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What's the best bottled Italian salad dressing - oil type and not creamy?

Any great bottled Italian dressings out there that are oil based and can be used on salads and for marinade?

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  1. The best oil type Italian salad dressing is the one that you make yourself. Good olive oil based vinaigrette dressing is dead simple to make. You whip up only what you need for the moment and you leave out the 16-syllable chemical additives. Commercial salad dressings are generally pretty lame and Italian dressings are absolutely the worst of the bad: oversalted, bitter, strange aftertastes.

    2 Replies
    1. re: mandycat

      Yes. I like homemade best, but I like to keep a back up bottle on hand for busy nights.

      1. re: mandycat

        But that was not the question. The question was for a bottled dressing.

      2. My go-to is Kraft Zesty Italian. I use it for marinades, drizzle it on sandwiches, etc.... Having said that, Paul Newman's Family Recipe Italian is pretty good, too.

        1 Reply
        1. I got a great Light Italian from TJ's. I think it was the house brand. No additives or hard-to-define ingredients. It was light simply because it had less oil.

          1. Mandy's comment notwithstanding, if you have access to the President's Choice brand, their Balsamic dressing is very good. The ingredients are oil, including extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and various natural flavourings. The only ingredient I wouldn't add to a dressing I'd make at home is "xanthan gum", which is described in Wikipedia thusly:

            "A practical use would be in salad dressing: the xanthan gum makes it thick enough at rest in the bottle to keep the mixture fairly homogeneous, but the shear forces generated by shaking and pouring thins it, so it can be easily poured. When it exits the bottle, the shear forces are removed and it thickens back up, so it clings to the salad."

            No sixteen letter weird tasting artificial ingredients in this Balsamic dressing. I use it all the time when I'm in a hurry.

            1. Since you asked for recommendations on bottled dressings and not a recipe to make your own, here's another vote for the various Newman's own varieties. Like FrankD said, the only ingredient besides oil, vinegar, water and seasonings is xanthan gum.

              2 Replies
              1. re: cookie monster

                My wife, an inveterate Italian dressing lover, adores my homemade; but Newman's Own dressings are a good second, she says. She's very fond of the original and the balsamic. Plus, profits go to do good.

                1. re: cookie monster

                  I like all of these as well. The raspberry and walnut (light) is particularly nice, as is the balsamic one.

                2. It's been years since I bought bottled vinaigrette - homemade is cheaper, it tastes better, and it's bonehead simple to make. But before I developed confidence in my own dressing-making skills, we'd often have a bottle of La Martinique in the fridge. Good flavor, and the only ingredients were oil, vinegar, salt, garlic, and spices.

                  1. I like my Italian dressing to be robust with flavor so I use the Good Seasons dry mixes and then play with all my vinegars and oils, adding some things like lemon juice, mustard, and herbs. The mix seems to give it that stick-ability to the greens that I need.
                    I used to buy Wishbone Robusto or Paul Newman's Balsamic. My taste buds must be dying b/c a regular recipe Italian dressing isn't tasty enough for me and my family.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: bayoucook

                      +1 for Good Seasons. Also Ken's Northern Italian Light and Newman's Lite con limone

                      1. re: junescook

                        That Ken's Northern Italian is excellent. I don't know that I've ever had a better bottled dressing.

                      2. re: bayoucook

                        I grew up on those- and had forgotten about them. I always liked them, maybe I'll go buy some, and hope they have a nice carafe included like they used to.

                      3. I think this brand might only be available on the West Coast, but I've liked every Bernstein's dressing I've tried, and I love their Light Cheese Fantastico (the only light dressing I've ever thought was worth buying again). There's a "regular" version, too: http://www.birdseyefoods.com/scripts/...

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                          I love Cheese Fantastico! It use it often as a pasta salad dressing and always get raves. It's a little more zippy than a lot of italian dressings.

                        2. Another vote for Paul Newman's. I like the light balsamic vinaigrette or the balsamic with roasted garlic.

                          1. I make my own too. However, Wishbone Italian is my sentimental favorite, although it may not be the “best”.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: cuccubear

                              Can you tell me where I can find Wishbone salad dressing in Toronto??

