Italian dressing is an American icon. It is a beautiful tribute to the Italian people and their rich culture, and it is a must-have for every kitchen.
Many who love Italian dressing appreciate how quickly it can be made. But, it is not perfect and you could need some substitutes for it.
What is the best substitute for Italian dressing? The best substitute for Italian dressing is Greek dressing. Greek dressing offers a similar taste and flavor profile, thanks to its composition of ingredients that are very much like those in Italian dressing. There are a few differences here and there, but Greek dressing is definitely the most ideal substitute.
An Overview of Italian Dressing
Contrary to its nomenclature, Italian dressing doesn’t actually originate from Italy. It’s an American creation, and it has grown into a staple among pastry lovers. It only got its name because it was inspired by Italians, who appreciate extra virgin olive oil in their recipes – as well as some oregano and basil.
Today, Italian dressing works in different ways. It is a great addition to salad dishes, and some even use it sometimes in meat and fish recipes. Many people also love it because it is pretty popular – unlink several other dressings, which can’t easily be found.
One of the many benefits of Italian dressing is the fact that it is pretty easy to make. It’s actually one of the simplest forms of salad dressing to make, especially if you have all the ingredients at home and ready to go.
Primarily, you won’t be able to make Italian dressing without some olive oil (especially the extra virgin). You can also add some vinegar – maybe red or white wine vinegar. You will also need to get some Italian seasoning and throw it into the mix. This makes your recipe stand out, while components like basil, oregano, and garlic will help to give the dressing its iconic savory and strong taste – as well as the lovely herb-based aroma.
Keep in mind that recipes for Italian dressing tend to vary. So, you will need to find a version of it that works for you. Some people even add ingredients like Parmesan or sugar. Whatever rocks your palette, feel free to apply it.
Why Substitute Italian Dressing?
- Allergies: Italian dressing contains several ingredients that could cause allergies, with its herb-based constituency, you will need to be careful while taking it and watch for allergies.
- Taste differences: If you don’t like the taste of Italian dressing, you could find a substitute that will work perfectly for your recipe instead
Options for Italian Dressing Substitutes
Best Overall Substitute for Italian Dressing: Greek Dressing
If you’re looking to go all out on a substitute for Italian dressing, we will recommend that you use Greek dressing instead. It is similar to Italian dressing in many ways, starting with the fact that it is also a vinaigrette. So, in terms of application, both are really very similar.
Greek dressing also comes with a lot of similar ingredients to Italian dressing. It is primarily made of extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar (some recipes could call for white wine vinegar). Then, there are Mediterranean seasoning options like oregano and garlic that help to give Greek seasoning a distinct taste.
With a very similar ingredient profile, it should come as no surprise that Greek dressing and Italian dressing taste significantly alike. Even though the regular Greek dressing recipe doesn’t contain any basil, the presence of oregano means that you can find all those lovely aromatic notes.
But, you should note that Greek dressing tends to come with an additional tangy taste. This is because the recipe comes with some mustard, which you don’t have in Italian dressing.
Best Substitute for a Change of Taste: Herbes de Provence
Herbes de Provence is an iconic French mixture that has been used for quite a long time. It is incredibly fancy, and it’s got a lot of praise from people who have been able to use it in their dishes.
Herbes de Provence was initially used to refer to herbs that have been grown in France’s Provence region. It became popular decades ago, with a combination that includes some of the most fundamental herbs in the Italian dressing recipe. But, Herbes de Provence goes even further, adding spices and herbs like sage, fennel seed, summer savory, and lavender.
So, instead of relying significantly on oregano and basil like Italian dressing, Herbes de Provence features an assortment of spices and herbs. In some recipes, you could even find names like rosemary and thyme. For meats, vegetables, marinades, and more, Herbes de Provence is more than impressive to have with you.
If you’ve got some lavender in your Herbes de Provence, you should note that it could alter the flavor of the entire meal. Lavender’s flowery taste notes might be too sweet for regular dishes, and you don’t want that to affect your recipe. But, if you’re making a vinaigrette or using the herbs to marinate your fish or meat, you could add some lavender. Just be careful with the proportions and you should be fine.
Best Readily Available Substitute: Balsamic Vinaigrette
If you’ve got a dish to make and can’t get your hands on some Italian dressing, balsamic vinaigrette just might be the substitute you need. Like Italian dressing, it relies on olive oil and vinegar to bring out its flavor. Then, you could add some Mediterranean ingredients to the mix to make your recipe shine even better. With so many similar ingredients, it’s easy to see why balsamic vinaigrette works as a good substitute for Italian dressing.
The classic balsamic recipe includes balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Additional seasonings can include garlic, onions, and Parmesan.
While they are similar, you should know that there are some flavor differences between these two vinaigrettes. Balsamic vinaigrette uses balsamic vinegar instead of wine vinegar, so it has more of a fruity taste profile. It is also much sweeter than Italian dressing, and the addition of mustard to the balsamic vinaigrette recipe offers a hint of tanginess to it.