No salad is ever complete without a good salad dressing. And it’s always good to know how to make a versatile salad dressing that will complement most of your favorite salads.
Italian dressing is one of such multi-purpose sauces. But what is it made of?
Does Italian dressing have dairy? Vinaigrette-style Italian dressing doesn’t contain any dairy. The main ingredients in Italian dressing are water, vinegar or lemon juice, vegetable oil, herbs, and spices. But the creamy variation of this dressing is not always dairy-free. It typically contains milk or sour cream.
Continue reading to learn everything about Italian dressing and its varieties. You will also get to know what are the best dairy-free Italian dressings you can buy.
What Is Italian Dressing?
Italian dressing is a popular vinaigrette-style salad dressing. The primary ingredients in such vinaigrette-style dressings are vinegar, lemon juice, and oil. And Italian dressing is not an exception.
But it contains a range of other ingredients too. They create the unique flavor of this multi-purpose dressing.
You may be wondering why it’s called Italian dressing. This is because of the seasonings used in the dressings, including oregano and basil.
The flavor of Italian dressing is very rich. It is zesty and tangy, with hints of sweetness and herbal notes. Being so light and herbaceous, Italian dressing is very versatile.
You can use it for green fresh salads and pasta dishes. This dressing is so flavorful that you even use it to marinate chicken, beef, vegetables, and more!
Italian dressing is easy to make. However, not everyone has time for it.
Additionally, sometimes you put together a quick bowl of salad and all you need is a dressing to tie everything together. Luckily, the all-purpose Italian dressing is available in stores too.
What Is Italian Dressing Made of?
Italian dressing is made of the following ingredients:
- Vegetable oil
- Lemon juice or vinegar
- Bell peppers (chopped)
- Corn syrup or sugar
- Herbs (oregano, dill, rosemary, etc.)
- Spices (salt, black pepper, etc.)
But there are different takes on this dressing. Each variation may contain different ingredients along with the ones above.
Does Italian Dressing Have Dairy?
As you can tell by the ingredients, regular Italian dressing doesn’t contain any dairy.
If you have bought a bottle of Italian dressing and are not sure if it contains dairy or not, there are two things you can do.
First, you can try doing research and make educated guesses. Second, you can try contacting the manufacturer to make sure the dressing doesn’t contain any dairy.
But the easiest thing you can do to avoid consuming dairy is to simply buy Italian dressing that has the dairy-free label.
Does Creamy Italian Dressing Contain Dairy?
There is a creamy variation of Italian dressing that contains milk and stabilizers. Some recipes also make the dressing creamy with the help of sour cream.
So, if you come across Italian dressing with a creamy texture, the chances are high that it contains dairy.
Ken’s Creamy Italian Dressing, for example, is one of the most popular Italian dressings you can buy, and it does contain dairy. There is an ingredient called sour cream solids in this creamy Italian dressing.
These solids are composed of various dairy products, including cream, nonfat milk, buttermilk, and skim milk.
But if you want your Italian dressing to be creamy yet dairy-free, go with a recipe that uses mayonnaise.
So, most creamy Italian dressings are not dairy-free and vegan. The mayonnaise-based Italian dressing is dairy-free but is not vegan if it’s made with traditional mayonnaise. This is because raw eggs are used to make real mayonnaise.
If creamy Italian dressing is all you want but you also need to keep it vegan, you can use a blend of cashews and white beans as a base for the sauce.
Is Italian Dressing Vegan?
Homemade Italian dressing that doesn’t contain any dairy is surely vegan. But you should be more careful when using store-bought Italian dressing. The dressing may be labeled as dairy-free but it may not be vegan.
So, whether you are eating vegan or have a dairy intolerance, it is recommended to carefully read the ingredient list of commercially manufactured Italian dressings. They may contain ingredients that you would want to avoid.
Here are the key ingredients to pay attention to when it comes to store-bought Italian dressing.
- Milk. Italian dressings containing milk won’t be labeled as vegan. But as Italian dressing is usually dairy-free, you may think that all Italian dressings are vegan if they aren’t the creamy type. But manufacturers may add milk to the dressing not to make it creamy but add weight and fat to it.
