Salad Dressing That Actually Tastes Good.

Updated on July 31, 2010
H.S. asks from Kings Mills, OH
25 answers

I'm starting off on a new lifestyle that includes getting up 4 days a week and walking/jogging with my neighbors at 5am. That is going well, and I'm getting use to it, after not exercising a day for 10 years. I'm slowly changing my eating habits, and trying to cut out the bad stuff all together eventually. I love salads-with regular ranch dressing! The light and fat free versions are so nasty to me that I'd rather eat the salad dry. There must be a great tasting one that I haven't tried. I'm not stuck on ranch, I'll try others too. It just has to taste good! Anyone have one they love? Also- should I stick to the veggies on a salad or can I add dry cranberries or other fruit without adding too many calories?

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answers from New York on

Hands down, best dressing ever...I've stopped buying all others (and I'm a ranch girl myself!)
Brianna's blush wine vinegerette(sp?) would have never appealed to me on the shelf but I had it at someone's house. It's the best. It has a large strawberry on the label, but it does not taste like strawberries, just light and refreshing, but it tastes like something you know?


answers from Norfolk on

I love ranch and blue cheese, but the taste of the light versions is horrible. So I get the regular dressing, then thin it with some butter milk. Sometimes I'll add a shake or two of dried oregano, and a bit of fresh ground pepper. I don't know what it does to the calorie count, but the flavor is all there and the jar of dressing lasts twice as long.
Some olive oil, lemon juice (or vinegar) and some minced fresh garlic is good, too. The pepper and oregano work well in this, too.



answers from Austin on

I really just like a little olive oil and vinegar. Or some lemon.
I like to slice up apples, pears and grapes in my salad. I also LOVE feta cheese. And cilantro.

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answers from Houston on

Girard's Light Champagne Vinagrette. I actually like the light version better than the regular full-fat. It is also a great marinade for chicken.

I would add just about whatever you need to make it easier for you to stick with it. My best advice is to weigh and measure things that have the potential to add a lot of extra fat or calories...dressing, fruits, nuts, etc. There are healthy and nutritious additions, but it adds up quick if you just shake or pour them on.

Adding lean protein is a great way to keep yourself full and make salads more satisfying.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Williamsport on

Good work. The best salad dressing you can eat health wise is to mix olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Yes, the olive oil has fat, but it's the type of fat that is good for your brain, skin and joints and enables your body to burn more by being healthier, and feel more satisfied. If you're exercising, the olive oil will not make you gain weight. The balsamic is very healthy for your heart and circulatory system and has calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium AND manganese! It also has anti cancer agents and treats digestive problems. It's got many of the same properties as grapes, so if you can stand to stay away from typical dressings, this combo is the most classic choice. You can add mustard or all kinds of things. Light and fat free versions of stuff are SO unhealthy and artificial, it's not worth the saved calories.
Go for adding some punch to your salad with the dried cranberries-but beware some have preservatives. Also, you should throw some protein in there to equalize your blood and help your muscles-some nuts, some chicken, etc and some carbs-whole grain home made croutons, potatoes, squash a bit of pasta..the more satisfying the salad, the less likely you are to binge right after you eat it! Change it up, throw in fruit, prunes, berries, whatever. Just make sure everything is healthy and natural. You RULE for getting up early like that and getting active!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I like a little olive oil with a dash of salt and pepper.



answers from Dallas on

My hubby likes Ken's Asian Sesame with ginger & soy. Smells nice, and has a strong but pleasant flavor so you don't need to use much.



answers from Seattle on

I've gotten into a kick of making all my dressings except for caesar (the whole egg and anchovy thing I just don't feel like messing around with. I mean, I COULD, but when you've got Cardini's, why bother?).

My favorite oil and vinegar is:

- Olive oil
- Sherry vinegar
- Lime or lemon
+ anything I happen to feel like, herbs (roma, or provence, or whatever), shallots, garlic, onion, mustard + honey, pepper, hotsauce. Seriously ANYTHING.

