A vinaigrette is a type of dressing or sauce that combines an acid, usually vinegar or citrus juice, with oil. Vinaigrettes are easy to make, and once you get the basic idea, you can change them around to make all sorts of different dressings.
- 1 part vinegar – Any variety except white vinegar, or you can use citrus juice, or combine different vinegars and juices
- 3 parts oil – Canola, vegetable, olive, or other. Depending on the type of vinegar you use and the other ingredients you add, you may need less oil than 3 parts. In fact, most of the recipes on Sioux Chef use just 2 parts oil.
- Salt – Add a pinch, then taste to see if you like the flavor. If the flavor seems flat, add another pinch. The salt should make the other flavors pop without tasting salty. If it starts to taste salty, you’ve gone too far
PROCEDURE: In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar and salt (if you don’t have a whisk, use a fork to mix). Then, hold the whisk in one hand and the oil in the other. Drizzle in the oil while whisking. This helps the oil and vinegar, which naturally separate into two layers, stay together better. Whisk or shake again immediately before using the dressing.
- Mustard – Mustard helps bind together oil and vinegar, so dressing with a small amount of mustard in it will stay together much better. Add a small amount of mustard with the vinegar before whisking in the oil.
- Sugar, honey, or other sweetener – For a sweeter salad dressing, add a small amount of sugar, honey, or another sweetener to the vinegar before adding the oil. Whisk well to make sure the sugar is fully dissolved.
- Onion, garlic, or shallots – These vegetables are added raw to flavor the dressing. Finely chop a small amount of onion, garlic, or shallot and add to the vinegar before whisking in oil.
- Black Pepper – If you’re a fan of black pepper, add it to the vinegar along with the salt.
- Herbs – Add fresh chopped herbs or dried herbs to the vinegar before adding oil.
- Spices – Add your favorite spices to the vinegar before adding oil.
HOW MUCH DO I ADD? When you’re making a vinaigrette, keep tasting! Taste what you’re making as you go along and think about whether it might need a little more mustard in there, a little extra black pepper. Make it something you like.
Your homemade vinaigrettes can be kept in the fridge for up to a month, so you can make a big batch and use it for a long time. You may never need to buy salad dressing again!
Vinaigrette recipes from elsewhere on Sioux Chef:
Apple Cider Vinegar and Mustard Vinaigrette: whisk together 2 tablespoons cider vinegar, 2 teaspoons dijon or regular mustard, 1 teaspoon sugar, a large pinch of salt, and black pepper to taste. Add ¼ cup oil (vegetable, canola, or olive) and whisk to make a vinaigrette.
Basic Balsamic Vinaigrette: whisk together 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, large pinch of salt, and black pepper to taste. Add ¼ cup oil (vegetable, canola, or olive) and whisk to make a vinaigrette.
- Variation – Citrus Balsamic: Instead of 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, use 1 tablespoon balsamic, 1 tablespoon lemon or orange juice.
- Variation – Dijon Balsamic: Add 2 teaspoons dijon mustard with the vinegar and whisk to combine before adding oil.
- Variation – Honey Balsamic: Add 1 teaspoon honey with the vinegar and whisk to combine before adding oil.
Citrus Vinaigrette: Whisk together 2 tablespoons lemon, lime, orange, or grapefruit juice, 1 teaspoon sugar (optional for lemon, lime, or grapefruit, omit for orange), large pinch salt, and black pepper to taste. Add ¼ cup oil (vegetable, canola, or olive) and whisk to make a vinaigrette.
Garlicky Lemon-White Wine Vinaigrette: Finely chop 1 clove garlic. Whisk together 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar, chopped garlic, large pinch salt, and black pepper to taste. Whisk in 1/4 cup oil (olive if you have it, or vegetable or canola) to make a vinaigrette.
Onion-Mustard Vinaigrette: Thinly slice or finely chop a quarter of a red onion. Add 1/4 white wine or red wine vinegar and a large pinch salt (the onion should be covered).. Allow to sit at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours (refrigerated). Remove onions from vinegar and add them to your salad (or put them on a sandwich). Add 1/2 tablespoon Dijon or regular mustard and black pepper (to taste) to the vinegar and whisk to combine. Whisk in 1/2 cup oil (vegetable, canola, or olive). Note: this makes a larger batch of salad dressing than the others listed here.
Mustard Dill Vinaigrette: Whisk together 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice or white wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon chopped dill, a large pinch of salt, and black pepper to taste. Whisk in 3 tablespoons oil (canola or vegetable) to make a vinaigrette.