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The Great Salad Dressing Debate!

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Old 03-27-2009, 05:21 PM   #1
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Cool The Great Salad Dressing Debate!

This may have been covered at some point, but as I was eating my salad with my lunch today, I started to think about how my opinions over salad dressings have changed. When I first started eating healthier, I used mostly the very lowest calorie dressings I could so that I could up the toppings on my salad, like having more olives, chicken, cheese, etc. These were usually some sort of fat free vinaigrette. Over time, though, I started observing my nutrition and it turns out that since I was eating low fat/fat free nearly everything, I was running low on fats (sometimes not even 20g per day!), which is easy to do when you're trying to eat bunches of low calorie, high bulk foods like veggies and fruits and low-fat dairy. So, my opinion changed... I slowly went up to low-fat dressings and today on my salad I had full fat green goddess dressing. They also say that the fat in the dressing helps for you to absorb the nutrients in the salad veggies, so that's a plus. If I were eating nuts in my salad or something, I would probably use a low-fat dressing to balance it out.

So what do you do? Do you tend to use the super low calorie fat free dressings? Low-fat? Full fat? I'm just curious.
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Old 03-27-2009, 05:48 PM   #2
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I tend to use the lowfat dressings, but not for the normal reasons. I just started eating salad this year and only have four salad dressings that I like so far, they happen to be low/lower fat. I'm working on finding others I like, but no luck... I'm going to keep trying though!
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Old 03-27-2009, 05:55 PM   #3
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I hate most fat-free dressings. I don't like the chemical taste that most of them have. Also, I'm reducing carbs, so fat is a little bit less of a concern (I use an exchange plan so I'm still controlling portions in all food groups as well as calories).

That being said, I don't try to get the fattiest dressing I can find, I just compromise (but not on flavor). I find that I really like Hellman's olive oil and canola mayonaises (each has 50 calories, instead of the usual 90 - 110), so I make my own ranch dressing by adding dry ranch dressing powder I buy in bulk, and a little skim milk to thin the dressing. For a vinaigrette, I use canola or olive oil and rice wine vinegar and season to taste with garlic, salt, pepper.... Because the rice wine vinegar is less sharp than most vinegars I can use alot more vinegar than oil. The "classic" vinaigrette is two parts oil to one part vinegar. With rice wine vinegar I can reverse the ratio and use two parts vinegar to one part (or even less) oil.

I've stopped using almost all "fake" products (except artificial sweetener in beverages and occasionally sugar-free jello). Instead of using fat-free or reduced-fat cheese, for example I use a much smaller amount of an intensely flavored cheese (Romano, asiago, sharp swiss or cheddar). Grating cheese, it goes a lot further than shredded or sliced.
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Old 03-27-2009, 05:59 PM   #4
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I used to use fat free dressings, but quit for the same reason as kaplods. I started reading the labels and wasn't really sure I wanted to put that in my body. I use only all natural dressings and avoid anything with artificial or chemical enhancers. I don't mind full fat dressings as long as it's good fat and I measure. But my favorite of all is pure balsamic vinegar and a tiny amount of olive oil. I use old balsamic that is thick and sweet and nothing can taste any better
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Old 03-27-2009, 06:46 PM   #5
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I hate low fat dressings and low fat sour cream. I have full fat on both. I love Olive Garden's dressing. It's two points per two tablespoons, which I am able to stretch a long way on a huge salad.
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Old 03-27-2009, 06:49 PM   #6
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I tend to make no-fat dressings, but I make them myself, so there are no chemicals. For a while now I've used a cornstarch/water solution (you boil 1 cup water with 1Tbsp cornstarch) in place of oil. I've had to adjust some recipes (a little less pepper), and a touch of honey. However, I make a point to get plenty of other fats in my diet. I'll take hummus in the afternoon as a snack, and use butter if I'm frying a couple of eggs.
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Old 03-27-2009, 08:04 PM   #7
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Full fat dressings. I mean, I don't care if they have more broth or vinegar to reduce the portion of oil, as long as it's done well. But I have never tried a store-bought reduced fat dressing I liked enough to take a second bite. Plus their ingredient lists get yucky.
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Old 03-27-2009, 08:14 PM   #8
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This was always such a debate for me. I too HATE the taste of fat free dressing. It definitely has that funky chemical aftertaste. I then went the fat free balsamic vinaigrette which is basically just balsamic vinegar. I then started just making my own with olive oil and vinegar and spices. I missed the creaminess though.... I was ready Bob Harpers weightloss book and saw that he recommended a brand called Galeos (Jillian recommends as well) I went to my local Cub foods (whole foods carries it too) and picked on up. OH MY GOODNESS BEST SALAD DRESSING EVER!!!!!!!! The Caesar is sooo good. only 14 calories per tblspoon, 1g fat, 56mg sodium. Every ingrediant is natural (I can spell and pronounce them all!!!) The dressings are made out of Soy. Totally YUM!!