                              1. re: greatchef

                                Sorry greatchef, I really can't, never been to Toronto. Maybe this will help...

                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/4677...

                            2. My new favorite is Kraft sundried tomato vinaigrette made w/ extra virgin olive oil. It's very zesty!

                              1. It's not ready made but I like Good Seasons Italin that you mix yourself. All you need is oil and vinegar and your done.

                                1. I like Ken's Italian dressing and so does my daughter. Other than that I also recommend the Good Seasonings, but you do have to mix it yourself. It is not bottled.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: danhole

                                    I like the Ken's Zesty Italian - LOVE to use it as a marinade for virtually anything!

                                  2. I use Good Seasons for some things, but for salad I really like Kraft's Roasted Red Pepper Italian - very nice flavor when I want a prepared dressing. Also use the Zesty Italian in a pinch for marinades & salads.

                                    1. I know you asked for Italian dressing, but I have to recommend Farmer Boy Restaurant Greek Dressing. Not sure where you're located, but it is made in Clearwater FL and available locally. You can also order it on their website. Fantastic bottled vinaigrette with NO preservatives.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: LJBTampa

                                        LJBTampa, I have to agree with you on FBR Greek dressing. We found it in a super-discount store for .99 cents. We tried it and LOVE it , hard to believe it is fat free. I later found it at our local grocery store chain, with was 3.99 a bottle! Should have stocked up when it was .99 cents.

                                        1. re: kpaumer

                                          I bought a bottle of the FBR Greek dressing and found it to be quite sweet, with hardly any vinegar tang. It's good, but what I'd consider vinaigrette. Or maybe I chose the wrong bottle. Some of the bottles looked like they were half oil, but the other bottles seemed more homogenous. I chose a homogenous one figuring it would be lower fat. But maybe that's why it's so sweet. I wish it had be .99 cents!

                                      2. Yet another vote for Newman's Own dressing.

                                        1. Litehouse, Red Wine and Olive Oil. Next to my own, I like this one.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: chef chicklet

                                            Ginger and sesame dressing, made by Litehouse is also go..Try a salad with spinach or mesculin, cabbage slaw, (I used turkey today) mandarin orange, apple, and cilantro. Pretty tastry and super quick to throw together.

                                          2. Newman's Own Oil and Vinegar if you must use bottled. My favorite dressing mixes come from Homemade Dressings--all natural ingredients, no sugar or chemicals. You can buy it on Amazon:

                                            http://www.homemadedressings.com

                                            1. La Martinique vinaigrette is amazingly good, as is La Martinique blue cheese vinaigrette.

                                              7 Replies
                                              1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                It can't be a time issue, it takes me less than fifteen seconds-olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and oregano poured over the greens. And you can make a jar for the week and just give it a good shake. It may be faster than opening the fridge door, taking the bottle cap off, pouring it on the greens, putting the cap back and and opening the fridge door again!

                                                1. re: johnlockedema

                                                  Again -- the question was not "is homemade better?" The question was "best bottled". There are all sorts of reasons, some of them quite reasonable, to use a bottled dressing sometimes.

                                                  And come on -- 15 seconds? Maybe if you already have gotten the oil, vinegar, and seasonings out of the cupboard and measured. Maybe. But that's not going to be a very stable dressing.

                                                  1. re: jmckee

                                                    I have olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and oregano on the counter. Measure? I've made salad for decades, who measures? Glug glug oil, sprinkle of vinegar, twist peppermill and salt mill, and a shake of dried oregano. Done faster than it took me to type it.

                                                    1. re: johnlockedema

                                                      Have tried your way and measuring the oil and vinegar and it always tastes/balances better when I measure. Only adds the seconds to pull a spoon out of the drawer and then toss it in the sink. <g>

                                                      1. re: pasuga

                                                        The main thing I do is to be sure to put any herbs or seasonings in the vinegar first, so they hydrate, then add oil.

