Here's What Salad Lovers Say Is Their Preferred Dressing - Exclusive Survey

If we know one thing about salad dressing, it's that it's not just for salads. Ranch or honey mustard is divine on chicken tenders. There's something akin to thousand island dressing on a Big Mac, and Italian dressing can be a simple, delicious marinade for either chicken or pork. But have you ever wondered why we put dressing on salads? And no, it's not just because they make greens more palatable (though that is certainly a valid reason).

It turns out, according to Farrington's Mellow Yellow, that you "shouldn't eat a salad naked," meaning without dressing, of course. Salads are typically good sources of vitamins A, D, E, and K, all of which are fat-soluble, and that means without dressing, our bodies have trouble absorbing these important vitamins. Denver Health Medical Plan agrees, pointing out that we don't actually need much oil to help absorb nutrients, so the right amount of dressing for one cup of salad should be around one to two teaspoons. As for Tasting Table readers' dressing preferences, we asked 567 of you which is your preferred salad dressing: ranch, thousand island, honey mustard, vinaigrette, Caesar, or Italian. Which salad dressing did most readers prefer?

There's a clear favorite, with 34% of votes

The number one favorite dressing, by a landslide, is ranch, which received 193 votes. Ranch dressing dates back to the 1950s when plumber Steve Henson created the dry mix while working in Alaska, according to the New York Times. Steve and his wife eventually opened a guest ranch, which they called Hidden Valley Ranch, where visitors clamored for the powdered buttermilk-based dry spice mix to take home and use in their own kitchens.

The rest of the salad dressings in our poll lagged pretty far behind. Versatile vinaigrette got 18% of votes, thousand island is in third place with 13%, and Italian is in fourth with 12% of the votes. Caesar dressing brought in 11% or 65 votes for fifth place, and honey mustard is in last place with 64 votes. Whether you're using your salad dressing for wings or to boost your salad's nutritional power, it's clear that most readers are reaching for ranch.