- Cheese. Cheese is another common ingredient often added to salad dressings. Parmesan is a variety often used in dressings to enrich their flavor and texture. So, if you are keeping it vegan and dairy-free, look out for cheese that may be in the Italian dressing you are buying.
- Egg Yolks. The problem with vinaigrette-style dressings is that the oils and water used to make them don’t mix. So, the dressing keeps separating. To prevent this, brands may add egg yolks into the sauce. Egg yolk is a great emulsifier, but it does make the sauce non-vegan.
- Fish. Fish is not an ingredient commonly used in Italian dressing. But commercially manufactured Italian dressing may contain Worcestershire sauce. The latter may contain anchovies.
The 5 Best Dairy-Free Italian Dressings You Can Buy
Here are five options for dairy-free Italian dressing. Whether you are looking for the traditional-style Italian dressing or the creamy type, you will find many great options in this list!
1. Wish-Bone Zesty Robusto Italian Dressing
Wish-Bone makes one of the best Italian dressings you can buy. If you want to have this versatile dressing in your fridge at all times, then this Zesty Robusto Italian dressing is a great choice.
This dressing is made with soybean oil and distilled vinegar. It also contains garlic, onion, red bell peppers, oregano, and a few other ingredients that provide its robust flavor.
There are no artificial flavors and preservatives in this Wish-Bone dressing. The brand doesn’t use high fructose corn syrup either.
Use this dressing to add flavor to all your favorite salads, including pasta salads and fresh greens. You can use it for marinades too if you don’t have time to prepare your own marinade mixture.
2. Tessemae’s Classic Italian Dressing and Marinade
Another dairy-free and vegan option for a delicious classic Italian dressing.
This classic Italian dressing by Tessemae’s doesn’t contain any dairy products. It is also vegan and gluten-free. And what’s more important, this salad dressing is sugar-free.
As you know, there is corn syrup in the original Italian dressing recipe. But you might want to use this multi-purpose sauce without consuming any sugar.
If this is the case for you, then Tessemae’s Classic Italian dressing is your best bet.
Nearly all ingredients in this dressing are organic and the product itself is Climate Pledge Friendly.
3. DAIYA Creamy Italian Dressing
The creamy variation of Italian dressing is almost always made with dairy products. Sour cream and other dairy products are used to enhance the creamy texture of the dressing.
If you enjoy Italian dressing in its creamy form but want to avoid dairy, then this Creamy Italian Dressing by DAIYA is an option to consider.
This plant-based Italian dressing is all-natural and GMO-free. It doesn’t contain any gluten, eggs, soy, peanuts, or shellfish.
Lacking all the common allergens, this DAIYA Italian dressing fits the diet of most people.
Thanks to its creamy texture, this dairy-free dressing works great not only as a salad dressing but as a dipping sauce too.
4. Healthy Choice Plant-Based Creamy Italian Dressing
Another great option for people looking for creamy Italian dressing that doesn’t contain any dairy.
This plant-based Italian dressing by Healthy Choice is slightly different from the traditional version of the dressing.
The base ingredient of this sauce is cauliflower puree which makes it keto-friendly too.
The dressing also contains sunflower oil, Italian herbs, vinegar, dried tomatoes, and basil. There is no sugar added to this dressing.
Drizzle this creamy dairy-free Italian dressing on your salads. Use it to add extra flavor to sandwiches, wraps, toasted bread, and vegetables.
5. Ken’s Steak House Italian Dressing and Marinade
While Ken’s creamy Italian dressing is the favorite Italian dressing of many people, it is not dairy-free. Luckily, the brand makes the dairy-free version of the popular dressing too.
The main ingredients in this salad dressing are canola oil and distilled and apple cider vinegar. The manufacturer also adds garlic and onion for the classic flavor of this dressing.
Ken’s Steak House Italian dressing can be drizzled over salads and pasta dishes. But you can also use it to marinate meat and vegetables.
This Italian dressing is also gluten-free and kosher.