Answer: Dressings like Caesar, blue cheese, and Ranch are generally keto, but you should steer clear of sugary dressings like honey mustard and Russian.
Salad dressing is full of flavor. It has to be — a 2 Tbsp serving needs to season an entire plate of lettuce, tomatoes, radishes, and other strong-tasting vegetables. Creamy dressings, such as blue cheese or Ranch, usually contain less than 2 g of net carbs in a 2 Tbsp serving and are keto-friendly. Sweet dressings, such as Russian and Thousand Island, contain as much as 10 g of net carbs and are not keto.
Check out the carb counts in these popular dressings:
|Oil & Vinegar||0 g|
|Blue Cheese||1.4 g|
|Thousand Island||4.1 g|
|Honey Mustard||7.1 g|
Carb counts vary by brand, so check the nutrition facts. Ken's Steakhouse and Newman's Own tend to be more keto-friendly, while Hidden Valley dressings contain more carbs. If you're eating out, a taste test can tell you what you need to know. If it tastes sweet, it isn't keto.
It's easy to make a keto-friendly vinaigrette at home. Blend one part vinegar (any will do) with three parts olive oil. Apple cider vinegar is delicious and carb-free. Balsamic vinegar tastes even better, but it contains some sugar. You'll have to measure carefully.
Watch out for "lite" or low-fat dressings. To make up for the lower fat content, many manufacturers add extra sugar. That's the wrong trade-off for keto followers.
Salad dressing is not a significant source of nutrients. Fortunately, where there's dressing, there's usually a salad. The micronutrients in the salad will more than makeup for a few empty calories of dressing.
There's no hard-and-fast rule when it comes to salad dressing. The right dressing makes a nutritious meal delicious, and the wrong dressing sends you rocketing past your carb limits. To play it safe, stick to creamy dressings like Ranch and Caesar. Some (but not all!) Italian dressings, such as Ken's, are also keto-friendly. For everything else, check the label.
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