Perfect Vinaigrette Dressing

January 8, 2014

It's the beginning of the year, which means many of us may be eating more salads than ever. Since my husband and I are both trying to get rid of these last few pregnancy pounds, as well as show our 4-year old daughter how yummy eating healthy can be, we've been eating plenty of greens. Instead of store-bought dressings I've been whipping up tasty vinaigrettes to top our salads; they're fresher and healthier, and surprisingly easy to make.

Vinaigrette Dressing 
½ cup oil, such as extra virgin olive, soybean, canola, or grapeseed
½ cup vinegar, such as white or red wine, champagne, balsamic, or cidar 
salt and pepper to taste

Throw oil and vinegar into a blender or whisk until emulsified. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If you prefer less of a vinegar taste you can use ¾ cup of oil and ¼ cup of vinegar.

Of course, the above instructions are for the simplest vinaigrette, but you can always add chopped shallots or garlic, fresh or dried herbs, dijon mustard, or even cheese to make a more flavorful dressing. Here are some variations:

Mustard Vinaigrette
Add 1 tablespoon dijon mustard and whisk

Herb Vinaigrette
Add 1 tablespoon dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, and ½ teaspoon dried herb of your choice and whisk

Italian Vinaigrette
Add 1 tablespoon chopped parsley and ½ teaspoon each of chopped garlic and dried oregano

Tips for the Perfect Vinaigrette
  • The acid in vinegar will react to aluminum bowls and give the dressing a metallic taste, so use stainless steel or glass when whisking vinaigrette.
  • For the best tasting vinaigrette, make sure all ingredients are room temperature before mixing. 
  • Let the flavors meld for at least an hour before serving. If the oil and vinegar separate, simply whisk again.
  • To help keep the oil and vinegar from separating on your salad plate, add  about 1 teaspoon of honey before mixing. This will also give the dressing a sweetness that balances the tart vinegar.  Add more if you want. (Honey and balsamic taste excellent together, by the way.)

photo by Angelica Golden

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