October 7, 2009


The simplest of salad dressings to make is a vinaigrette.  With just good oil and vinegar you can have an amazing vinaigrette that beats any bottled salad dressing.  The best oil to use is an extra virgin olive oil.  Extra virgin olive oil has a deep flavor that when blended with the vinegar creates the perfect emulsion that coats lettuce in a salad with ease.  Of course, there are many combinations of oil types and vinegars you can use and with the additions of herbs and garlic and whatever else you choose, a vinaigrette recipe you create can become your own.  Modern vinaigrettes are whatever you want them to be.  The key is to taste it and adjust it before you serve it.
Vinaigrettes are not limited to a tossed salad of radicchio lettuce.  Use a vinaigrette to marinate chicken or shrimp before grilling for a moist and flavorful change, mix 1/4 cup into your favorite potato salad recipe to give it some zing, or drizzle it over roasted asparagus, potatoes, or green beans.  My favorite way to use it is on thick sliced garden tomatoes.  Drizzle them with vinaigrette and torn fresh basil and fresh cracked pepper and a sprinkle of sea salt.  A Vinaigrette is a simple and easy way to be Cooking The Amazing.

Here is the recipe.


  • 1 c  Good Quality Oil
  • 1/2 c  Good Quality Vinegar (or another acid)
  • 1 t  Salt
  • 1 t  Fresh Ground Pepper
  • 1 T  Dijon Mustard (optional)

  1. Pour the vinegar into a bowl and add mustard, salt and pepper and whisk well.
  2. Slowly drizzle in the oil in one hand while you whisk rapidly with the other until an emulsion is created.
  3. Another way is to add all ingredients to a jar with a tight lid and shake vigorously until an emulsion is created.  You can also use this to store your vinaigrette in the refrigerator.
  4. Serve immediately.
  5. You can refrigerate most vinaigrettes for 2 weeks and it will stay fresh tasting.

Using this basic recipe you can build upon it to create your own vinaigrette.
  1. Pick an oil type:  Olive, Walnut, Canola, Grape Seed, etc.
  2. Pick a vinegar type:  White Wine, Apple Cider, Balsamic, Red Wine, etc.
  3. In place of the vinegar you can use Lemon, Orange or Lime juice for the acid or 1/2 Lemon juice and 1/2 vinegar.
  4. Pick your add ins:  1 T Dijon Mustard, 1-2 T finely minced Shallot, 1-2 Cloves of finely minced Garlic, 1 T of drained Capers, 1-2 T chopped Chives, Grated Citrus Peel (Lemon, Lime, or Orange).
  5. Pick your herbs:  1-2 T of fresh or dried finely chopped: Thyme, Basil, Oregano, Italian Parsley, Dill, Cilantro, Tarragon, Rosemary, etc.
  6. Now create your own vinaigrette by picking your favorite flavors.

Use this method to make your Vinaigrette:
  1. Pour your vinegar or citrus juice into a bowl.
  2. Add salt and pepper. 
  3. Add garlic or shallot if using and allow to sit in the salt, pepper and vinegar for 5 mins to dissolve the salt and infuse the garlic oils and pepper into the vinegar for a more rounded flavor.
  4. Then add all ingredients you wish to use and whisk to combine.
  5. Drizzle the oil you choose in slowly until an emulsion is created or use the sealed shaking jar method.
  6. Taste and adjust to suit your taste by adding what you feel it is missing and taste again correcting if needed.

Here are some creative Vinaigrettes to try.


  • 1/2 c  Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1 c   Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 T  Dijon Mustard
  • 1 T  Fresh or Dried Thyme
  • 1 Clove of Finely Minced Garlic
  • 1/2 t  Fresh Grated Lemon Peel
  • 1 t  Salt
  • 1 t  Fresh Ground Pepper

Try this Vinaigrette as a basting sauce for chicken as it roasts, basting every 15 mins as it roasts.  Or serve this drizzled over fresh grilled fish with steamed white rice.


  • 1/2 c  Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1/4 c  Walnut Oil
  • 3/4 c  Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 T  Dijon Mustard
  • 1 T  Capers, drained and rinsed
  • 1 t  Salt
  • 1 t Ground Pepper
  • 1 Clove Finely Minced Garlic

Try this Vinaigrette by mixing 4 T into mashed potatoes.


  • 1/2 c  White Wine Vinegar
  • 1 c  Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 T Dijon Mustard
  • 2 Cloves Finely Minced Garlic
  • 1 t  Fresh Chopped Oregano
  • 1 t  Fresh Chopped Basil
  • 1 t  Fresh Chopped Italian Parsley
  • 1 t  Fresh Chopped Thyme
  • 1 t Salt
  • 1 t Fresh Ground Pepper
  • 2 T  Grated Parmesan Cheese
Use this Vinaigrette in potato salad by adding 1/4 c to your favorite recipe.
Or drizzle over oven roasted Yukon gold potatoes. 


  • 1/2 c Orange Juice, Fresh Squeezed
  • 1 c  Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 T  Shallots, Finely Minced
  • 2 T  Fresh Chopped Thyme
  • 1 t  Salt
  • 1/2 t  Fresh Ground Pepper
  • 1 t  Grated Orange Peel
Try this Vinaigrette in a salad of orange segments tossed with grilled chicken slices, red onion slices, red bell pepper chopped and chopped romaine lettuce.

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