                                                        1. re: pasuga

                                                          That's way too complicated, I'd have measure the greens first too!

                                                        2. re: johnlockedema

                                                          but -- AGAIN -- the question was not "homemade" it was bottled.

                                                  2. My favorite bottled vinaigrettes are Girard's original and La Martinique True French Vinaigrette. I know neither of them are "Italian," but they might be what you're looking for, since you mentioned oil-based as a criterion.

                                                    4 Replies
                                                    1. re: operagirl

                                                      Actually, I'm realizing I don't know what makes a vinaigrette Italian as opposed to something else. Is it oregano? And maybe French needs tarragon or dill or some such?

                                                      1. re: Bada Bing

                                                        Well, in Italy, you would salt the greens and herbs (more than people in the US typically would), add oil (more than people in the US typically would) and dressing with good vinegar (probably less than many people in the US wood, but the vinegar might be better...) I think the proverb is to be prudent with salt, liberal with oil, and stingy with vinegar. It's not a vinaigrette in the French manner.

                                                        nd the French vinaigrette has mustard to emulsify it (and some French home cooks might use potato starch as an additional or alternative emulsifier).

                                                        1. re: Karl S

                                                          I recognize the Italian approach that you mention, which I like a lot. But I take it that Americans and maybe Anglos have a different idea about what Italian non-creamy dressing involves.

                                                          Maybe it's another facet of Italian-American versus Italian, probably one of this site's most heavily worked thread topics.

                                                          1. re: Bada Bing

                                                            Well, in this case, I suspect it's more about the influence of bottled dressings (and the idea of that the dressing is the star of the show, rather than a supporting member of the cast). When I was growing up in NY, at Italian-American restaurants, salad dressing consisted of cruets of oil (salad oil, not good olive oil) and vinegar (not great). You seasoned and dressed it yourself. We used bottled "Italian dressing" only for marinades.....

                                                            nd, of course, "French" dressing was something closer to what passes as Catalina dressing nowadays: sweet-sour, ketchup-infused. And very orange. Of course, many keystrokes have been devoted to tracing the history of that development, and re-inventing it....

                                                    2. I've always been partial to Wishbone's Robusto Italian. I love it, and I use it for my pasta/orzo salads as well!
                                                      But any other salad dressing my go to brand is Ken's so I'm sure Ken's oil based italian is very good too.

                                                      1. Seven Seas Viva Italian is good for a bottled dressing. It's got more vinegar than most, which I like.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                          I see that Cooks Country also liked Seven Seas Viva Italian best among the bottled dressings (albeit in 2004). Their overall favorite, however, was the Good Seasons package which you mix with your own oil, vinegar and water. I haven't tried any of these, but I might do so soon: where something's good and convenient, I like to have it around.

                                                          1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                            I love Seven Seas Italian on a cold cut sub! Been doing it since I was a teen.

                                                            Seven Seas used to make a Green Goddess dressing that my Mother loved. She still mentions it every so often. They don't make it anymore. Or, at least I have never been able to find it.

                                                            1. re: Riatta

                                                              I have been VERY happy with these.

                                                            2. Hands down.... Marzetti Sweet Italian.

                                                               
                                                              1. I don't buy salad dressings, but I do recall liking something called "Garlic Expressions" at someone's place once, and that was basically an Italian-style oil-and-vinegar dressing with seasonings.

                                                                1. Agreed, homemade is best, however, I have recently discovered Rao's Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette. It is light and not full of all those fake herb funky flavors of Kraft, Wishbone, etc. And don't serve it on the side. Toss it on the salad and serve. A salad is always much better when it's properly tossed with the dressing.

                                                                    1. My vote is for Good Seasons.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: dave_c

                                                                        @ dave c: I have to agree...their Zesty Italian has less sodium than their other Italian...I always add some other fresh herbs...or change up the vinegar...great stuff...OH...or add some fresh lemon juice...fab!

                                                                      2. Does Caesar dressing count as Italian? I'm a big fan of Newman's Caesar-the oil & vinegar base.