Alisa Fleming ~ Several years ago, I gave up purchasing salad dressing as none had ingredient lists that I felt comfortable paying for. Even many of the organic and “all-natural” brands use soybean oil instead of good quality oils, and seriously, what is with all of the added sweeteners? I admit to loving a little honey or maple in my salad dressings, but most brands seem a bit bombarded with sugar and salt.
Then, I received an email about new salad dressings from Vermont Natural Foods. I almost brushed it off, thinking that store bought just wouldn’t measure up, but decided to take a quick peek at their website. I was thrilled with what I discovered … four types of salad dressings all very low in fat, and made without sodium, gluten, soy, artificial colors or flavors, corn syrup, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, AND dairy!
What’s left? Ingredients like extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and real fruit. You know … the things good quality salad dressings are made of …
Sweet & Tangy Balsamic Vinaigrette Ingredients: Balsamic Vinegar, Water, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Honey, Mustard, powder, Xanthan Gum
Shitake Orange-Ginger Balsamic Vinaigrette Ingredients (vegan): Balsamic Vinegar, Water, Extra Virgin Olive oil, Orange juice, Ginger Puree, Shitake Mushroom, Xanthan Gum
Maple Cranberry Balsamic Vinaigrette Ingredients (vegan): Balsamic Vinegar, Water, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Cranberry juice, Maple Syrup, Xanthan Gum
Red Raspberry Balsamic Vinaigrette Ingredients: Balsamic Vinegar, Water, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Raspberry, Honey, Xanthan Gum
As for the taste, all varieties of Vermont Natural Foods Vinaigrette had excellent flavor. They were intricate, but mild, offering more of a backdrop rather than an in-your-face flavor. I do prefer my salad dressing on the bold side, so I often added a splash more of balsamic, or dressed them up with a few other ingredients, but loved them as a baseline for creativity. All of the dressings were also slightly thick and clung to the lettuce nicely. So many vinaigrettes are either too oily or too watery, and end up in a pool at the bottom of the bowl, but not this brand!
Our favorite was the Sweet & Tangy Balsamic for its clean taste and versatility. It went with pretty much every salad, and was good as a marinade for meat and fish.
Following close behind, I really liked the Shitake Orange-Ginger Balsamic. It had a complex yet delicate flavor with an Asian vibe; no heavy soy sauce here! For personal taste, I heightened it with a touch of honey, just to make the flavors sparkle, but even without, it was a delicious and refreshing option.
We liked the Raspberry and Cranberry vinaigrettes also, but my husband and I aren’t big fruit dressing fans, so these didn’t rank as highly for us. Nonetheless, if you are a raspberry vinaigrette fan, definitely give these a go.
Oh, and one last important note … All of the Vermont Natural Foods Vinaigrettes have less than 2 grams of sugar and less than 2.5 grams of fat per 2 tablespoon serving. Unreal! Taking full advantage of the low-oil profile, I've included a tasty low fat and free-from recipe from Vermont Natural Foods below.
For more information, and to purchase Vermont Natural Foods Vinaigrettes, visit www.vtnaturalfoods.com.
Super Low-Fat Roasted Root Veggies
- Vegetables: 1 each: Potato, Turnip, Onion, Sweet Potato.
- Dressing: 2 Capfuls of Vermont Natural Foods Vinaigrette (any flavor will go nicely, but the cranberry maple would be especially delicious)
Preheat your oven to 400ºF
Rinse the vegetables, but there is no need to peel any except the onion.
Cut the vegetables into cubes, or other shaped cuts, making sure the pieces are all around the same size as you want them to cook evenly. About 1-2 inches each should be good. Toss the vegetables with the dressing to coat, and place them on a baking sheet in a single layer.
Roast the vegetables for 45 min to 1 hour. They should be nicely carmelized and crisp at the edges but fork-tender in the middle.
This is a third party review by Alisa Fleming, founder of GoDairyFree.org and author of Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living. Alisa is also a freelance writer for several publications, with an emphasis on creating recipes for various types of special diets.