The simplest way to consume enough vegetables (I recommend 3–4 servings per day) is to eat them raw, roasted, steamed, or in salads. Frequently, my clients associate salads with uninteresting mounds of lettuce, sad tomatoes, and “light” or fat-free dressings. However, this is not the case! The right dressing, combined with hearty ingredients and vibrant vegetables, can elevate a salad to new heights and make you crave it. And, when time is of the essence, purchasing a bottled dressing is frequently the most practical option. Fortunately, we do not lack healthy alternatives that can compete with your favorite homemade versions. Here are a few of my personal favorites.
BRIANNAS STYLE IN THE HOUSE DRESSING WITH RICH POPPY SEEDS
This poppy seed dressing is a go-to for me. It can be used to dress up even the most basic salads and is also delicious as a dip. The recipe is fairly straightforward, consisting of oil, vinegar, poppy seeds, onion, sugar, and mustard flour. Additionally, as with the other dressings I’ve listed, this one contains calories and fat (about 150 calories and 13 grams of fat per 2 tablespoon serving). Because neither is a “disadvantageous” thing! Salad dressings with fat, primarily from canola or olive oil, not only taste better, but also aid the body in absorbing all of the wonderful fat-soluble vitamins found in vegetables, such as A and K. Additionally, if a salad dressing contains fat, it will contain calories. The critical point to remember is that salads with fat-containing dressings are significantly more filling and aid in reducing hunger pangs, urges to snack, and sweet cravings that may occur shortly after eating a “fat-free” version. This dressing also contains 6 grams of added sugar, which is acceptable if the rest of your diet is relatively low in added sugar. Bear in mind that keeping the big picture in mind is critical!
KEN’S SIMPLICITY GREEK VINAIGRETTE
Simple vinaigrettes are adaptable and add just enough “oomph” to an otherwise mundane salad. This option features a hint of Parmesan cheese for added flavor, as well as a variety of vinegars, oils, and spices. It contains 13 grams of mostly unsaturated fat (1 gram saturated fat), contains no sugar or added sugar, and contains 130 calories per 2 tablespoon serving.
TESSEMAE’S ALL-ORGANIC BAGEL RANCH
Is it necessary for me to explain this one? Everything bagel flavors pair beautifully with a fresh salad. This creamy dressing is made with egg yolks and has the complex savory flavor of an everything bagel. Its ingredient list is straightforward, but it does include additional spices, oils, and vinegars. The nutritional information is comparable to our other options, at 160 calories and 16 grams of fat (mostly unsaturated) per 2 tablespoon serving, with no sugar.
GREEN GODDESS OF THE PRIMARY KITCHEN
Avocado oil is used in Primal Kitchen dressings because it is high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and anti-inflammatory antioxidants. As a result, their price point is slightly higher (approximately $8 per bottle) than that of the other salad dressings. Additionally, the green goddess contains simple ingredients such as herbs, spices, eggs, and vinegar. It contains 120 calories, 12 grams of fat, and 0 grams of sugar per 2 tablespoon serving, similar to our other examples.
CARROT MISO BOLTHOUSE FARMS
Bolthouse Farm’s carrot-miso dressing is “plant-based,” which means it is free of dairy, eggs, and other animal products. Carrots, ginger, soy sauce, miso, vinegar, and oil are just a few of the ingredients. This dressing is slightly less calorific than the others, containing 40 calories and 3 grams of fat per 2 tablespoon serving, as well as only 1 gram of sugar. The zesty, savory flavor compensates for the dressing’s lack of satiation, which can easily be remedied by including hearty ingredients such as sunflower seeds, chickpeas, roasted beets, quinoa, or broccoli in your salad.
THE FINAL VERDICT
Bottled salad dressings can simplify and increase the veggie content of busy mealtimes, and they can and should be a pantry staple. Choose one that contains some fat, the majority of which is monounsaturated from plant oils such as olive, avocado, canola, and sunflower, to aid in the absorption of essential fat-soluble vitamins and to create a more satiating salad. Avoid obsessing over calories (Fat contains calories! Salads should contain calories! ), but try to keep added sugars in the low single digits. Alternatively, increase your intake of vegetables by pairing them with flavorful salad dressings and veggie dips.