Mastering the essentials of a basic vinaigrette dressing will open up the possibilities for incredible and diverse salads. This isn't meant as a recipe to follow but rather a set of guidelines to explore new flavorful combinations.
Generally, I make my dressings fresh because I can pair them with my salad, plus any herbs and onion won't go soggy then.
A good vinaigrette should take less than a few minutes to prepare. Throw all of your chosen ingredients in a large bowl and whisk with a fork until well combined, add your greens and toss to dress. Done.
Or, make a larger batch in a mason jar and shake well before serving. Generally, it will keep for a few days at room temp but if you prefer to refrigerate it, just make sure to let it warm up a bit before adding it to your salad so the oil won't be solidified.
I highly recommend not skipping any of the basic ingredients. These are items you probably already have in your pantry and are often enough to make a killer vinaigrette on their own.
The reason I didn't include measurements is because any combination of these ingredients will taste good. Some people like it more vinegary or more sweet, for example. Just explore different quantities and ingredients, adjust based on your taste, and enjoy.
- 2 types of acid in equal portions, lemon, vinegar, etc. (one works, but two is better)
- olive oil, twice as much as the amount of acid
- a big pinch of kosher salt
- An even bigger pinch sugar or honey
- a scoop of Dijon mustard, (or yellow)
Add a bit more flavor
- Minced garlic
- Minced onion (white or red work well)
- Freshly cracked pepper
- herbs (parsley, tarragon, cilantro, oregano, and mint are some good options. I like to mix a few)
- Anchovy (minced)
- citrus zest or dried orange peel
- smoked paprika
- sesame oil
- fennel seed (toasted and ground)
- white peppercorn (toasted and ground)
- sesame seed (toasted and ground)
- pomegranate molasses
- any more?