Kitchn Love Letters

If You Love Garlic, This Bottled Salad Dressing Is the Only One You’ll Ever Need

published Jul 9, 2021
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Variety of salad dressings
Credit: Joe Lingeman

A few months ago, I received the following text message from one of my best friends, out of the blue, with absolutely zero context: “Garlic Expressions is a vinaigrette to end all other vinaigrettes. It makes you want to eat salad. I’d put it on dirt and eat it.”

Whether you write about groceries for a living or not, real friends should text you weird things like this. (Thank you, Viki: You’re a real one.) But because I am a Grocery Editor, I extra-appreciated this tip — and ordered myself a bottle to corroborate.

According to the Garlic Expressions website, this stuff got its start as the house salad dressing at a restaurant in Ohio, the brainchild of chef Larry Croy, back in the early ’80s. As the story goes, the dressing became so popular with the regulars that they started asking to take home samples. In 1993, Garlic Expressions, the brand, made its grand (bottled) debut. The company is still family-owned and operated in Perrysburg!

If you tend to shy away from bottled salad dressings, I am here to convince you to be more outgoing. There are lots of great ones out there — I should know because I have experience testing many store-bought salad dressings. And I am qualified to share that Viki is indeed right: Garlic Expressions deserves a permanent spot on your refrigerator door.

Credit: Lauren Masur

There’s one thing that makes Garlic Expressions unique (according to Viki, myself, and the many, many fans of this stuff): the fully intact, pickled California-grown garlic cloves floating around in the bottle, along with apple cider vinegar, canola oil, salt, and spices. The dressing is, you guessed it, garlicky. It’s also fresh and bright and kind of sweet and kind of sour. And once you finish the dressing, save the remaining cloves to eat separately (on their own, in a pasta, or in a salad). They’re what makes this stuff truly stand out.

And Garlic Expressions is more than just a salad dressing: You can drizzle it over veggies before roasting, toss it with plain pasta, dunk bread in it, and marinate meat and seafood of all kinds. With that kind of versatility, it’s no wonder so many people love it. Garlic Expressions has nearly 3,000 reviews on Amazon, 90 percent of which are five-star. Don’t believe me (or Viki)? You can sift through some of the testimonials here.

Have you ever tried Garlic Expressions?