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Shake it up! The 8 best salad dressings

From balsamic to ranch, Real Simple magazine lists the  zesty dressings that make it easy to turn over a new leaf.
/ Source: TODAY

Just what is a Real Simple road test? It's a process in which real people try real products in real situations (think kitchens, bathrooms, living rooms, bedrooms — without a lab coat in sight). The result? Recommended products that satisfy the testers and, most important, you.

Choosing an exciting salad dressing can be a frustrating process. Often it is too gloppy or oily, too salty or too sweet. To make it a bit easier, Real Simple sampled 139 different dressings and ended up with 8 that stood out. Free of MSG, high-fructose corn syrup and Trans fats, and full of all natural ingredients, these dressings provide the perfect flavors to mix up your salads.

The “big and bold aromatic flavors” in this dressing put one taster in a creative mood: “I’d pair it with greens, chicken, and mandarin oranges,” she said. Another loved the delicate crunch of the sesame seeds. It’s so good that one fan was moved to beg, “More salad, please!”
To Buy: $4.50 for 12 ounces.

Best Balsamic“Thick and delicious” was the general consensus on this lush blend of honey, balsamic vinegar, garlic, and Dijon mustard. “There’s just the right level of acidity and a nice, surprising sweetness,” noted a volunteer. Said a second, “The Mediterranean taste would be great on a Greek salad.”
To buy: $4.70 for 12 ounces.

Best Blue Cheese
Kraft Blue Cheese Dressing and Dip
“This is the real deal,” declared a panelist. “Great for drizzling on a wedge of crunchy iceberg or dipping wings into.” Said an enthusiast, “It tastes comforting, like the version I grew up eating.” “It’s like a drug,” confessed another. “The more I eat it, the more I like it.”
To buy: $4 for 16 ounces.

Best Ranch
Cardini’s Parmesan Ranch Dressing
“I love the crazy pepperiness,” said one tester. “This is what you hope ranch dressing will taste like, but it usually doesn’t.” Added a devotee, “With this dressing, a salad could be a meal — it’s so rich and savory.” The creaminess makes it a great pick for kids, observed one mother.
To buy: $4.30 for 12 ounces.

Best French
Briannas Zesty French Dressing
“I like the spicy edge and the lovely orange color,” enthused a panelist about this dressing made with red and green bell peppers and paprika. “This would rock on tomatoes,” said a second. “Sweet and zingy, with a great flavor punch! Much livelier than the usual French dressings on the market.”
To buy: $4.70 for 12 ounces.

Double Winner! Best Italian and Best Light
“It’s herby, with a good balance of vinegar,” said a tester of the intense flavor, which made it the all-around favorite of Italian dressings, light and otherwise. “Although on first impression this blend looks oily, it tastes great — like a house vinaigrette at a nice restaurant,” remarked another tester.
To buy: $5 for 16 ounces.

Best Caesar
Everyone in the group was wowed by the “tangy,” “cheesy” flavor of this blend. A departure from the traditional creamy style, it’s made with extra-virgin olive oil, anchovy paste, Parmesan, and lemon juice. “I’ve never met a bottled Caesar I liked, but I’d buy this one,” said a convert.
To buy: $3.49 for 12.5 ounces.

Best Vinaigrette Garlic Expressions Classic Vinaigrette “This is so fresh and lively, it really adds a spark to lettuce,” observed one tester of this stellar standby. A combination of canola oil, apple cider vinegar, garlic, and black pepper, the dressing was declared “rich, nuanced, and delicious — a great substitute for homemade.”
To buy: $4.99 for 12.5 ounces.

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