I've mostly given up on bottled salad dressings except as a last resort. The dressings you can make yourself are significantly better tasting and lack the excessive preservatives, stabilizers, sugar, fat, salt, and other bad things that can wreck your diet and health. The bottled dressings also can be quite expensive and run up your grocery bill fast. Instead of buying the commercial stuff, I'm sold on mixing up quick vinaigrettes--mostly just oil, vinegar, and seasonings. Occasionally, though, I opt for creamy dressings like this low fat creamy Parmesan option. The dressing is thick, velvety, and full of flavor without a huge amount of fat. I add the dressing to whatever vegetables and herbs I have on hand, mix them up, and then serve the vegetable salad atop lettuce leaves. Keeping the lettuce and vegetable mixture separate means the lettuce won't get soggy before serving time. Also, if I have extra vegetable salad left over, minus the lettuce, it will keep well for several days in the refrigerator--a bonus for another day when I need a salad in a hurry.
Low Fat Creamy Parmesan Dressing and Vegetable Salad -- Serves 4+
1/2 cup of low or fat-free plain yogurt
1/4 cup of low-fat mayonnaise
1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon of onion powder
1/4 teaspoon of lemon pepper
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped yellow or orange bell pepper (or a combination)
1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
1 pint of cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
2-3 green onions, chopped
1 large handful of fresh parsley (about 1/2 cup) washed well and chopped
Lettuce or fresh spinach (optional)
In a salad bowl, whisk together the yogurt, mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, onion powder, and lemon pepper until smooth. Add the remainder of the ingredients and mix everything well. Refrigerate the vegetable mixture for at least an hour, if possible. Serve the vegetable salad atop lettuce or fresh spinach, if you'd like.