Are you looking for a healthy and flavorful way to dress up your salads, sandwiches, or grilled vegetables? If you’re tired of store-bought dressings that are full of preservatives and added sugar, then making your own vinaigrette dressing is the way to go. I’m excited to share with you my very Best Vinaigrette Recipe, which has earned the top spot in my husband’s list of favorites. It’s not only delicious but also healthy and easy to make.
What is vinaigrette anyway?
Vinaigrette is believed to have originated in France, where it has been a staple of the culinary scene for centuries. The name “vinaigrette” comes from the French word “vinaigre,” which means vinegar. The modern sense of the word “vinaigrette” was first published in the Dictionnaire de l’Académie française in 1694, which describes it as “a type of cold sauce,” that is made “with vinegar, oil, salt, pepper, parsley, and chives.”
This simple yet flavorful dressing was created as a way to enhance the taste of vegetables and salads, and its popularity quickly spread throughout Europe. The basic formula of combining oil and vinegar with various seasonings evolved over time, with each region adapting the recipe to include local ingredients and flavors.
Today, vinaigrettes are enjoyed worldwide for their versatility and ability to elevate a wide variety of dishes. Their light and fresh taste has made them a favorite among health-conscious food enthusiasts, as they provide a healthier alternative to heavier, cream-based dressings or sugar-heavy concoctions.
What Makes this the Best Salad Dressing recipe?
I could mention that this vinaigrette was crowned the world’s best salad dressing by none other than my husband (whose previous favorite was honey mustard). However, the true reason this recipe earns the “best salad dressing” title lies in its impeccable balance of flavors, adaptability, elegance, and simplicity in preparation.
The combination of 2 different kinds of mustard, two different aromatics (shallot and garlic), mild and fruity white wine vinegar, and extra virgin olive oil creates a harmonious blend of tangy, savory, and slightly sweet notes that enhance the taste of any salad or dish. Its versatility allows easy customization with various herbs or spices to cater to individual preferences.
Additionally, this dressing is not only healthy, as it’s made from natural ingredients without added sugars or preservatives, but also incredibly easy to make. All it takes is a few simple steps to whisk together a delicious, homemade vinaigrette that elevates your meals to a whole new level.
So, let’s get started!
Best Vinaigrette Ingredients
Here’s what you’ll need to make your homemade vinaigrette:
- Dijon mustard: rich in glucosinolates and powerful antioxidants, both of which promote health and may protect against various diseases. It adds a tangy salty flavor and helps emulsify the dressing.
- Grainy mustard: Old style whole grain mustard provides a textured consistency, visual interest, and a robust taste, while offering similar health benefits as Dijon mustard.
- Shallot and Garlic: Using both shallot and garlic allows for a more complex and layered flavor profile. Shallots have a milder, slightly sweeter taste compared to garlic, which is more pungent and robust. Each brings their own unique health benefits, such as anti-inflammatory properties.
- White wine vinegar: low in calories but high in flavor, it Imparts a bright acidic taste. Note that Champagne vinegar is a type of white wine vinegar made from the same grapes used in producing Champagne; it is not actually made from Champagne!
- Extra virgin olive oil: Contributes a rich, smooth texture and is abundant in heart-healthy fats that promote cardiovascular well-being.
- Salt and pepper: help bring out all the flavors.
An Extra Benefit: No Added Sugar
Salad dressings may not appear to be sweet items that would have sugar, but they can often be a sneaky source of hidden sugars in your diet. Incorporating more salads into your daily meal plan is an excellent method to increase your vegetable intake and get essential nutrients. However, have you considered that the salad dressings you use might be transforming your healthy meal into an unhealthy one?
In this salad dressing, there is no need for added sugar because the combination of ingredients already provides a well-rounded and balanced flavor profile. The white wine vinegar offers a tangy acidity, while the Dijon mustard contributes a sharp, savory taste. Meanwhile, the olive oil adds a smooth, rich element that helps to mellow out any harshness from the other components. Mixing these ingredients together creates a harmonious blend of flavors that eliminates the need for additional sweetness.
Furthermore, by omitting sugar from the recipe, you create a healthier dressing with fewer empty calories. You can savor the natural flavors of the vegetables in your salad without masking them with excessive sweetness.
Additionally, avoiding added sugars in your diet can be beneficial for weight management, blood sugar control, and overall health.
Step-by-Step Instructions: Creating Your Vinaigrette
Now that you have everything you need, let me show you how easy it is. Simply measure the ingredients and whisk them together! See below for full recipe.
Customization Tips: Making It Your Own
If you want to experiment with different flavors, try adding fresh or dried herbs such as parsley, chives, oregano, basil, or rosemary.
You can also add spices such as cumin, smoked paprika, or chili flakes to give your vinaigrette a little kick.
Additionally, you can substitute a different oil such as avocado oil, or a different vinegar such as red wine vinegar, Sherry vinegar or balsamic vinegar to create a unique flavor profile.
No matter how you customize it, this vinaigrette salad dressing recipe is sure to be a keeper.
Serving Suggestions: Versatile Uses for Your Vinaigrette
Now that you have your homemade vinaigrette, it’s time to put it to use. Here are some ways to use vinaigrette:
- Salad dressing: Drizzle vinaigrette over mixed greens, spinach, or arugula for a flavorful and light salad dressing.
- Marinade: Use the vinaigrette as a marinade for chicken, fish, or vegetables before grilling or baking.
- Pasta salad: Toss vinaigrette with cooked pasta, chopped vegetables, and your choice of protein for a tasty pasta salad.
- Roasted vegetables: Coat vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, or brussels sprouts with vinaigrette before roasting to add an extra layer of flavor. Alternatively, drizzle the vinaigrette over the roasted vegetables for a tasty finishing touch.
- Grain bowls: Drizzle vinaigrette over quinoa, brown rice, or farro-based grain bowls to enhance their taste.
- Sandwich spread: Spread a thin layer of vinaigrette on whole grain bread to add a tangy kick to your lunch.
- Dipping sauce: Serve vinaigrette alongside crusty bread, grilled meats, or seafood as a dipping sauce.
- Cold bean salad: Mix vinaigrette with cooked beans, chopped onions, and fresh herbs for a refreshing bean salad.
Feel free to get creative and experiment with various dishes to find your favorite way to enjoy this versatile vinaigrette.
Conclusion: Elevate Your Meals with This Amazing Recipe
Congratulations! You’ve now mastered the ultimate vinaigrette recipe that’s not only tasty and healthy but also simple to prepare. With just a handful of basic ingredients and tools, you can whip up your own nutrient-rich, homemade vinaigrette. Have fun trying out various flavors and serving ideas, and don’t forget to share this recipe with loved ones. There’s no need to settle for average salad dressings when you can create the best vinaigrette ever in just a matter of minutes!
Other recipes to try:
The Best Vinaigrette Recipe
- Place in a mixing bowl: Dijon and grainy mustards, minced shallot, minced garlic, salt, and pepper.
- Add white wine vinegar and whisk until salt is dissolved.
- Slowly whisk in the olive oil until the dressing is emulsified.
- Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
- Serve or store in a mason jar or airtight container in the fridge for up to two weeks.