A while ago I came across a food blog that was featuring a homemade vinaigrette for salad. The well-intentioned blogger appeared to have a bias against commercial salad dressing, saying that pre-bottled product contains “nasty” ingredients. (Sigh.) What exactly ARE those “nasty” ingredients in pre-packaged salad dressing, and what function do they serve?
Basil Parmesan Vinaigrette:
|Listed Ingredient||Flavor||Appearance||Texture||Other Notes|
|Water||X||X||Contributes to product viscosity (thickness), intensity of flavor, and contributes to stability.|
|Vinegar||X||X||Impacts product stability, and contributes to flavor (and viscosity).|
|Vegetable oils (Extra virgin olive oil, soybean, canola)||X||X||X||Contributes to mouthfeel and product viscosity (higher oil : water ratio usually means a thicker product).|
|Salt||X||Also impacts product shelf life and stability.|
|Red Bell Peppers||X||X||X|
|Lemon Juice Concentrate||X||Also impacts product stability via acidity.|
|Xanthan Gum||X||X||Builds viscosity. More detail here.|
|Phosphoric Acid||A preservative used to maintain product stability.|
|Potassium Sorbate||A preservative used to maintain product stability.|
|Calcium Disodium EDTA||A preservative used to maintain product stability. Can also fight rancidity.|
Nasty or not? You decide. Whether you choose to use pre-packaged salad dressing or you’d rather make your own, you now know why these mysterious ingredients make it into your dressing bottle. Another label, demystified.