December 8, 2022

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Cooking Is My World

Vinaigrette – Chelsea’s Messy Apron

This simple Vinaigrette is a kitchen staple! Whip up a batch at the beginning of the week and drizzle it on salads, roasted veggies, or use as a quick sauce for fish or grilled chicken — the applications are practically endless. Nothing tastes better than a homemade dressing, and this one is the best!

We’re obsessed with making homemade dressings. Over the years, we’ve refined and perfected our staple favorites: Cilantro Lime Dressing, Greek Salad Dressing, or this Italian Dressing.

Vinaigrette Pronunciation

“vi-nuh-GRET”

(Google has a great tool to practice and get feedback on your pronunciation!)

Overhead view of a salad with Vinaigrette added

What Is A Vinaigrette?

A vinaigrette is a mixture combining olive oil with a mild acid (vinegar). Beyond those two ingredients, you can jazz it up with seasonings, herbs, spices, mustard, and/or a sweetener.

It’s most commonly used as a dressing, but also works great as a marinade. In fact, I’ll often double this recipe and use half in salads throughout the week and half to marinate some chicken in! Here are some ways we love using this recipe:

Overhead view of the ingredients for Vinaigrette

What Is A Vinaigrette Made Of?

Below we’ll break down the ingredients in the Best Vinaigrette Recipe, interspersed with specific ingredient tips!

  • Olive oil. The better the olive oil, the better the flavor of the dressing. We recommend extra virgin olive oil.
  • Red wine vinegar. This vinegar is my favorite go-to choice for a simple vinaigrette! It works nicely with bright vegetables (like cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, etc.) See “quick tip” box below for a breakdown of other vinegars!
  • Dijon mustard. We love Grey Poupon® Dijon best. Make sure to use Dijon, not yellow mustard. This gives the dressing a slight thickness which helps it to “cling” to salad greens better!
  • Honey. This sweetener offsets some of the tanginess of the vinaigrette. For a sweeter dressing, add additional honey, slowly, and to taste.
  • Optional flavor enhancers: We like adding a dried herb into this dressing — Italian seasoning is typically the favorite. Minced garlic is another nice flavor add.
  • Salt and pepper. No dressing is complete without salt and pepper! Remember: an extra pinch can be the difference between a good and a stellar dressing!

QUICK TIP

All About Vinegar

The vinegar you choose to use will change the flavor of the dressing — either quite subtly or more dramatically! Here’s a quick overview of some favorite vinegars:

  • White wine vinegar: more mellow/less-intense flavor, subtle sweetness
  • Balsamic vinegar: much bolder/more-intense flavor, offers subtly sweet undertone (delish on this Peach Salad!)
  • White balsamic vinegar: a milder vinegar than dark balsamic that is a favorite of restaurants/chefs since it doesn’t darken a sauce or dressing 
  • Sherry vinegar: similar to red wine, but a touch milder
  • Champagne vinegar: even milder than white wine vinegar, a favorite for delicate flavors
  • Apple cider vinegar: sweet tanginess with a subtle apple flavor 

Overhead view of Vinaigrette in a cruet

How To Make Vinaigrette

You won’t believe how simple this dressing is to make — all you need is a jar with a lid or a small bowl and whisk. Simply combine all the ingredients into a jar and shake until combined and emulsified (easiest method!) or combine all the ingredients into a small bowl and whisk until combined and emulsified. It’s really that simple!

If you’re unfamiliar with the term ’emulsification,’ it’s a technical way of saying that something is well mixed and all ingredients are suspended in the mixture. If a mixture settles and separates, that’s the opposite of an emulsion.

Close-up view of a salad dressed

Vinaigrette FAQs

1What is the difference between salad dressing and vinaigrette?

A salad dressing is a broader category including anything you dress your salads with (including a vinaigrette).  That can include creamy and mayonnaise-based mixtures, whereas a vinaigrette is a specific type of salad dressing that has an oil and vinegar base.

2Is Vinaigrette a healthy dressing?

Typically speaking, vinegar and oil based dressings are going to be more nutritious than creamy or mayo-based ones.

3What are the three components in a vinaigrette?

The typical components are oilvinegar, and then seasoning (salt and pepper). Then, to jazz up the vinaigrette and add flavor you’ll typically see the following additions: garlic, herbs, shallots, mustard, and honey.

4What does Vinaigrette taste like?

Because of the vinegar in the dressing, you’ll typically get an acidic or tart flavor. Depending on the vinegar used it can also be fruity or salty.

5Which vinegar is best for Vinaigrette?

Different vinegars contribute different flavors! Most vinaigrettes use red wine vinegar. It has a nice sharp flavor with a subtle tang and nicely rounds out the other flavors in the dressing. Balsamic vinegar is another popular choice.

6What’s the difference between vinegar and vinaigrette?

A vinaigrette contains vinegar and other ingredients. Vinegar is, on it’s own a stand-alone ingredient.

7Does Vinaigrette have vinegar in it?

A true vinaigrette does have vinegar, but sometimes the term can also cover dressings that combine other acids with oil. For example, a dressing with lemon or lime and oil can be called a vinaigrette.

8What are the ratios for a traditional vinaigrette?

The basic formula for Vinaigrette includes 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar.

 

View of Vinaigrette being poured over a salad

Use This Dressing On One Of These Recipes:

Vinaigrette

This simple Vinaigrette is a kitchen staple! Whip up a batch at the beginning of the week and drizzle it on salads, roasted veggies, or use as a quick-sauce for fish or grilled chicken — the applications are practically endless. Nothing tastes better than a homemade dressing, and this one is the best!

Vinaigrette

This simple Vinaigrette is a kitchen staple! Whip up a batch at the beginning of the week and drizzle it on salads, roasted veggies, or use as a quick-sauce for fish or grilled chicken — the applications are practically endless. Nothing tastes better than a homemade dressing, and this one is the best!

Instructions

  • COMBINE: In a wide-mouth jar, combine all the dressing ingredients. Season to taste with salt and pepper (I add 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt & 1/8 teaspoon pepper.) Briskly shake to combine and emulsify. Check to make sure honey isn’t sticking to the bottom — whisk it into the mixture if it is.Don’t have a jar? Briskly whisk in a bowl instead!
  • ADJUST: Taste and adjust the dressing to your personal preference — add more honey for a sweeter dressing, a touch more vinegar for more tang, a bit more oil if too acidic, or an extra pinch of salt to help flavors pop. Serve right away or store in the fridge. If storing, make sure to give it a good shake before using.

  • STORAGE: When stored airtight in the fridge, this dressing will stay good for a week (or even a couple days over). Heads up: Leftover dressing will separate and may even solidify a bit (this is because olive oil solidifies at cold temperatures). Simply let the dressing stand at room temperature for about 15-20 minutes and then vigorously shake to re-combine. Then it’s ready to use again!

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Vinegar: Swap out the vinegar for a different flavor — use balsamic vinegar for a balsamic vinaigrette, or check out our favorite balsamic vinaigrette recipe! Use white wine or white balsamic for a more mellow/sweeter dressing, use apple cider vinegar for a subtle apple flavor (nice on an Apple Salad). For a lemon vinaigrette, add in some fresh lemon juice or try our go-to Lemon Vinaigrette.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 165kcal | Carbohydrates: 0.2g | Fat: 18.7g | Sodium: 65.7mg | Fiber: 0.1g

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.