Until you’re familiar with the gluten-free lifestyle, mealtimes can be tricky. It’s Summertime, and nothing beats a fresh, crisp salad in the warmer months. And is a salad really complete without something to dress it up? From ranch dressing to vinaigrette, to oil – there’s a lot to choose from. The real question is, do salad dressings have gluten? Today’s post will be looking at naturally gluten-free products and gluten-free alternatives to get set for Summer.
Which Dressings Are Naturally Gluten-Free?
According to Saveur, the 5 best dressings are
- Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Thousand Island
- Green Goddess
But do these salad dressings have gluten? Let’s take a closer look at recipes to do yourself, and recommended shop-bought brands.
Ranch Dressing – Does It Contain Gluten?
Ranch dressing is probably the most popular dressing to liven up a salad. It’s creamy and has a bit of a bite. Here’s some good news – the leading shop-bought ranch dressing is naturally gluten-free. That’s right, Hidden Valley is free from gluten (and is also suitable if following a keto diet!). Not all of the Hidden Valley range is gluten-free – so always remember to check the label before purchasing.
If making your own dressings is something you want to try, here‘s a homemade, delicious-sounding ranch dressing (inspired by Hidden Valley) to try making yourself. Most of the ingredients needed will already be sitting in your pantry – so get cooking!
Balsamic Vinaigrette – Does It Contain Gluten?
Balsamic vinaigrette is a personal favorite, and always a go-to when having a salad. It’s quite sharp but has an underlying sweetness. Luckily for us, it is almost always gluten-free!
Although not certified gluten-free, Kraft Balsamic Vinaigrette has no gluten-containing ingredients and is recommended by others following a gluten-free lifestyle.
Balsamic vinaigrette is so simple to make though; so it would probably be easier (and cheaper) to make this one at home. It’s also low-fat, helps digestion – and can even give you a glowing complexion! Read more about the benefits here.
I’ve found a recipe which only contains four ingredients – it doesn’t get much easier than that!
Thousand Island – Does It Contain Gluten?
Although I prefer thousand island as a dip, it does taste delicious on a salad. It’s creamy, sweet and tangy – and has the perfect amount of heat. Thousand Island can be a tricky one, as many will contain Worcestershire sauce, which is definitely a no-go.
Again, Kraft has a gluten-free thousand island dressing if what you’re looking for is quick and convenient.
The recipe I found uses sun-dried tomatoes, instead of ketchup. This will make the dressing taste even more summery.
Green Goddess – Does It Contain Gluten?
Green Goddess is similar to the ranch; in the vein that it’s cool, fresh, and creamy. It’s again, mayonnaise-based – but I think all the best ones are!
To buy in a store can be quite expensive, but Primal Kitchen’s dressing is certified gluten-free, sugar-free and has no dairy.
Here’s a recipe to try yourself – it contains anchovies, which gives the dressing a salty, earthy flavor. If fish isn’t your thing, or you have a separate fish allergy, it’ll be just as tasty without.
French Dressing – Does It Contain Gluten?
French dressing is widely available. It’s another personal favorite! It’s tangy, sweet – and bursting with flavor. Not only perfect for salad but also works well as a marinade. Multiple-purpose dressings are just what we need for summer.
Kraft again, offers a gluten-free, highly rated French dressing. Making this one yourself is just throwing ingredients into a blender, and it’s good to go. This recipe takes just five minutes to prepare. It’s low sugar, and super easy.
Warning Signs When Shopping
Salad dressings shouldn’t even need to contain gluten, but many do. Mainly for extra flavor, and for thickening. Let’s take a look at some of the warning signs when browsing the shelves.
- As always, look out for BROWS (Barely, Rye, Oat, Wheat, Spelt) on any ingredients label. All of those are gluten-containing and bad news for us.
- Malt vinegar and soy sauce are sometimes added for flavor to dressings. This should be clearly stated on any food label though, so will be easy to keep an eye out for. Soy sauce is usually in Asian-style dressings. Malt vinegar isn’t usually the vinegar of choice for dressings – but it’s always best to check.
- A wide range of products use gluten-containing agents to thicken up dressings. Look out for “food starch”, and the arch-enemy “flour”.
- The more artificial a dressing, the more ingredients it contains. Dextrin, maltodextrin, and artificial flavorings are some warning words.
Nowadays, brands are usually super aware of gluten and everything is clearly labeled to make shopping as easy as possible for us.
Shopping can be an overwhelming time; especially when newly diagnosed. Here’s a list of gluten-free salad dressing brands to make the experience less daunting:
- Brianna’s Gluten-free Salad Dressings
- Hidden Valley
- Ken’s Steakhouse
- Maple Grove Farm’s
- Newman’s Own
You can find out more about each of the brands listed above in this great article, here.
Get Salad Dressing Ready
Try not to worry too much when it comes to purchasing dressings. If you’re unsure about a certain product, Google is your oyster and likely to give you any answers that you need. If you’re still not feeling confident, fresh is probably best. Most of the dressings listed above are quick and easy to make, so it needn’t be stressful.
The list of dressings above is by no means extensive! There are hundreds to choose from if the ones listed above aren’t what you’re looking for. Honey mustard, coconut, Italian, Caesar – just to name a few.
What salad dressing do you opt for? Are there any brands or recipes you’d recommend our readers trying? I would love to hear from you. All this salad talk has made me hungry, so I’m off to make my own – with dressing, of course.