Traditional Italian dressing is a simple combination of oil and vinegar; however, to spice it up you can also include garlic and Italian herbs like basil and oregano.
Only the Red Kelly’s Tasmania and Maleny Cuisine get the green light for sodium. However, the Maleny Cuisine is the sweetest across all categories with a staggering 42.5g of sugar per 100g. Interestingly, the most expensive dressing in this group is the Coles Italian Salad Dressing at $2.40 per 100ml. On the other hand, the cheapest, Woolworths Homebrand Italian Dressing 99% fat free, gets the same overall score from the triallists and costs less than a quarter of the price.
In our taste test we found:
- The tasting panel seemed to like the presence of herbs, with dressings described as having a “herb” taste tending to receive higher overall scores. Other descriptors that had a positive impact were “oily” and “smooth.”
- Dressings that were described as “watery” or “bitter” tended to receive lower overall scores.
- Maleny Cuisine was the worst for this group. While it has an equal overall rating to the Praise 100% fat free it came out significantly worse on individual flavour and texture scores. Its texture was described by 71% as “watery” while 69% were on the mark when describing its flavor as “sweet”.
Italian dressing recipe
Once again we recommend making your own - not only can you control the amount of salt that goes into the dressing but you can add as many or as few herbs as you want, or even choose to simply use olive oil and vinegar. Here is Fiona’s recipe, costing $1.00 per 100mL.
(makes one cup)
- ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup red or white wine vinegar
- ½ clove garlic, finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Optional: Add 1 tablespoon of fresh parsley to the dressing just before serving. You can also substitute one tablespoon of balsamic vinegar for one tablespoon of white vinegar if you like.
- Combine all ingredients in a jar and shake until mixture is slightly thickened.
Note: The dressing can be stored in the refrigerator for several weeks. The oil will solidify but bring the dressing back to room temperature and shake well to bring back to normal consistency.
This recipe contains per 100g:
Total fat - 72.3g (red)
Saturated fat - 10.2g (red)
Sugars - 0.01g (green)
Sodium - 124.6g (amber)
In comparison to the supermarket dressings, this recipe is lowest for sugar and one of the lowest for sodium. However it's the highest for total fat and saturated fat in comparison to the supermarket dressings. Most of the supermarket dressings use water as their first ingredient which is why their formulations are lower in fat.