Basic Vinaigrette

SonjaSauce17 Comments


Basic Vinaigrette

When it comes to eating “off the grid”, one of the easiest things you can do is throw out those bottles of purchased salad dressing in favor of the homemade variety. Not only does it taste exponentially better and avoids suspicious ingredients, you can also clear out your refrigerator of all those half-empty bottles of unknown origin (just what year did I buy this, anyway?).

Most of the time, we drizzle our greens with a bit of olive oil and vinegar straight from the bottles, and only whisk up a true vinaigrette for guests. However, this trick from one of our favorite chefs makes vinaigrette so easy, our fridge is stocked and ready for surprise visitors (and our everyday salads taste even better).

Instead of the traditional method of whisking together the ingredients in a bowl, just place them in a canning jar and shake it to form the emulsion. You have an instant storage container and avoid dirty dishes at the same time. Basically, genius.

This recipe is a good starting point for a basic vinaigrette, and is easily customizable to your own taste. The combinations of different vinegars (or citrus juices), oils, and seasonings you can use are endless, and you can adjust the quantities as you see fit.

Basic Vinaigrette
Serves: 1 cup
What You Need
  • 1 half-pint canning jar
  • 1 clove garlic (1 teaspoon chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
What To Do
  1. Mince 1 clove of garlic.
  2. Place minced garlic, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, ⅛ teaspoon black pepper, ¼ to ½ cup red wine vinegar, and ½ cup extra virgin olive oil in the jar. (We prefer a vinaigrette on the tart side, so we use more vinegar than the traditional method. Customarily, vinaigrettes use about 1 part vinegar to 3 parts oil, so you may want to start with ¼ cup vinegar and adjust to suit your own taste.)
  3. Shake the jar vigorously to emulsify the ingredients. Taste and adjust quantities as desired. Vinaigrette can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks; make sure to bring to room temperature and shake well before serving.

17 Comments on “Basic Vinaigrette”

  1. Annie

    Thank you for this! I have made a lot of homemade dressings that I love, and I think this will really help me kick the store-bought habit for good, especially with ingredients I pretty much always have on hand. Sur La Table also has some really nice and inexpensive glass bottles for things like salad dressing, just FYI.

  2. simone

    I love shaking my vinaigrette in a jar too. It’s so much easier! And you can never have too many basic vinaigrette recipes! Thanks for this one!

  3. penandra

    Thanks for this basic recipe and the great hint about the canning jar. Funny — I make homemade mayonnaise (in the pint jars so it’s already in its storage container), but didn’t think of making my vinaigrette in a similar (albeit smaller) container!

  4. Anna

    Wow! I’ve have been a Good Seasons dressing user because that’s what I grew up with and it was always just OK. But this dressing has my husband and me wanting salads every day instead of a couple days a week! I used 1/3 cup of vinegar and it was just right!
    Thanks for posting this recipe!

    1. Sonja

      Glad to hear it! 1/3 cup sounds like a good ratio. The original recipe we started with used 1/4 cup vinegar to 1 cup olive oil, which to me was like drinking olive oil!

  5. Fran {The Flavorful Fork}

    I love homemade dressings. Lately I have simply been tossing my greens with a drizzle of olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. It is light and delicious. I also love to use the “shake it if you got it” method for making dressings. So simple.

  6. Cook in a Bar

    Thanks for the recipe! I hate storebought salad dressings, and always make my own dressings. I use the same ratio of oil and vinegar, and I really like champagne vinegar. It is light and crisp.

  7. Lisa in Indianapolis

    I always make fresh vinegarette. When you walk down the salad dressing aisle in the grocery and see all those bottles standing sentry, all I can think of is how cloying and full of preservatives, and expensive they are. Tip: That little bit of mustard goody left in the jar makes a great little dressing shake-up container. And you don’t waste the mustard. Also, I used to pour the dressing on top of the individual salads when setting the table, but a recent cookbook read says to toss the entire salad with the dressing (with your hands)and then serve. I use salad tongs to toss it but I’ve found that less dressing is needed and every piece of the salad has enough of it to add flavor without leaving a wasted puddle in the bottom of the salad dish.

  8. (a different) Alex

    wait, shaking the dressing in a jar isn’t the traditional way to make it?
    that’s the way i grew up with.

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