As easy as it is to make a homemade vinaigrette, sometimes I need to eliminate all possible barriers to salad eating -- and that can mean tearing open a pre-bagged salad mix and pouring bottled dressing over the top. So here is a roundup of my favorite bottled salad dressings, for those times when you're feeling super lazy.
My top choice is Brianna's Real French Vinaigrette. This tastes reasonably close to a homemade vinaigrette. It is understated and plays well with all types of veggies, cheeses, and nuts. Try it with greens, crumbled feta or goat cheese, dried cherries, and toasted pepitas.
When I want something a little different and spicy, I generally choose Trader Joe's Asian Style Spicy Peanut Vinaigrette. I am a sucker for peanut sauce in any form, and this allows me to turn my salad into a peanut sauce vehicle. This dressing has the added bonus of being relatively healthy as well: it has 70 calories and 4 grams of fat per 2 tablespoon serving. Try it with baby spinach, red bell pepper, and sugar snap peas.
Finally, I would probably be kicked out of the Hart family if I did a post on salad dressing without mentioning Bernstein's Italian. This was the go-to dressing in our household growing up, so it will always taste like home for me. It is very versatile, and it works as well as a marinade as it does a salad dressing (try marinating boneless, skinless chicken breasts in it for an hour or so before cooking). When the bottle is new and the components are still separated, we generally pour off a couple of tablespoons of oil (which floats to the top), and then shake the remainder to mix well. You can use it to make my mom's famous volleyball pasta salad (so named because it was a staple at our many volleyball tournaments growing up): toss cooked chicken, cooked fusilli pasta, sauteed onions and green bell peppers, defrosted frozen baby peas, and a chopped red bell pepper with Bernstein's and enjoy!