You should check them out for sure. galeoscafe.com
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Old 03-27-2009, 09:09 PM   #9
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I make my own salad dressings. I almost never buy salad dressing. Most of the time I make full fat vinegarettes, varying the oil and vinegars I use (walnut oil and raspberry vinegar is my current fave.) I don't like my salads swimming in dressing, so I use only 1/2-1T per salad.

There are too many weird ingredients in most salad dressings (especially the low-fat and fat-free ones.) Plus, homemade dressing tastes worlds better than the bottled stuff.
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Old 03-27-2009, 09:43 PM   #10
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I use salsa the majority of the time. Otherwise, regular ranch or blue cheese, limited amounts, or oil/vinegar.
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Old 03-27-2009, 10:10 PM   #11
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Homemade salad dressings, sauces, dips and even pickles are easy to make. I have several hundred salad dressing, barbecue sauce, dip and pickle recipes (haven't tried them all, most found online) and have invented quite a few myself. There are tons of recipes online. Condiments are often so expensive, it's cheaper and a lot more fun (well, for me, anyway) to make at home.

I love pickled baby corn, but they're $4.00 for an 8 oz jar (and the list of ingredients contain sugar). Last week, I bought a 17 oz can of baby corn for $1.12 in the oriental grocery (where they're cheapest in town). In a resealable plastic tupperware-like container, I mixed Splenda, white vinegar, rice wine vinegar, and a pinch of onion powder. I drained the corn and added them to my vinegar mixure, and allowed them to marinate in the fridge for a couple days before eating - instant refrigerator pickle for less than 1/3 the price (I buy my rice wine vinegar in the oriental store too, because I get a quart for the price of a 10 oz bottle anywhere else).

I'm a bit of a condiment fiend, although I'm careful which ones I buy, because there are many that are easily made by what I already have on hand like:

Steak Sauce (ketchup, dash of liquid smoke, worcestershire sauce or thai fish sauce - dash of hot sauce optional)

tartar sauce (mayonaise, dill pickle relish or diced dill pickle, grated or diced onion)

cocktail sauce (kethchup, horseradish optional - dash of lemon or lime juice and/or hot sauce).

teriyaki sauce (soy sauce, garlic or onion powder, ginger sweetener (white wine, pineapple or other fruit juice or pinch of Splenda).

1000 Island dressing or dip (ketchup, mayonaise, pickle relish, grated onion)

salsa ranch dressing or dip (mayo, ranch powder, and Pace Picante sauce or other salsa).

salsa sour cream dressing or dip (just mix salsa and sour cream)

blue cheese dressing or dip (mayo, sour cream, grated onion, strong blue cheese - the stronger the blue cheese, the less you need to use, so I look for the cheese with the most and darkest colored marbeling).

When I can make just enough for one salad (so I can have a different dressing every day), it's really hard for me to even consider buying a bottled dressing, no matter how good it looks. Instead of investing $3 or more in a dressing I may not like, I can spend about 10 cents and just mix up my own in about 20 seconds. Using the canola or mayo (50 calories a tablespoon) as a base, and thinning it with skim milk, vinegar, lemon juice or even water, I can have creamy dressings when I want them (even all of the creamy style recipes above, while I didn't list a thinner, I almost always use one, unless I'm using it as a dip). Most of my life, creamy dressings were always on the nono list. I still tend towards vinaigrettes as a result, but it's nice to be able to have a salad that tastes like an indulgence without being a calorie disaster.


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Old 03-28-2009, 01:06 AM   #12
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^^nice list of dressings and ingredients. Thanks.

I too read labels. My mantra is - if I can't pronounce it - I don't eat it.

My salads get balsamic vinegar and a tsp of olive oil.
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Old 03-28-2009, 02:17 AM   #13
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I make my own, too. After I tried homemade, I couldn't go back to regular dressings. They're so much better! Oil (sesame, walnut, olive, etc), vinegar, and spices is all it takes. So worth it.
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Old 03-31-2009, 09:54 PM   #14
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I don't use prepared dressings anymore. I just put a few dashes of flavored vinegar on my salad (fig-flavored vinegar is my favorite). I usually add fats in the form of whole foods, such as avocado or olives.
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Old 04-01-2009, 07:07 PM   #15
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I use bottles dressings since every member of my family likes something different. Dad likes basalmic vinagarettes, mom's a Caeser person, and my brother won't touch anything but ranch. I tend to go fro light dressings over anything else; to me, they're the best balance between calories and flavor.
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