My favorite Asian dressing:

- 1/2 cup veggie oil (not olive!)
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar + a little extra
- dash of sesame oil

Keeps in the fridge for ages. You can also add some ginger

I not only add fruits (dried or fresh) to salad, but toasted pecans (just regular pecans you saute dry until they smell delicious), wallnuts, avacado, shredded or sliced egg (shredded egg is amazing on spinach for some reason... just use a cheese shredder).

One trick with salad dressing I learned as a line cook. NEVER add dressing to your salad on the plate you're eating on, or you add about 4x as much as you need. Instead make your salad... put it in a BIG bowl (like a big glass mixing bowl)... add in a measured amount of dressing... and stir with tongs. That way your whole salad is coated and yummy... but with 1/4 the dressing.

Same token, try adding chopped herbs to salads. Adds a HECK of a kick. For basil stack the leaves and roll up like a cigar. Then slice. Sprinkle all over your salad. Arugula makes a delicious salad in and of itself, but you can also add a handful of the peppery leaves to any salad for some kick. Any fresh herb will "kick up" a salad. Rosemary diced (so you don't end up with "pine needles in my teeth", but any other -basil, tarragon, chives, marjoram, cillantro, whatever).



answers from Washington DC on

I buy Annie's naturals papaya and poppy seed dressing , it's organic and not thick and creamy , but not as runny as a vinigarette either , it tastes so good , and because of the papaya it tastes quite sweet so you don't need a lot , a little goes a long way. If you like strawberries in your salads then this goes together really well.



answers from Columbus on

You're better off mixing your own. Use Good Seasonings and buttermilk or one of the many varieties of vinegar and oil. Add your own seasonings or just salt. Sometimes a drop of your preferred sweetener. It keeps a long time in the frig and tastes fresh. The ingredients seem to blend yet not get lost as one mushy, globby taste like bottled drerssings.



answers from Austin on

I don't know how many calories are in it, but I love to make salad with honey on it. a little bit goes a long way!



answers from Detroit on

Go ahead and add some dry cranberries or dried cherries on your salad, add some pinenuts or toasted cashews (don't toast them in oil, just in a small pan on a med. low heat; keep them moving or they'll burn.)

As for dressings, my grandmother is diabetic and has had two heart attacks; I bought a dressing for her that was made by Bolthouse Farms.

My grandmother and my father (who has also suffered a heart attack) love the Raspberry Merlot; I love the Asian Ginger ... and considering that for the last two decades (I'm almost 28), I've only ever eaten Hidden Valley Ranch.

Good luck!



answers from Dallas on

Annies Naturals organic dressing! It's so good and pretty affordable.



answers from Pittsburgh on

I like Ken's lite sweet vidalia onion dressing. I just ran out so I can't tell you any nutritional info on it. A friend just came over last week and she tried it and has bought some for herself.

I don't think adding fruit to your salad will add too many calories. And considing you are aiming to cut out the "bad stuff all together" I think any calories you add on from fruit won't harm you. This is just my opinion, but consider allowing yourself a little wiggle room or treat that you truly enjoy. Depriving yourself of all the "bad stuff" that you like backfires for some people and they end up binging, which obviously you don't want to do.

Best wishes to you!



answers from New York on

I've found that the creamy types of dressings have lots of calories, so avoid those. I agree the low fat versions are nasty. The light versions of the others like various italians are much better. Most people I know who eat lots of salads tend to stick with oil and vinager (personally not for me).

Adding fruit is a great way to add to a salad. Try some apples, which are very low in calories. Adding dried cranberries or raisins helps to give a salad some variety.

If you're eating a salad as a meal add some grilled meat. I love to add some terriaki chicken and sprinkle with chineese noodles, using a ginger based dressing.

One of my favorite salad meals in mexican based, lettuce, tomato, black beans, corn, black olives, and a little cheese.

Congratulations on the new life style! I've lost 45 lbs, doing it one easy step at a time, a little more exercise, gradually cutting out the bad and replacing it with the good. The best thing I've done, no more diet soda, I drink lots of water. Good luck.



answers from New York on

I love Good Seasons Italian dressing. It is a packet and you mix your own. I use balsamic vinegar and shake it like crazy (200 shakes in each arm - hahaha, I get a little work out too). When you shake it that much it gets kind of thick. YUMMY



answers from Columbus on

We create a oil and vinegar dressing for our salads. Before we start anything we put tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions in a bowl with red wine vinegar along with sprinkling some season salt and pepper. Sometimes I add some carrots and mushrooms to it as well.

