My love for salads is well documented here at ISPP and so often I just use a simple vinaigrette as my dressing. Once you’ve got the basics of making one you can mix up the flavours in so many ways, using whatever you have in your kitchen. Today I wanted to share my tips for making a simple vinaigrette, and some of my favourite flavour combos as well!
I’d love to hear your go-to salad dressings as well. Making salad dressings at home saves so much money, and also gives you complete control over what goes in them – no preservatives to be found here!
So first things first, a vinaigrette is simply a mixture of oil and vinegar, seasoned to taste. The ratio you’re after is roughly three parts oil to one part vinegar, which you mix together – or emulsify – until combined. Easy as that!
Choose Your Oil
Most of the time I use extra virgin olive oil but nut oils, avocado oil or sesame oil work well too. Just be careful with the stronger flavoured oils, go with a lighter touch so they don’t overpower the flavours of the salad. Choose the highest quality oil you can as well, it really does make a difference!
Add Your Vinegar
There are so many vinegars you can use to make your simple vinaigrette! Balsamic, apple cider and white or red wine vinegars are the most common in my kitchen, but rice and sherry vinegars are great too.
You can also switch out the vinegar for a citrus juice like fresh lemon, lime or orange. I like to do a combination of citrus and a vinegar for extra flavour.
Season & Mix
The next step is seasoning with salt and pepper – sea salt and freshly ground pepper are my go to – and then mixing it all together. If you want to dress your salad straight away then I often whisk together the ingredients in the bottom of my bowl before adding the salad and tossing to combine. If you want to keep the dressing for later then pop your ingredients in a small jar and shake, shake, shake until combined!
Taste at this point and season again if need be. I like to dip a leaf from my salad into the dressing and taste it that way, as it’s a bit more reflective of the overall flavour.
As delicious as a simple vinaigrette is, sometimes I like to mix it up a little! These are some of my favourite add-ins:
- Fresh or dried herbs, in particular thyme, dill, mint and basil
- Minced garlic
- Minced ginger
- Red pepper flakes or hot sauce
- Dijon or seeded mustard
- Honey, agave syrup or brown sugar
Some of my favourite combos are:
- Olive oil + apple cider vinegar + honey + seeded mustard
- Olive oil + red wine vinegar + dijon mustard + lemon juice + garlic
- Olive oil + balsamic vinegar + dijon mustard + garlic