simmer for 10-15 minutes uncovered. Then, remove from heat and let cool.

Step 5: Add your simmered down olive oil, garlic and onion mixture + balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, maple syrup, fresh lemon juice and salt to taste into a mason jar, close tightly, and shake until all ingredients are combined.

Step 6: Enjoy! Or keep refrigerated in an air-tight container for later (will keep for 3-5 days).

Pantry Staples to Make Your Own Dressing

We like to keep a few pantry staples on hand at all times just in case the homemade dressing mood strikes. They are:

  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Dijon mustard
  • Maple syrup
  • Salt

Now all you’ll need is a salad to pair with this delicious balsamic dressing you’ve whipped up. Here are some ideas to get you inspired 😀

Salads on Fit Foodie Finds

  • Best Kale Salad Recipes
  • Massaged Kale and Fennel Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
  • Grilled Kale and Watermelon Salad
  • Pomegranate and Pear Kale Salad
  • Roasted Butternut Squash Kale Salad with Farro and Goat Cheese
  • Harvest Blackberry and Butternut squash Massage Kale Salad
  • Spring Citrus Kale Salad
  • Crunchy Asian Kale Salad
  • Superfood Detox Salad
  • Winter Pomegranate Salad
  • Vegan Buffalo Cauliflower Salad

Other Salad Dressings on Fit Foodie Finds

  • All-Purpose Green Goddess Dressing
  • Homemade Italian Dressing
  • Avocado Cilantro Lime Dressing
  • Greek Yogurt Blue Cheese Dressing
  • Homemade Healthy Ranch Dressing

Recipe

The BEST Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing

The very Best Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing you’ll ever have! Simple yet oh so flavorful, this ain’t no basic balsamic dressing. Made with real ingredients, and the perfect companion to any salad. Make this dressing today!

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes

Author: Linley Richter Yield: 6 servings 1x Category: Dressing Method: Stove Top Cuisine: Italian

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  1. Heat a medium skillet over medium/high heat. Add olive oil.
  2. When olive oil is fragrant add onion and garlic. Let sauté in olive oil for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Turn heat to low heat and let olive oil, garlic, and onion simmer uncovered for 10-15 minutes. Then remove from heat and let cool.
  4. Add all ingredients for the dressing into a mason jar, close tightly, and shake until all ingredients are combined.

Notes

Dressing keeps refrigerated in an air-tight container for 3-5 days.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/6 recipe
  • Calories: 106
  • Sugar: 5
  • Sodium: 52
  • Fat: 9
  • Carbohydrates: 7
  • Fiber: 0
  • Protein: 0

These Are the Healthiest and Best Tasting Bottled Salad Dressings

A homemade salad dressing is hard to beat, but sometimes the convenience of a bottled one is needed. The problem in the past, though, has been that good-tasting, healthy-ish options at the grocery have been pretty limited. However, thanks to growing consumer interest in ingredient quality and some new competition in the bottled dressing industry, this has slowly been changing—meaning there are a lot more bottled options that come pretty darn close to homemade in terms of taste, quality and nutrition.

Here is a quick checklist to use when shopping to help you choose a healthier bottled dressing, as well as some recommendations for healthier ones that try to taste really good, too.

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#1: Look at the Ingredient List

Always start by looking at the ingredient list. Do you recognize all of the ingredients? Maybe more importantly, are the ingredients ones that you might use if you were making this dressing at home with a recipe? If not, move on to other options.

#2: Don’t Sweat the Fat Grams

Skip worrying about fat on the Nutrition Facts panel, because this provides little insight into a fat’s quality or health value—and definitely skip fat-free versions. Dressings are supposed to be primarily fat-based. They can be a good way to fit in healthy oils, and research suggests that fat increases absorption of nutrients in vegetables when eaten together.

#3: Instead Check the Type of Fat

The type of fats and oils used in the dressing are important. Though sometimes hard to find, dressings made primarily with flaxseed oil, extra-virgin olive oil, avocado oil, or nut oils are the healthiest bets, since these oils contain a higher percentage of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids. Your next best options are usually ones made with blends of nut, olive, or plant oils. Opt for less refined plant oils when possible, and always steer clear of hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils.

#4: Watch the Sugar and Sodium

A touch of sweetness is okay (and often needed to balance flavors), but some dressings can be loaded with sugar. To avoid this, opt for dressings that keep sugars to a minimum (ideally ≤ 2g of sugars per serving), and choose ones that use natural sugars like fruit purees or fruit juice when possible. Dressing made with added sugars such as honey, maple syrup, or brown sugar are okay, too. Just make sure to watch your portion sizes, and stick to the same sugar-per-serving guideline. Also keep tabs on sodium, since bottled dressings tend to be higher than homemade. A good rule-of-thumb is to find a dressing with 250mg>

Best Bottled Salad Dressings

Use my guidelines above to help you navigate the dressing aisle. If you need help getting started, here are some brands with dressing options that usually meet those guidelines, as well as a few of my favorites that I’ve recently discovered.

Brand

Good Flavors to Try

Tessemae’s

Lemon Garlic Dressing and Marinade (GF, DF)

Organic Honey Balsamic (GF, DF)

Organic Zesty Ranch (GF, DF)

Primal Kitchen

Balsamic Avocado Oil Vinaigrette and Marinade (GF, DF)

Cindy’s Kitchen

Dairy-Free Original Creamy Miso Dressing & Marinade (GF, DF)

Mexican “Pepita” Caesar Dressing and Dip (GF)

Rosemary & Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette (GF)

Hak’s

Organic Olive Oil & Lemon Dressing Singles (GF, DF)

Organic Spicy Thai Dressing Singles (GF, DF)

Newman’s Own

Organics Olive Oil & Vinegar Dressing (GF, DF)

Classic Oil & Vinegar (GF, DF)

Bolthouse Farms

Organic Lemon Basil Vinaigrette (GF, DF)

Organic Signature Blue Cheese (GF)

Hilary’s Dressings

Chili Lime Vinaigrette (GF, DF)

Apple Fennel Vinaigrette (GF, DF)

Bragg

Organic Ginger Sesame Dressing and Marinade (GF, DF)

Ken’s Dressings

Simply Vinaigrette Olive Oil & Vinegar (GF, DF)

Organic Girl

Lemon Caesar (GF)

Avocado Cilantro (GF, DF)

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