Product: Walden Farms Balsamic Vinaigrette Salad Dressing – $4.99+
You know…up until I started on my new 70/30 Clean Eating plan my sports nutritionist has put me on…I never would have thought twice about enjoying the basically guilt-free products put out by Walden Farms. I mean…I’ve had quite a few salad dressings from their extensive line-up that I have quite enjoyed. And, a couple weeks ago, a bottle of their Balsamic Salad Dressing just happened to wind up on Manager’s Special at my local grocery store. I hadn’t tried this flavor yet…so I figured I’d give it a shot. If I didn’t like it, I wasn’t out much thanks to the reduced price.
So…I initially was introduced to Walden Farms by Rocco DiSpirito in his Now Eat This cookbooks. He uses the calorie free (yes…CALORIE FREE) ketchup in a few recipes as one of the ingredients. I was intrigued. I had seen a few of these Walden Farms products lurking at numerous grocery stores in my area…so…one day I decided to try one of the salad dressings. And…it really wasn’t bad at all. For the record…I have never tried the ketchup.
Anyway…a few salad dressings later…here I was with one of my favorite dressings to have when out at a restaurant. Mostly because it’s safe. Any vinaigrette is normally a safe bet when it comes to dressing up a salad. And I’ve always loved the flavor of a good Balsamic Vinaigrette.
Polishing off the lettuce, tomato, and green peppers from my last CSA bin, I’ve been making quite a few salads this week. Tonight, I needed a new salad dressing. So…out came the Walden Farms Balsamic Vinaigrette Salad Dressing. I tore off the seal and twisted off the cap, taking a light sniff of the bottle. It smelled just like Balsamic Vinaigrette…so that was a good sign.
I put the 2 tablespoon serving size over my salad (yes…I did measure it!) and dove in.
The flavor is authentic. It has the feel, taste, smell…everything a normal Balsamic Vinaigrette would have. Just…this one happens to have no calories (save the trace ones that are always in something you eat or drink…even those zero calorie diet sodas!). I was impressed. I was beyond impressed. It was like having a full-barrel version of this dressing…but without all the fats and calories. Delicious. Amazing. Just what my salad needed to be dressed with. It complimented every vegetable inside my bowl. Two tablespoons almost felt like too much. This was a hearty dressing…while still having that oil and vinegar consistency.
But…here is where my sports nutritionist has ruined me. As I’m feasting on this dressing, I start to wonder how a dressing that is normally made from a wine vinegar and olive oil could exist without calories. Yes…these things run through my mind. So, I turned the bottle over and took a look at the ingredients. They include: triple-filtered purified water, balsamic vinegar, white vinegar, cellulose fiber, salt, dijon mustard, lemon juice, onion powder, garlic powder, white pepper, natural flavors, natural spices, caramel color, xanthan gum, sucralose (SPLENDA!! NOOOOO!), and sodium benzoate. Yeah…first of all…SPLENDA! NO NO NO NO NO!! SPlenda is bad. And bad for you. And now I just want to dump this dressing down the drain and get something real and good and made with natural products. That’s my next problem…cellulose fiber? Sodium Benzoate? Huhwha?
As far as the nutrition panel reads…it’s flooded with zeros. Zero calories, zero fat, zero cholesterol, zero protein, zero fiber, but it does have 260 mg of sodium. This dressing is gluten-free, calorie-free, sugar-free, and fat-free.
But the Splenda thing is really bothersome. I just don’t like it. At all. So…fat and calories aren’t bad for you…you just have to take them in moderation. And so that is how I shall take my salad dressing.
But no longer from Walden Farms. While I appreciate their products and have enjoyed all the ones I have tried…I just can’t continue to put Splenda into my body. Not when I’m trying to better it.
It’s too bad. It really is.