By Tami Weiser
No more bland lettuce and dull veggies. Trader Joe’s has five, yes five, dressing that should be on your shelf or in your fridge right now. These dressings pack in the flavor along with a nutritional profile we can seriously get behind. With options that nix the sugar, pack in the probiotics, and ante-up the veggies, this roundup is about to change your grocery shopping game for the better. Given TJ’s strong track record, why not give them all a shot and liven up your cooking for salads and beyond with the twist of a bottle cap.
Green Goddess Salad Dressing
Green goddess dressing is an old school favorite thanks to it’s big herby flavor that comes with a sunny, citrusy edge. This version has even more zip from a dash of apple cider vinegar, and a creamy texture from its avocado base. Consider it the gold standard for a prepared, refrigerated, vegan, low carb, low fat, low-cal herbaceous dressing. Seriously, it does it all! This green goddess dressing tastes similar to an herby pestos, but with a few tweaks — like adding plenty of chives and mint, in addition to the classic basil. This dressing is equally terrific on pasta or a roasted veggie and rotisserie chicken leftovers salad.
Why it’s good for you: With a meager 20 calories for 2 tablespoons, no added sugars, around 1gram of carbs, and 2 grams of fat from olive oil — this salad delivers flavor without sneakily adding extra fat or sodium. Drizzle it with abandon!
How to use it
- As a dip: Add some to Greek yogurt and you’ve got a bright dip for crudites.
- In a spread: Add a little to cream cheese or mashed avocados and you’ve got a spread, just as good on celery sticks as it is on a toasted whole wheat bagel.
- To upgrade sandwiches: Try some in your egg or tuna salad for a change of pace.
Carrot Miso Ginger Dressing
That delicious bright orange dressing on your salad whenever you get sushi is a carrot-ginger number and it’s always hit with folks of so many ages thanks to its sweet and savory combination. Trader Joes has created a fresh grab-and-go version that’s ready for a salad, a wrap, as a dip for dumplings or as a chicken marinade.
Why it’s good for you: Clocking in at 60 calories for a 2 tablespoon serving, with no added sugar (the carrots add 1 gram of naturally occurring sugar), no fat sats, no trans fats and no cholesterol, means you’re getting all the flavor from what you see in the title — carrots, salty-savory miso, and zingy ginger.
Almond Butter Turmeric Dressing
Another dressing in the fresh refrigerated section, this a very creamy, filling dressing. The turmeric gives the dressing a savory, earthy, mustardy quality that pairs exceptionally well with hot and spicy foods, especially Indian and East Asian foods.The backbone is, of course, the almond butter, which creates a balanced taste for the big bright flavors of fresh ginger, garlic and lemon zest.
Why it’s good for you: At 60 calories for a 2 tablespoon serving, this vegan dressing offers 2 grams of protein, no cholesterol, 4 grams of fat, and only 1 grams of added sugars, this is a lively, healthy option.
How to use it: Try it on some soba noodles, spaghetti squash or oodles of zoodles with a few edamame to crank the protein up for a fast dinner. It’s also great on leftover chicken, turkey or plain white fish. It’s equally delicious over a simple meal of lentils and rice.
Organic Cucumber Kefir Dressing
Kefir is a thick, dairy drink, loaded with probiotics. With a little mild organic sunflower oil, the splash of organic white and red vinegars and the never-fail charms of dill paired with dairy, this dressing has a hidden addition that makes it so vibrant: gobs of delicious, organic cucumber purée. The cucumber adds texture and plenty of clean refreshing taste to the tart and tangy kefir base.
Why it’s good for you: For a 2 tablespoon serving, there’s zero saturated fat, 0 trans fat, 0 cholesterol, 2 grams of carb, and 2 grams of sugar — stemming only from the kefir itself. It’s a bargain of health and flavor for only 50 calories.
How to use it: However you use ranch dressing, but it’s also great on baked sweet potatoes and as a slaw dressing.
Organic Toasted Sesame Dressing
Last but not least, this sturdy dressing. The toasted sesame flavor is surely the central theme but it’s rounded out with soy sauce for added depth and umami. It does contain both eggs and wheat, so if you avoid those, this dressing isn’t for you.
Why it’s good for you: For a 2 tablespoon serving, this toasted sesame dressing contains a robust amount of fat (13 grams) including some 1.5 grams of saturated fat, but no trans fat or cholesterol. For a soy sauce rich product, it only has 200 mg of sodium, which makes it a reasonable choice for most. The 3 grams of sugar come from added brown sugar and molasses that rounds out the dressing. Although it may not be quite as much as a nutritional champ as some of the others, this self-stable dressing is a great addition to a pantry and a great item to reach for when you want something more luxurious to drizzle over roasted veggies.
How to use it: Thanks to it’s big flavor and heft, think of this dressing as more of a dipping sauce — especially for many TJ’s pre-made items like summer rolls or smoked salmon. Stir some into Greek yogurt and serve alongside a platter of roasted veggies and watch them instantly disappear.