Determine Your Unique Dietary Needs
Some low-sodium salad dressings are also organic, vegan, or low in sugar. If you follow a restricted diet or have additional dietary needs, look for low-sodium options that meet these criteria.
For instance, most vinaigrettes are vegan. However, you should double-check the ingredients since some versions contain dairy products like parmesan cheese. Its also not impossible to find vegan and low-sodium versions of Cesar and ranch flavors.
Some low-sodium salad dressings make up for the lack of salt by adding fat. In some cases, these added calories can come from healthy fats like avocado oil. Healthy fats typically have more polyunsaturated or monounsaturated rather than saturated fats.
However, be on the lookout for highly processed vegetable oils, such as canola or soybean. You may want to avoid these if youre concerned about high blood pressure and hypertension.
Sweet And Savory Almond Butter Dressing
The combination of naturally sweet almond butter combined with savory tamari and tangy lime makes for an almost drinkable dressing. But save it for your salad because its even better mixed with greens! Almonds create a creamy consistency and mouthfeel without the oil due to their healthy monounsaturated fat content. The bonus is that you also get the protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that come with enjoying the whole almonds versus only the oil.
Stevia Sweet Bbq Sauce
The low-sodium, gluten-free Stevia Sweet BBQ sauce has a delicious smoky flavor that youll love adding to any dish. With just one gram of sugar per serving, its keto and paleo-friendly, and helps to reduce your daily sugar consumption too.
Price: $21.94 for 2 x 15 oz
Sodium per serving : 110 mg
Buy at Amazon here.
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Low Sodium Coleslaw With Yogurt Dressing
Here is a homemade low sodium coleslaw recipe version that replaces the mayonnaise with yogurt. With a dairy free soy yogurt no less. I was skeptical that I would like the slaw dressing without the typical mayonnaise. But it has a really refreshing taste and makes the most delicious creamy dressing. This low sodium coleslaw recipe is a quick, easy and sure to become a favorite side dish. Give it a shot, I recommend it.
A Creamy Yogurt Loso Coleslaw Dressing
This low sodium coleslaw dressing alternative is quick to make and uses simple ingredients. Its creamy, flavorful, and fresh. I came across this soy yogurt in a search for mayonnaise alternatives and gave it a try. Im happy I gave it a chance. Soy yogurt plain is the base and makes a creamy dressing alternative to mayonnaise. It really is good, go ahead and give it a try as it only adds 9mg sodium per serving. If your heart is set on the classic mayonnaise coleslaw though, use my homemade low sodium mayonnaise that is quite good also.
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Ranch: Bolthouse Farms Organic Avocado Ranch
Everyone loves avocados. And if you dont want to go through all the work of picking a perfectly ripe fruit and using it exactly when its ready, you can keep this bottled dressing in your fridge for whenever a craving strikes. The tang of ranch goes with almost any vegetable, and this creamy condiment is way more nutritious than your usual dressing!
Best Cheesy Italian Dressing: Olive Garden Light Italian Dressing
We’ll start with the caveat that the only thing “light” about this Italian dressing is the calorie count, which doesn’t help if you’re trying to compare actual nutrients. Despite being “light,” Olive Garden’s dressing still has 440 milligrams of sodium per serving, which is nearly double the amount contained in some of the other dressings we sampled. The good news, though, is that it’s exactly as delicious as you’d expect Olive Garden’s dressing to be. And it also has the strongest Romano flavor of any of the cheese varieties we sampled. That didn’t help Olive Garden beat out Ken’s Steakhouse’s dressing, which managed ample cheese flavor without pouring in the whole salt shaker. But it does at least win it the title of cheesiest, which isn’t nothing.
Buy It: $3.59, Target
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Yo Mamas Foods Gluten
This vegan pasta sauce is made with vine-ripened, non-GMO tomatoes. Its perfect for your pizza or pasta dishes. It has a low glycemic index, making it ideal for those of you who are following a ketogenic diet.
Low carbohydrate diets have been shown to aid weight loss and lower LDL cholesterol, and can even be used as part of the treatment for diabetes mellitus.
