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Bottom Line: Finding healthy salad dressings

Published: Aug. 10, 2021 at 7:57 AM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC/CONSUMER REPORTS) - Salads are super-healthy and filling. A tasty salad with dressing goes a long way toward helping you get the 2 to 4 cups of veggies you should have in a day. But a dressing that’s full of fat, calories, and sodium can ruin your salad. Consumer Reports recently tested 23 dressings to find the tastiest and healthiest.

Consumer Reports food experts focused on two of the most popular types of salad dressings: raspberry vinaigrette and America’s favorite, ranch. They looked at the nutritional value and then blind taste-tested the dressings because a dressing can be healthy but if it doesn’t taste good, you probably won’t use it.

Salad dressings can be loaded with added sugars and sodium. But the fat in dressings is usually the heart-healthy type, and fat can help your body absorb more of the salad’s nutrients.

There are some brands that use high-quality ingredients and less added sugars and sodium. And you can now find some healthy options in the supermarket that taste really good.

In the raspberry vinaigrette category, CR recommends Annie’s Organic Lite Raspberry Vinaigrette. It’s a sour-sweet berry dressing with hints of honey and mustard flavors. It has the lowest sodium and added sugars of the vinaigrettes CR tested.

Ranch dressing is by far the most popular dressing in America. If you like its creamy-tangy taste, look at the labels. Overall, the tested ranch dressings had more sodium than vinaigrettes, ranging from 150 to 280 milligrams in 2 tablespoons.

All had 1 gram or less of sugar and were surprisingly low in unhealthy saturated fat. One classic ranch dressing that CR recommends has just 45 calories a serving: Bolthouse Farms Classic Ranch Yogurt Dressing. It’s a traditional-style ranch dressing, fresh-tasting and creamy, with mild spices.

Topping the ranch ratings, though, is one with a twist. Primal Kitchen Ranch Dressing & Marinade with Avocado Oil is tart and lemony, with flavors of onion, garlic, black pepper, and dill. Tasters said it had a vinaigrette quality.

With dressings like these, you can dig in and really enjoy your veggies.

If you really, really love ranch, why not make your own? It will be fresh and you can control the amount of sodium. Consumer Reports’ own recipe is posted on our website.

“Consumer Reports TV News” is published by Consumer Reports. Consumer Reports is a not-for-profit organization that does not accept advertising and does not have any commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site

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