Russian dressing is arguably the most important part of Russian salad. Its creamy taste and rich flavor make the Russian salad – which is already pretty great – much better.
But, while most people are fine with Russian dressing, you could always try something else for a change.
So, what is the best substitute for Russian dressing? Sweet Catalina dressing is the most ideal substitute for Russian dressing as it shares a lot of similarities with Russian dressing. With the same ingredient, sweet Catalina dressing offers a similar taste and flavor profile. That is definitely enough for it to take the crown.
An Overview of Russian Dressing
Russian dressing is a lovely, flavorful relish that helps to add a distinctive taste to different recipes. While it is especially famous in salads, it actually works for different types of recipes.
As the name suggests, Russian dressing originates from Russia. It is usually a combination of ketchup and mayonnaise, complemented with other ingredients like mustard, horseradish, pimentos, and others.
Russian dressing comes with a lovely flavor and a predominantly creamy taste. Most people also add some tomato sauce to make it a bit more peppery and add a sharp punch to it. Thanks to its distinctive taste, Russian dressing works for dishes like salads, sandwiches, and more. You could even try it in a chicken dish to see how it will tastes.
Why Replace Russian Dressing?
- Calorie content: If you’re watching your weight or concerned about the feeding habits of your kids, Russian dressing might not be the ideal menu choice.
- Non-availability: Russian dressing isn’t available everywhere. If you need it but can’t find it, then you’ll need a substitute to work instead.
Options for Russian Dressing Substitutes
Best Overall Substitute for Russian Dressing: Sweet Catalina Dressing
Sweet Catalina dressing takes the top spot on our list of the best substitutes for Russian dressing. Like Russian dressing, sweet Catalina dressing also originates from Russia. At the same time, sweet Catalina dressing has the same major ingredient as Rusian dressing – ketchup, or, in some cases, tomato sauce. Sweet Catalina sauce also contains condiments like Worcestershire sauce or paprika.
Even if you’re trying to make it for the first time, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll get sweet Catalina sauce wrong. It has a sweet and tangy taste that will make your meals much better.
The only major difference here is that sweet Catalina sauce is usually thinner than Russian dressing. This is because it contains oil instead of mayonnaise. That whiteness just isn’t the same.
As explained, sweet Catalina sauce comes with a tangy and creamy oil-and-vinegar base. This makes it especially great as a relish for dishes like chips, tortillas, pasta salad, and more.
Interestingly, you can make your own sweet Catalina sauce. All you need is paprika, tomato ketchup, olive oil, and Worcestershire sauce. Mix the ingredients in a blender until you get a creamy sauce. Add some salt to taste and store the entire thing in a fridge to cool down. Just like that, you’re ready to go.
Best Taste-Based Substitute: French Dressing
If you’re trying to mix the creamy texture of Russian dressing with the tangy, sweet taste of sweet Catalina dressing, French dressing is the way to go. This is actually one of the most popular substitutes for Russian dressing, and it is truly an impressive thing to have.
French dressing is made of wine vinegar, tomato sauce, and sugar. With mayonnaise also being present, it captures the creamy taste quite well. If you would like to have that pungent taste, then you could add some chili sauce or chili powder to the mixture as well.
Besides its lovely taste, French dressing also adds impressive color to your dish. Mix it with some green salad, and you have a tasty and healthy dish that is simply irresistible.
Note, however, that the addition of chili might make the sauce a bit too hot. So, you want to watch how much chili you add to the mix.
Best Healthy Substitute: Honey Mustard
Honey mustard is an ideal Russian dressing substitute for health reasons. French dressing contains a high calorie content, and you definitely want to make sure that this doesn’t affect anyone – especially kids and people trying to watch their weight. So, you have honey mustard standing in.
As explained, honey mustard is especially great for kids. They love something sweet, so it fits. Since you’re giving them something healthy as well, you win on all fronts.
Even better, honey mustard is easy to make. You don’t need to go through any steeping or long processes to make honey mustard. All you need to do is whist mustard with some Dijon and add honey and apple cider vinegar. Stir it together slowly, then add some olive oil in there. As soon as you get the proper dressing thickness as you want, add pepper and salt at your discretion and you’ve got your honey mustard ready to go.
Honey mustard works as a dressing for different recipes, and it is also great with sandwiches.
Best Available Substitute: Thousand Island Dressing
Last, but certainly not the least on this list, is thousand island dressing. One of the most famous American dressings available, thousand island dressing is pretty much everywhere. If you need something to work in a pinch, this is your choice.
As you can expect, thousand island dressing comes with many of the same ingredients as Russian dressing – including mayonnaise, ketchup, and Worcestershire sauce. However, pickles are added into this mix, providing a much creamier texture and sweeter flavor than Russian dressing. With its taste, thousand island dressing is great for salads, Reuben, and as a relish for different dishes.