Price: $6.47 for 25 oz
Sodium per serving : 125 mg
Buy at Walmart here.
Kens Steak House Apple Cider Vinaigrette Dressing
Whether youre making a healthy lunch for you and your kids or hosting a dinner party for your friends, this vinaigrette dressing will definitely be well-received by all. It combines fresh apple flavors with a creamy base, creating a fruity flavor that suits most dishes. Its a healthy, low-sodium option for your salads, vegetables, and slaws.
It contains apple cider vinegar, which has been shown to have antioxidant and antimicrobial effects and may help to lower blood sugar levels in those with type 2 diabetes.
Price: $2.73 for 16 oz
Sodium per serving : 135 mg
Buy at Walmart here.
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Best Acidic Italian Dressing: 365 Whole Foods Market Organic Italian Dressing And Signature Select’s Italian Dressing And Marinade
Classic Italian dressing fans who like things on the sharper side will want to consider one of these two varieties when browsing the shopping aisles. Both lacked the sweet notes of some of the other brands, making them great for those who prefer their vinaigrettes with less sucrose. However, consumers should note that Whole Foods’ Italian dressing offering may need shaking up a bit more before it’s served of the two, it seemed to separate faster.
Buy It: $3.99, $2.29, Safeway
Best Overall: Newman’s Own Family Recipe Italian Dressing
Some like it sharp, some like it sweet, but if you like a bit of both in your Italian dressing, then Newman’s Own Family Recipe is a good middle road to choose. The dressing has a generous portion of black pepper in it along with garlic and other spices, so the flavors carry well in the oil, but it also still has medium notes of vinegar throughout. While not the cheapest of the dressings we sampled, it’s also fairly affordable. If you’re not sure what type of Italian dressing everyone is in the mood for, Newman’s Own is a good brand to reach for.
Buy It: $2.98, Walmart
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Unhealthy Fatty Acid Ratios
Many oils contain an unhealthy omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratio. This fatty-acid imbalance is linked to inflammation associated with pretty much all chronic diseases. The ideal omega-6 to omega-3 ratio in the human diet is somewhere between 1:1 and 4:1. But most people eating the modern industrialized diet are getting between 10:1 and 20:1.
Oils such as safflower, sunflower, corn, cottonseed, sesame, and peanut contain no omega-3s at all and range in omega-6 content from 32-75%. Soybean oil has seven times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3s.
If youre going to use oil, the best options are those low in omega-6, low in saturated fats and trans fats, and high in omega-3 fatty acids. For example, flax oil, extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, and MCT oil.
But, for all the reasons weve seen, many people want to make dressings with no oil whatsoever. Fortunately, you can do that without sacrificing flavor!
Best Low Sodium Italian Dressing: Kraft Creamy Italian Salad Dressing
There are a couple of surprises to this pick. One is that, of the brands we managed to round up, Kraft’s creamy Italian has the lowest sodium content without actually advertising that benefit. The second surprise is that, despite being creamy, this dressing is actually vegan. But the best part is that it’s delicious, having been our secondary choice among the five creamy varieties we tried out. And best of all, it has one of the lowest prices of the brands featured on this list. It’s not perfect â its texture can be a bit thicker than some Italian dressing fans prefer, even when it comes to the creamy kinds. Still, it’s a pretty good option for anyone who wants to avoid excess salt in their dressing.
Buy It: $1.99, Target
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Use The Right Dressing For Your Lettuce
The flavor, consistency, and weight of a dressing are all vital components to consider when choosing the right dressing for your lettuce.
Some Lettuces Can Do It All
Romaine lettuce is great with a variety of salad dressings. It typically goes well with anything but is especially good with Caesar dressing. Iceberg lettuce is a little bland, but crispy. It goes well with anything, but considering a strong, flavorful dressing can take this type of salad to the next level.
If you’re making a salad with either of these types of lettuce, your options for dressings are endless. Consider the other ingredients in your salad when choosing, and look for something that will blend well with all of the flavors. Just know that you don’t need to factor your lettuce into it these are flexible lettuces!
