Basic vinaigrette is easy to make and costs much less than buying it in the stores. I like what I make better than store-bought, but I still keep a bottle of store bought in the refrigerator these days.
If you don’t know how to make a basic vinaigrette, it’s pretty basic In simplest terms, you need some kind of oil and some kind of acid. You typically use mustard as an emulsifyer (it makes the oil and vinegar stay mixed up). Most of the time, you need some seasonings (salt, pepper, herbs) and sweetener (sugar or honey).
You can make a huge variety of dressings just by varying the type of acid (try orange juice for something totally different), oils (consider using sesame oil to make an asian inspired dressing), and herbs (ever had a salad dressing with curry powder? cilantro? smoked paprika?) The variations are endless. Go play with your food — see what you come up with.
The magic ratio is 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar, but I like mine a bit more vinegary. If the recipe seems to make your mouth pucker, use a little more oil.
Normally, I toss the ingredients into a small mason jar and then shake to blend. If you find that useful, you can use a marker to make measuring lines for the dressing ingredients.
Working in order of the photos (top to bottom and left to right)…
- Squirt about 2 tablespoons of honey mustard in a bowl. That covers part of the sweetener you need without adding an extra step. Buy one that has honey, mustard seeds, and vinegar in it (short ingredient list) and not one that lists HFCS and “honey flavoring.” Alternately, use about 1 1/2 tablespoons brown mustard plus 1/2 tablespoon sweetener of your choice.
- Squirt about 2 tablespoons of lemon juice in the bowl. (sorry for the lemon from a bottle. remember that i took these photos about 2 years ago, i’ve grown since then. and at the time, i was potty training. please don’t think less of me).
- That’s the “lemon juice”.
- Add some fresh black pepper. I did about 4 cranks on my pepper mill.
- Add about 1/4 to 1 /3 a cup of good oil (I use olive oil).
- Add about 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar. This is the rest of the sweetness.
- Add 1/4 to 1/2 a teaspoon of kosher salt.
- Stir to combine.
Taste the dressing. I use a piece of whatever I’m going to dress (like a green bean) dunked in the dressing. If it doesn’t taste good now, it won’t do a thing for your salad. Is it too tart? Add a bit of honey. Is it too bland? Add a bit more acid. Does it need a pinch more salt or pepper?
Do you have a favorite basic vinaigrette dressing recipe? I’d love to know if it’s different than mine.Buffer