When made well, vinaigrette is a perfectly balanced dressing that spruces up any salad or vegetable it touches. Because the recipe is so simple—oil and vinegar plus spices—you can start with a basic ratio and tweak it to suit your taste.
Seriously: Vinaigrette is a cinch to make. With our method, you don’t even need a whisk.
How to Make Simple Vinaigrette
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- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 4-1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
Combine the ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid like a half-pint Mason jar. Seal and shake well. You’ll be able to see the mixture emulsify as the vinegar and oil mix. Pour the dressing over a salad and enjoy.
How Long Does Vinaigrette Last?
Leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for a few days. Before serving, shake the jar to re-emulsify the dressing.
Types of Vinaigrette
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Vinaigrette is extremely adaptable and easy to make. Here are just a few common homemade vinaigrette ideas to start with:
- Balsamic Vinaigrette: Combine red wine vinegar, Italian seasonings, garlic powder and onion powder. This vinaigrette is great as a go-to dressing of every day and side dish salads.
- Lemon Vinaigrette: Use olive oil, lemon and a squeeze of honey for a nice dressing that pairs nicely with pear or apple salads.
- Honey Mustard Vinaigrette: Add 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard, 3 tablespoons of honey and a dash of spice to your oil. Use red wine vinegar or apple cider for a creamy vinaigrette that can be used as a dressing or dipping sauce.
- French-Style Vinaigrette: Add zip with minced shallots and garlic with a squirt of ketchup for French dressing. This dressing pairs well with a steak-topped salad.
- Champagne Vinaigrette: Lemon juice, champagne vinegar, mustard and shallot mixed in oil make a refreshing and delightful dressing when added to mixed greens.
- Citrus Vinaigrette: Combine freshly squeezed orange juice (or any other citrus) with red wine vinegar, honey, Dijon mustard and olive oil.
- Strawberry Vinaigrette: Celebrate the warm weather months with a homemade vinaigrette that combines pureed strawberries, lemon juice, cider vinegar, olive oil, poppy seeds and a bit of sugar.
How to Customize Your Vinaigrette
As long as you follow a 3-to-1 ratio of oil to vinegar, your vinaigrette will have the perfect balance of fat and acid. Add spices and seasonings to taste.
- Fat: We prefer olive oil, but free to use a different type of oil. Avocado oil, grapeseed oil, safflower oil, canola or vegetable oil are commonly used in salad dressing. You can change your acid, too.
- Acid: Balsamic tastes wonderful with tomatoes and leaf lettuces. Both red wine and sherry vinegar pair well with hearty greens. White wine, champagne and apple cider vinegar are delicate enough to dress tender baby greens.
- Herbs: Add fresh herbs of your choice. Toss in just one or go for a mix. Softer herbs, such as tarragon, basil and parsley, work well chopped or torn into the dressing. More robust herbs, like rosemary, should be steeped in the vinegar for at least 15 minutes and then removed before you add the oil.
- Seasonings: Go beyond salt and pepper with dried lemon or orange peel, dried mustard, garlic powder, pepper flakes or a salad spice blend
More Helpful Vinaigrette Tips
- If you’re cooking for kids, they may prefer a less vinegary dressing until they get used to the taste. You add a pinch of sugar to your dressing to lighten the acidity a bit.
- If you’re eating food that’s already bitter, such as kale, you might want to use a touch less vinegar. On the flip side, if you’re dressing a rich, starchy food, like potatoes, consider increasing the amount of vinegar.