Light Dressings Keep It Crisp
Bibb lettuce is delicious but easily falls apart. To avoid your salad disintegrating, try a lighter dressing for this kind of lettuce, like a vinaigrette.
A lighter dressing with arugula will bring out its peppery flavor and crispness! Again, vinaigrette dressing, or even a lighter ranch dressing, will complement arugula well. Spring greens or baby leaf greens are great in a salad but tend to be soggy if you dress them too heavily. Vinegar, oil, or lemon-based dressings are perfect for this type of salad.
A Middle Ground Is Safest for Some Greens
Balance Out Bitterness With Heavy Dressings
Acidic Salad Dressings Break Down Tough Leaves
What Defines A Low Sodium Sauce Dip & Dressing
You can see how much sodium something contains by looking at the label. It is mandatory for food manufacturers to disclose how much sodium is in their products on their nutrition labels because it is such an important mineral in the body. The sodium content must be stated in milligrams of sodium per serving.
If a food item is labeled as sodium-free, it contains less than 5 mg of sodium per serving. For something to be classed as low sodium, it needs to contain less than 140 mg of sodium per serving.
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Healthy Oil Free Salad Dressing Recipes
Check out our delicious oil-free salad dressings below. And have fun dressing your salad in ways that are both delicious and healthy. Theres no reason to deprive yourself of filling, interesting, and super-healthy salads. Or to skimp on the flavor and mouthfeel of creamy, tangy, spicy, smooth, sweet, or umami dressings. The world is your salad go dress it!
Note The Serving Size Sodium Content Saturated Fat And Added Sugars
Most Americans consume more than 3,400 milligrams of sodium when the recommendation by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans is consuming less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium, said Jonathan Valdez, owner of Genki Nutrition and spokesperson for New York State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. He added that according to the American Heart Association, saturated fat should be no more than 5 to 6 percent of your total caloric intake. For a 2,000-calorie diet, this equals 120 calories or 13 grams of saturated fat.
Valdez likes miso or miso-ginger dressing. Miso is a good source of B vitamins, folic acid, and vitamin K and E, he said. Because of its fermented makeup, it also has positive benefits for the gut, which more research is suggesting could assist with managing inflammation and overall wellness.
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How To Spot A Healthy Salad Dressing
Read Those Labels Typically the shorter the ingredient list, the better. Look for clean ingredient lists without cheap, hydrogenated oils, HFCS, tons of additives, food coloring and thickeners. Once youve looked at the ingredient list, check out the nutrition facts so you know exactly how much is a serving, usually 2 Tablespoons but sometimes it will differ depending on brand). For instance, I know Tessemaes dressings are 1 Tablespoon per serving instead of 2. Look at the sugar content and be mindful about how many calories are in a serving.
Skip Fat-Free Dressings Healthy fats are good for us and research shows pairing a salad with a little fat can help our bodies absorb all the nutrients in those veggies. Whenever a packaged item says fat-free it usually means that the item is loaded with extra sugar to make up for the lost favor from fat. No bueno!
Skip the Vegetable Oils Most vegetable oils are highly processed, usually made from GMO crops and rich in omega-6 fatty acids, which can contribute to inflammation when consumed in access. While both omega-3 and omega-6 are essential fatty acids the ideal omega-6:omega-3 ratio is 4:1, but with the Standard America Diet our ratio is much higher . Studies show that diets high in omega-6 fatty acids are pro-inflammatory while diets high in omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory. See my post on cooking oils for more info on this.
Why You Might Want To Make Oil Free Salad Dressings
One of the main health benefits of a salad is a very high nutrient to calorie ratio. A pound of raw greens, for example, contains around 100 calories. For a visual, the large plastic clamshell containers of mixed greens at the supermarket weigh one pound. You would be hard-pressed to eat that entire container all at once, especially if you added some carrot shreds and sliced red onion, cucumber, and radish for variety and texture. A more realistic portion of that mixed green salad is a quarter-pound, which would, after adding in some bonus veggies, yield around 60 calories. So far, so good.
