I usually make my own vinaigrette; after all, it’s healthy, takes just a few minutes, and allows me to be creative and to customize my dressing to my salad. (One of my secrets: Even though, in cooking school, I learned to use a 3:1 ratio of oil to acid, I prefer a more tart and less greasy ratio of 2:1, sometimes even 1:1.)
Still, bottled vinaigrette is ideal for 20-minute dinners or–when attractively packaged–even gifts. Now more than ever, you’ll find lots of delicious products, many natural-tasting, innovative, and perfectly balanced in flavor (the goal with dressings).
For the June/July issue of Everyday with Rachael Ray Magazine, I tried nearly 200 vinaigrettes (we didn’t cover creamy dressings). In addition to the five products that won (Lucini Italia Fig & Walnut Savory Balsamic Artisan Vinaigrette, Wild Thymes Raspberry Salad Refresher, Cindy’s Kitchen Lemon and Shallot Vinaigrette, Newman’s Own Family Recipe Italian, and Kraft Light Asian Toasted Sesame Reduced Fat Dressing), there were several stand-outs (see below for a listing by category).
Post-tasting, the brands I personally was most wowed by include: Brianna’s, Lucini Italia, Wild Thymes, Seeds of Change, and Cindy’s Kitchen (all fabulous, for the most part, across the board).
Categories in the article:
Balsamic: Lucini Italia Balsamics (Roasted Hazelnut & Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Cherry Balsamic and Rosemary, and Tuscan Balsamic and Extra Virgin Olive Oil), Brianna’s The New American Creamy Balsamic, Cindy’s Kitchen Balsamic, Ken’s Chef Reserve Honey Balsamic, and Wild Harvest Roasted Garlic Balsamic
Berry: Wild Thymes Salad Refreshers (Black Currant and Pomegranate) and Makoto Raspberry Pomegranate Ginger
Citrus: Wild Thymes Meyer Lemon Salad Refresher and Maple Grove Farms Citrus
Asian: Brianna’s Ginger Mandarin, Wild Thymes Toasted Sesame Wasabi, Cindy’s Kitchen No Sugar Carrot and Ginger, Cindy’s Kitchen Deeply Roasted Sesame, Schoolhouse Kitchen Ginger Lime, Cardini Roasted Asian Sesame, Litehouse Toasted Sesame Ginger, Marzetti Asian Ginger, Olde Cape Cod Fat Free Toasted Sesame Soy and Ginger, and Trader Joe’s Sesame Soy Ginger
Italian (not Balsamic): Seeds of Change Italian Herb, Annie’s Roasted Red Pepper, Wish-Bone Mediterranean with Feta and Lemon, Trader Joe’s Tuscan Italian, Marzetti Sweet Italian, Wish-Bone Bruschetta Italian with Tomato and Basil, and Wild Harvest Rustic Italian
Categories we didn’t have room for in the article:
Tropical Fruit: Bragg’s Hawaiian Fat Free Passionfruit/Pineapple and Wild Thymes Salad Refreshers (Mango and Passionfruit)
Tomato/Roasted Red Pepper: Seeds of Change French Tomato, Seeds of Change Roasted Red Pepper, Wild Thymes Tuscan Tomato Basil, and Annie’s Roasted Red Pepper
Other: Lucini Italia Delicate Shallot and Cucumber, Brianna’s Champagne Caper, Brianna’s Rich Santa Fe Blend Fat Free, and Brianna’s Blush Wine