Then we prepare the rest of dinner while that kind of "marinates". When we are ready to serve the salad we mix in the lettuce and oil and it makes the most scrumptious salad ever!!

Good Luck!



answers from Atlanta on

I just found one at Trader Joe's that I can't live without. I normally don't like the oil and vinegar type but this one is incredible. It's called "Three Cheese." If you have a Trader Joe's in your area...look for it!



answers from Spokane on

I like plain oil and vinegar! I also LOVE rice vinegar! Girard's Light Champagne dressing is very tasty!

Yes, add the dried fruit...a handful of nuts...a boiled egg...

The toppings are endless, which is great...especially if you tire of eating the same ol thing all the time!

I am a salad LOVER and I make a mean (way more than one actually) of my favorites, that actually requires no dressing is:

Romaine lettuce
green olives (juice from olives as you grab from jar is enough dressing)
bean sprouts
crunchy spicy sprouts
cucumber (optional)
crumbled feta

So Yummy!


answers from Houston on

i have the perfect one, the juice and a little zest of two lemons, dash of salt,, tbsp olive oil, tbsp agave nectar

i like to add a little hot sauce too



answers from New York on

you can mix the high calorie salad dressing and the low cal.. like 1 tablespoon of each.. mix them toghehter... then you half the fat.. but 1/2 the taste... so it won't be bad.. i do this with jello.. i make one box diet and one reg.. and mix them .... then it's half the sugar... i need alittle sugar... good luck you can add raisins, you can add apple slices, blueberries, fresh strawberries, stringbeans... to a salad.. good luck.. you can even add some almonds..



answers from Chicago on

Awesome job - you're doing a great thing for yourself and you should be proud!

Skip the dried cranberries - most dried fruits are typically full of added sugar. Fresh fruit is a better bet. Not sure if you put cheese on the salad, but if you limit it to a quarter cup and choose something like a skim or part-skim mozzarella or a parmesan, you'll be adding flavor AND protein/dairy. You can also throw a tablespoon of slivered almonds, walnut pieces, or pecan pieces for crunch, flavor, protein, and the 'good' source of fat.

You may wish to try the Newman line of dressings. I like their light Asian Sesame Ginger, light Balsamic Vinaigrette, and their light Honey Mustard.



answers from Cincinnati on

this one is awesome and will keep for a couple days in case you make to much. use one can tomatoes including juice 1tb honey mustard 1tb sweetner and 2 tb vinegar. puree in food processor I use it on salads and pastas and even meat.



answers from Abilene on

I haven't tried it yet, but someone just gave me the idea to mix the dry ranch dressing mix with plain unsweetened yogurt instead of sour cream. They said that they keep it in the fridge until the expiration date on the yogurt. Sounds yummy to me! If you have ever had plain yogurt, it tastes a lot like sour cream, only it is a lot better for you. I use it instead of sour cream for cooking, putting on baked potatoes, ect. I also mix and some fresh fruit with flavored yogurt so that it is not so sweet. Kids love it too. As for adding things to your opinion is - variety is the spice of life! I wouldn't be able to eat a plain salad very often without getting completely burned out on it. I think it was on biggest looser one time that they said - no one gets fat on eating veggis and fruits :)



answers from Las Vegas on

I do like the Paul Newman brand salad dressings. The balsamic vinegarette is the bomb! As for ranch, why don't you still use the ranch but use a little less dressing and add some flax seed oil to it. Flax seed oil is rich in omega 3 fatty acid and super healthy for you. I do suggest just using regular salad dressing though. The lite and fat-free once, although low in calories and fat, have ingredients in them that look a bit scary to me.

Definitely add dried fruit to give your salad some interest. I also add garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas) and other kinds of beans to my salad, avocado, and just whatever else is in my fridge and seems interesting. A friend of mine also goes to Red Robin and fills up a to-go container with a number of their salad bar fixings to take home and eat over the course of 3 days. Sure beats buying lots of ingredients and chopping them up.

Hope this helps.

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