8 Store-Bought Salad Dressings These Registered Dietitians Always Keep on Hand

published Mar 26, 2022
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A large platter of white bean salad sit on the table next to three small salad plates.
Credit: Kristin Teig; Food Styling: Catrine Kelty

I have a saying: A salad is only as good as its dressing. A creamy, ranch-like dressing or rich vinaigrette elevates a bowl of crunchy romaine or peppery mixed greens. A good dressing can actually make a salad … exciting.

While shaking up a batch of homemade dressing in a Mason jar is relatively quick and easy, stocking your fridge with a variety of options helps keep meals interesting. A balsamic vinaigrette one day and an avocado green goddess the next, store-bought dressings can make the same mix-ins feel fresh and new. Plus, they’re great for marinating meat, chicken, and fish or doubling as dips for chips and raw veggies.  

I asked my fellow registered dietitians for their favorite store-bought salad dressings — the ones they buy on repeat. These are the eight they keep within arm’s reach all year long. 

Credit: Instacart

1. Red Wine Vinegar with Olive Oil

Heather Shasa loves Litehouse Vinaigrettes for their versatility; they can double as both dressings and marinades. “I’ll toss Red Wine Vinegar with Olive Oil Vinaigrette with asparagus spears and roast them in the oven, or use the Balsamic with a bit of honey to make a glaze for salmon,” she says. “I also love how it can help save time in the kitchen.”

Buy: Litehouse Red Wine Vinegar with Olive Oil, $5.49 for 12 ounces at Instacart

Credit: Walmart

2. French Vinaigrette

“It’s a great option for when I’m short on time and don’t feel like making my own salad dressing,” says Dena Gerhskovich, a registered dietitian and founder of Adulting Nutrition. Her absolute favorite? Briannas Homestyle Real French Vinaigrette Dressing. “I love its light, tangy flavor and how it easily enhances most clean-out-the-fridge salads.”

Buy: Briannas Homestyle Real French Vinaigrette, $3.12 for 12 ounces at Target

Credit: Target

3. Fig Balsamic Vinaigrette

“This is a store-bought dressing you want to have in the fridge — plus an extra one on standby in your pantry, too,” says Emily Schiller, a plant-forward and family-focused registered dietitian nutritionist based in the Chicago area. The Fig Balsamic Vinaigrette from Target’s Good & Gather line is her absolute fave. She specifically called it out for providing healthful fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) without added sugar, synthetic colors, or artificial flavors. Plus, “the rich fig flavor of this dressing gives it an elevated twist.”

Buy: Good & Gather Fig Balsamic Vinaigrette, $3.69 for 12 ounces at Target

Credit: Amazon

4. Sriracha Tahini

“This dressing is wholesome and savory and perfect for a grain bowl or leafy green salad,” says Sarah Koszyk, MA, RDN, registered dietitian, sports nutritionist, and author. In addition to the tahini and coconut amino, for richness, and jalapeños and cayenne for heat, she likes that it’s made with extra-virgin olive oil, which is high in those monounsaturated fats referenced above. 

Credit: Walmart

5. Papaya Poppy Seed

“Annie’s brand of dressings are hands-down my favorite,” says Rachel Rothman, MS, RD, CLEC owner of Nutrition in Bloom. She called out the variety available, plus the ingredient lists, which contain whole foods, along with many organic ingredients. “The organic Papaya Poppy Seed dressing has a hint of sweetness and is a perfect addition to a salad when you are looking to surprise your tastebuds.”

Buy: Annie’s Papaya Poppy Seed Dressing, $5.79 for 8 ounces at Instacart

Credit: Walmart

6. Avocado Green Goddess

“I love to make my own dressings, but sometimes you just need a convenient option, says Beth Stark, RDN, LDN, a PA-based nutrition and culinary communications consultant at Beth Stark Nutrition. “That’s when I go for Bolthouse Farms Avocado Green Goddess Dressing, [found in] the produce section of the grocery store. It has a creamy texture and great flavor. My favorite way to enjoy it is on a mixed greens salad with grilled salmon.”

Buy: Bolthouse Farms Avocado Green Goddess Dressing, $5.19 for 14 ounces at Instacart

Credit: Jewel Osco

7. Sweet Basil Vinaigrette

“This dressing is made with quality ingredients and it is a perfect topping for a simple salad,” says Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, LD. “I use it as a quick marinade for chicken breasts for a flavorful protein dish.” It’s part of the company’s line of plant-based dressings, which include Caesar and Ranch, among others.

Buy: Field and Farmer Sweet Basil Vinaigrette, $5.49 for 12 fluid ounces at Jewel Osco

Credit: Walmart

8. Classic Olive Oil and Vinegar

“One of my favorite store-bought salad dressings is Newman’s Own Olive Oil and Vinegar Dressing,” says Elysia Cartlidge, MAN, RD. “It is lower in sodium than a lot of salad dressings out there and contains no added sugar. Plus, it’s versatile enough to go with different types of salads — leafy green, quinoa, and pasta salads are just a few of my favorites.” 

Buy: Newman’s Own Olive Oil & Vinegar Dressing, $2.69 for 9 ounces at Instacart

Don’t see your favorite on the list? Tell us about it in the comments below.