Now add your oil-based salad dressing. Lets stick to the serving size of two tablespoons just for the sake of argument. A serving of dressing thats 50% oil would, therefore, include one tablespoon of oil, which contains 120 calories. Suddenly your 60 calorie salad is now a 180 calorie salad. And two-thirds of the calories are coming from the oil in the dressing. So while your eyes can fool you into thinking that youre eating a large salad with a little bit of dressing, your metabolism is actually dealing with a large amount of dressing with a small side of salad.
Oil is theres no way around it a highly processed food. Its had all of the fiber, protein, and most of the phytonutrients removed from whatever it was made from, creating a product that is pretty far from what nature intended.
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My Favorite Healthy Store
1. Whole Foods Garlic Tahini Dressing If I had to pick a favorite dressing this would probably be it. Tahini is the best and I love it combined with lemon and garlic for a zesty light dressing thats oil-free, low in calories and sugar, but still tastes rich. This is the dressing that Whole Foods uses for their garlicky kale salad. Dont have a Whole Foods nearby or what to make it yourself? I have a copy-cat garlic tahini dressing recipe here.
- Ingredients: Filtered Water, Roasted Garlic Puree , Sesame Tahini , Apple Cider Vinegar, Soy Sauce , Vinegar, Lactic Acid), Dried Yeast, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Non-GMO Corn Starch, Xanthan Gum.
- Nutrition: 2 Tablespoons = 45 cals, 2.5g fat, 96mg sodium, 4g carbs, 1g fiber, 0g sugar, 2g protein
2. Primal Kitchen Honey Mustard Being a honey mustard fan my whole life its no surprise that this dressing from Primal Kitchen caught my eye immediately. After one taste I was hooked. I love the sweet and savory combo its got going on. I love that Primal Kitchen dressings are made with avocado oil, which is loaded with antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids.
- Ingredients: Avocado Oil, Water, Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, Organic Stone Ground Mustard , Organic Honey, Organic Lemon Juice Concentrate, Sea Salt
- Nutrition facts: 2 Tablespoons = 110 cals, 11g fat, 180mg sodium, 3g carbs, 0g fiber, 2g sugar, 0g protein
Bolthouse Farms Chunky Blue Cheese Yogurt Dressing
We love that Bolthouse Farms uses protein-rich yogurt for its base to keep the fat content of this healthy salad dressing respectably low. The combination of yogurt and blue cheese bring the amount of protein to 2 grams per serving. And with an impressively low 35 calories per serving, you won’t believe this bottle packs in velvety blue cheese in almost every bite.
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Where To Buy Healthy Salad Dressings
In terms of purchasing, all of these dressings can be purchased at Whole Foods. You can likely find the Braggs, Primal Kitchen and Tessemaes dressings at other natural grocery stores and some mainstream grocers just look on the natural food aisle. I usually buy my Primal Kitchen products from Thrive Market. If you havent tried Thrive Market yet, its like Costco, but for natural products and its all online.
Healthy Salad Dressing Recipes You Should Make At Home
Whenever I tell someone I love healthy food, the first thing they inevitably ask me is if I eat salad all day. Heres the truth for you: I actually dont really like salad that much. I am definitely not one of those people who grab a mixing bowl from the cabinet, dump in a bunch of greens, and happily go to town. I am not a rabbit, and I dont enjoy eating like one.
For me, for a salad to be good, it has to be something substantial. It has to have a great mix of flavors, textures, and really good dressing. I love veggies, but lets call a spade a spadeveggies can be boring-tastic if you dont do something to spice them up a little bit. And a good salad dressing goes a looooooong way to making veggies exciting .
Salad dressings are super easy to make at home, and I think learning how to make your favorite dressing in your own kitchen is a super useful skill to have. Itll save you tons of cash. The markup on bottled salad dressings is CRAZYmost of them you can make for pennies on the dollar.
You can completely control the ingredients. Have you ever cruised the salad dressing aisle and checked ingredient lists? There are definitely some cleaner options out there, but many of them are packed with artificial colors, flavors, and more sugar and salt than is really necessary.
Good for: All kinds of salads, dipping veggies, dipping pizza , honestly, dipping anything.
Good for: Taco salads, marinating shrimp or chicken for tacos, bean salads.
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