Dressings 101 – Flavorful and Healthy Solutions

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Green Basil and Sage with herbs chopper and bottles of Balsamic vinegar with virgin olive oil


salad dressing

Why do we use dressings?

Dressings are able to add flavor to meals, most commonly found on salads. There is not a particular dressing that everyone uses. Instead, dressings are picked based on the flavor preference: sweet, sour, tangy, or even spicy. Just to name a few salad dressings, there’s ranch dressing, Italian dressing, French dressing, blue cheese dressing, Asian Ginger dressing and the list goes on. However, the two most common ingredients found in dressings are olive oil and vinegar. Olive oil works as the base of salad dressing, while vinegar is able to add flavor.


Olive Oil

Olive oil is made by pressing down olives and extracting the oil. For extra virgin olive oil, the process to make it is the same, except the maximum acidity in it is 1%. Extra virgin olive oils are not the same; the taste can be different depending on the type and quality of the fruit as well as where it was grown and harvested.

Green Basil and Sage with herbs chopper and bottles of Balsamic vinegar with virgin olive oil


Vinegar is a diluted liquid of acetic acid, obtained from a fermentation process. Vinegar is used for cooking in many ways, such as marinating meats and fruit and making sauces just to name a few. Vinegar’s health benefits include stabilizing blood sugar and absorbing nutrients.


Vinegar comes in different forms, like vinaigrette. The word vinaigrette originates from the French world vinaigre, which means vinegar. Vinaigrette did not become established until the end of the nineteenth century. Vinaigrette dressings have become popular over time because of the sweet and spicy flavor profiles it provides. Vinaigrette is made by mixing oil with something acidic, such as vinegar. It is most commonly found in salad dressing, but can also be used for marinades.

Wine Vinegar: Red and White

Another form of vinegar is wine vinegar, which comes in either red or white. Red wine vinegar is low in calories and does not contain fat. Adding red wine vinegar to salads or pasta salads adds flavor, without adding fat and calories. Red wine vinegar also contains trace amounts of iron, potassium and vitamin C, which all leads to a healthy life. It can also be used to marinate meats and vegetables, giving it an extra, healthy burst of flavor. White wine vinegar is aged to a less acidic form of vinegar. White wine vinegar helps regulate blood sugar, and can also help with a sore throat. White wine vinegar is used in marinades and also for herb vinegars.

Colavita’s variety of wine vinegars has been made from naturally aged selected wines and is all gluten free.

Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic vinegar is made from the unfermented juice of grape must. The entire grape must be pressed, including the skin, stem and seeds. Balsamic vinegar is able to give flavor with a few calories, just like red wine vinegar. Balsamic vinegar is most popular with salad dressings, but is able to give flavor to marinades and sauces as well.




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Colavita Premium Selection Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the perfect every day oil with delicate flavor that has the perfect balance of fruity and spicy notes. It is an ideal oil for virtually all of your cooking needs, from light sautéing to drizzling over your favorite dishes.

Colavita Limonolio

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Colavita Limonolio Extra Virgin Oil

Ripe olives and fresh lemons are pressed together to create this Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil inspired by the fragrant lemon groves of Italy’s Mediterranean coast. Colavita Limonolio’s bright, zesty lemon flavor adds zing to salads, sautés, marinades, chicken, and fish dishes.

Colavita Truffolio

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Colavita Truffolio

 Truffle Flavored Extra Virgin Olive Oil boasts an infusion of Italy’s treasured truffle. Drizzle Colavita Truffolio into pasta and risotto dishes and let the truffle’s characteristic aroma and rich, earthy flavor shine. Truffle Flavored Extra Virgin Olive Oil adds dimension to mushroom dishes and sauces.


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Aged Red Wine Vinegar

Fine and aromatic, this naturally aged wine vinegar has been produced according to traditional methods of aging selected wines for long periods in wooden barrels. Gluten free.


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Prosecco White Wine Vinegar

This authentic Italian white wine vinegar has been produced from grapes cultivated in the Valdobbiadene area, dedicated to the production of Prosecco White Wine, according to traditional methods of aging select white Prosecco wine in wooden barrels. This naturally aged vinegar has a light and fruity flavor with a tart taste profile, which pairs perfectly with salads, fish, and fruit dishes.


Colavita White Balsamic Vinegar

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White Balsamic Vinegar

This special white vinegar combines the rich flavor of age-old balsamic vinegar with the light, fruity taste of white wine vinegar resulting in the perfect condiment. It is sweet and delicate, and your prepared dishes will maintain a clear and fresh appearance.


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Colavita’s Balsamic Vinegar of Modena IGP embodies the sweet, fruity flavors of Trebbiano grapes. In addition to salad dressings, try adding balsamic vinegar to slow -cooked foods like soups or beans, or use as a deglazing liquid for meat based sauces.


Shrimp and Spring Pea Pasta Salad


This recipe features Colavita’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil which is used throughout the entire process of making this salad, perfect for any season. The recipe can be found here.

Farmer’s Market Farro Salad with Strawberries

farro salad

Since it is strawberry season, this recipe calls for strawberries, Colavita’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Colavita White Balsamic Vinegar. This combination brings out the flavor of farro and the sweetness of strawberries.

Orzo Salad with Grilled Chicken

Orzo Salad with Grilled Vegetables and Chicken

Colavita’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Colavita Chardonnay Balsamic Vinegar work together to bring flavor to the chicken, asparagus, and and zucchini. This recipe can be found here.

Garden Vegetable Salads with Preserved Lemons

Garden Vegetable Salad with Preserved Lemons

This  recipe brings out the zesty taste of lemons with the help of Colavita’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil in the dressing.


Italian Tofu Salad

Italian Tofu Salad

The special dressing calls for Colavita Raspberry Wine Vinegar, which gives this salad an extra kick.

Balsamic and Rosemary Dressing


This dressing uses Colavita Organic Balsamic Vinegar, which makes it perfect for a summer day.

Farro and Salmon Salad with Beets, Greens, and Mint Dressing

Farro and Salmon Salad

This recipe uses Colavita Aged White Wine Vinegar to bring out the mint and honey flavor of the dressing.

Summer Salad with Blackberry Balsamic Dressing

Summer Salad with Blackberry Dressing

This  summer salad dressing uses Colavita White Balsamic Vinegar to make the dressing both sweet and refreshing.

For more ideas and inspiration, check out our Pinterest Board on: Dressing and Marinades