I think its fair to say that a lot of us eat salads because they are often the healthy option. I love the peppery bite of arugula when its accompanied by bits of juicy watermelon and I enjoy a crisp butter lettuce topped with juicy tomatoes and crunchy cucumbers. But on any given day I can think of 5 things I would rather have for lunch and 4 of those things involve bacon.
However since I’m an adult and I have to make responsible food choices, I tend to go for a lunch salad as often as I can convince myself to. And since I’m eating a salad, I may as well keep with the healthy motif when it comes to my dressing— I skip all of the sugar, trans-fats and preservatives in the typical bottled salad dressing and just make mine myself.
In addition to being pretty inexpensive and very delicious, homemade vinaigrette also happens to be insanely easy to make.
Essentially vinaigrette is just a mixture of oil and vinegar… what you do with it from there is what makes it magical. You can add more combinations of spices, herbs, sweeteners and delicious additions than you can imagine.
Instead of giving you a recipe, today I’ll just lay out some tips, tricks and basics and you’ll have all the tools you need to make your own.
- I will never stop saying this about all recipes but its particularly relevant now… use the best ingredients you can find.
- I like to start with a 2:1 ratio of oil to vinegar.
- Use a healthy, mildly flavored oil — safflower, grapeseed and olive oils are my personal favorites.
- Adjust the ratio of oil to vinegar depending on your vinegar. If you use a sweet, syrupy vinegar like an aged balsamic, you can get closer to 1:1. If you’re using a particularly acidic vinegar you might want to get closer to 3:1.
- Be creative with your vinegar choices. I love white balsamic and sherry vinegar, but I also enjoy fig and champagne vinegar. You can also replace vinegar with lemon juice.
- Mince your herbs, shallots, garlic etc. very finely.
- Consider using honey, agave or fruit puree to give your vinaigrette some sweetness.
- If you’d like a creamy vinaigrette, a small spoonful of craime fraiche or marscapone will do the trick.
- Make sure you whisk your vinaigrette very well to incorporate the ingredients You can also put it into a tightly sealed jar and shake vigorously.
- Don’t forget the salt and pepper.
- Add whatever you’d like and be creative!
If you’d like some starter ideas, here are some combos that I love!
- olive oil, red wine vinegar, oregano, salt, pepper, finely grated parmesan
- olive oil, aged balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, lemon juice, salt, black pepper
- safflower oil, sherry vinegar, fresh basil, chopped shallot, salt, black pepper
- grapeseed oil, raspberry vinegar, raspberry puree, salt, pepper, chopped shallot
- safflower oil, red wine vinegar, minced garlic, parmesan, black pepper, dry italian seasoning, salt, honey
- safflower oil, apple cider vinegar, honey, crumbled bacon, black pepper
- olive oil, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, garlic, ginger, black pepper, soy sauce, sesame seeds, minced green onion