Summer is salad time, and supermarkets have shelf after shelf of salad dressings.
Consumer Reports tested and rated 50 bottles of America’s favorite Italian, ranch, and Caesar dressings looking for dressings that are well-blended and have fresh-tasting ingredients. Some are not so hot! The lowest-rated dressings have stale off-notes or harsh flavors.
For example, Kraft Classic Caesar is overwhelmed by black pepper, and Whole Foods 365 Organic Caesar is quite sour, with a thin texture.
NBC 5 contacted Whole Foods about Consumer Reports' findings. Karen Lukin told NBC 5 all of the private label products at Whole Foods Market are tested and feedback is collected from trained taste testers as well as regular customers when selecting the final product formulation.
"We are surprised with the report's findings. We are proud of our organic product, and the fact that it contains no trans fats and no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives—and we think our shoppers appreciate that too! Our shoppers love this product—it’s one of our top three best-selling dressings in our 365 Everyday Value line," said Lukin.
There are many different types of recipes for Caesar dressing, but it definitely should have Parmesan cheese, and it can have garlic and eggs, and mustard and even a little citrus. Consumer Reports found that one of the best Caesar dressings is Marie’s Creamy. It’s well-blended with quality ingredients.
And the top Italian? Ken’s Steak House did well because of its simple and clean oil and vinegar flavors. Give it a shake before you use it because it separates easily.
America’s favorite dressing of all is ranch. And Consumer Reports’ testers found five they rated very good. Two from Walmart are Best Buys, GreatValue Classic and Great Value Classic Light, with half the fat. They’re both 10 cents per serving. Other recommended ranch dressings: Marie’s Creamy, Hidden Valley The Original and Marzetti Classic.
To keep your salad on the healthy side, add a little dressing at a time, mix, and taste. You’ll be surprised how little you need for a great-tasting salad. And check out these recipes to make dressings at home, which taste even better and cost less.
Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars & trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports’ website.