Back to Basics: Making a vinaigrette

I’m always amazed when I walk down the aisle in the supermarket that contains the salad dressings. How does one choose?? There are hundreds! Kraft now even sells an “Anytime” dressing that can be using for salads, as a dip, or as a marinade. You can also bathe with it, its moisturizing properties are out of this world. Ok, fine, that last part I made up. But you get the point. With all these dressings available it gets me thinking if most people know how to make a simple vinaigrette themselves and why they don’t make their own when it’s so simple!

I grew up eating salad with just plain old extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. There wasn’t another option. This is what I come to like, what I prefer, and what I crave even now that I’m older. Don’t get me wrong, I like a nice thick, creamy ranch sauce when I’m chowing down on some wings or a sweet honey mustard sauce to dip my french fries in, or even a tangy blue cheese dressing on a wedge salad, but when it comes to my everyday salad I am a simple girl.

This vinaigrette is so easy to make and is void of the sugar, high fructose corn syrup, monosodium glutamate, calories, and other unpronounceable ingredients found in so many store-bought dressings.

A small mason jar is the easiest way to make this but you can also use a cylindrical tupperware if you don’t have a jar available. The main thing is that you want a leak proof container because you’ll be fulfilling that unrealized dream of being Tom Cruise in Cocktail and shaking that container for a hot minute or so. You can also do this in a medium-sized bowl using a whisk to emulsify the ingredients. Remember that oil and vinegar don’t like each other so whatever vessel you use to combine the ingredients you need to make sure that you can mix them very well and create an emulsion.

Feel free to tailor this recipe to your tastes. You can add whatever herbs (rosemary, oregano, etc) you like, fresh lemon juice, minced shallots or onions, or even honey! Play around with different recipes and you’ll never crave that store-bought goop again!

Here’s what you need:

3 parts of extra virgin olive oil to 1 part vinegar (balsamic or red wine seems to work best)

I’m using 3 tbsp of olive oil and 1 tbsp of vinegar. Remember–tailor it to your tastes!

1.5 tsp of Dijon mustard or stone ground mustard (this helps the emulsification process)

pinch of salt/pepper/herbs, shallots (optional)

Here’s what you do:

If you’re using a jar then combine all the ingredients and shake, shake, shake.

If you are making it in a bowl then combine the vinegar, salt, pepper, herbs, shallots, and mustard. Slowly pour in the olive oil as you whisk vigorously and voila!

This can be kept in the fridge for a week or so. Make sure you take out the dressing approximately an hour before you intend to use it because the oil will coagulate when it’s refrigerated. Once it’s back at room temperature, whisk briefly to combine ingredients again and serve immediately.

Happy cooking!!




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Categories: Back to Basics

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2 Comments on “Back to Basics: Making a vinaigrette”

  1. Peter
    June 4, 2013 at 7:13 pm #

    Sometimes I add a little unprocessed honey to the mixture just to sweeten it up a little.


  1. Basic Vinaigrette Dressing | gluadys' cookbooks - June 25, 2013

    […] Back to Basics: Making a vinaigrette ( […]

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