Lemon Vinaigrette

This tangy lemon vinaigrette tastes like pure lemon, and uses only 4 ingredients. Here’s how to make lemon salad dressing.

Lemon vinaigrette | lemon salad dressing

Alex and I are a little into salad dressings over here! We’ve made you a big collection with our favorite homemade salad dressings, from homemade ranch to balsamic. And now, we’ve found yet another favorite to add to the collection: lemon vinaigrette! This lemon vinaigrette tastes like pure lemon. It makes gives all salads a refreshing zing. And it uses only 4 ingredients! This easy lemon salad dressing is just begging for you to make a salad to put it on. Keep reading for the lemon vinaigrette recipe!

Nicoise salad
Lemon vinaigrette on our classic Nicoise salad

How to make lemon vinaigrette

This lemon vinaigrette recipe is modeled after a recipe by our cooking idol, Julia Child. We first came across Julia when we started cooking together after we got married 10 plus years ago. And we immediately fell in love with her passion for cooking and helping people succeed in the kitchen. She’s always been a guiding presence to us: we used to watch her old black and white TV shows. She taught us about how to flip an omelette with confidence and how to make salade nicoise.

Speaking of Nicoise salad, that is the inspiration behind this lemon vinaigrette recipe! Alex and I have created our best Nicoise salad rendition, and it calls for a lemon vinaigrette recipe. Hence, this lemon salad dressing that’s a takeoff on Julia’s method! This recipe is very simple but also ingenius. The original recipe calls for mashing lemon zest in a mortar and pestle, but since most people don’t have those these days, we’ve created a method using a chef knife. The key here is to mash the lemon zest into a paste so it spreads throughout the entire dressing! That way there aren’t weird floaties of lemon zest, and the flavor spreads evenly throughout.

Once you’ve created your lemon paste, you’ll whisk in some lemon juice and Dijon mustard. We love using Dijon mustard in our homemade salad dressing recipes because not only does it add great flavor, it helps to create a creamy emulsion. Then, just whisk in the olive oil 1 tablespoon at a time until that creamy emulsion forms! The resulting lemon salad dressing is so zesty and delicious, you’ll want to put it on every salad you make. And because of that lemon zest paste, it stays super bright yellow too!

How to make lemon vinaigrette

How to serve this lemon salad dressing

Now that you’ve made this lemon vinaigrette recipe, here are a few ways to use it:

Lemon salad dressing

Looking for salad dressings?

Here are a few of our very favorite salad dressing recipes:

Lemon vinaigrette | lemon salad dressing

This lemon vinaigrette recipe is…

Vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free.

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Lemon vinaigrette | lemon salad dressing

Lemon Vinaigrette


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  • Author: Sonja
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: About 1/2 cup 1x

Description

This tangy lemon vinaigrette tastes like pure lemon, and uses only 4 ingredients. Here’s how to make lemon salad dressing.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1/2 large lemon (1 tablespoon lemon zest + 2 tablespoons juice)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt plus more if needed
  • 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Instructions

  1. Zest the lemon. Sprinkle it with the kosher salt, then mince it as fine as possible. Holding the blunt edge of the knife, scrape the sharp edge of the blade over the minced lemon zest, holding the knife at an angle and mashing the lemon zest into a paste. This should only take a minute or two and it doesn’t need to be perfect: just try to get the lemon zest as fine as possible.
  2. Place the lemon zest in a medium bowl and it whisk together with the mustard and lemon juice. Gradually whisk in the olive oil 1 tablespoon at a time (8 tablespoons total), until creamy and emulsified. If desired, season with additional salt.
  • Category: Salad Dressing
  • Method: Whisked
  • Cuisine: French

Keywords: Lemon vinaigrette, Lemon salad dressing, How to make lemon vinaigrette

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

1 Comment

  • Reply
    JODI
    April 16, 2019 at 12:43 pm

    This lemon vinaigrette is heaven. Seriously. I’m obsessed. I crave it. I can’t wait until summer produce is in full swing to find more uses!!

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