Vinaigrette Salad Dressings & Marinades

Herb infused vinegars

Herb infused vinegars

by Cat, July 2007 (Photo, right, from Wikipedia)

  • Included here: 1. Simple Vinaigrette; 2. Red Wine Vinaigrette; 3. Sweet Vinaigrette; 4. Balsamic Vinaigrette; 5. Basil-Balsamic Vinaigrette, with Blue cheese variation; 6. Lemon-Sherry Vinaigrette; 7. Mediterranean Vinaigrette; 8. Greek Vinaigrette; 9. Raspberry Vinaigrette; 10. Cranberry Vinaigrette; 11. Lemon-Dill-Dijon Dressing
  • See also: 1. Dressings, Dips & Marinades Menu; 2. Asian Ginger Vinaigrette Dressings; 3. Creamy Salad Dressings;

Salad dressings are so easy to make at home, its a wonder why commercial dressings even exist.  So many commercial dressings contain ingredients questionable for health, such as rancid salad oils, GMO canola  or soy oil, guar gum (or other gums like carrageenan), hydrolyzed protein, MSG, etc..  When you make your own dressings, you control the type and quality of ingredients, and don’t have to use chemical preservatives because your dressing is FRESH.

Try my recipes as they are, or as a base for your own selection of ingredients.  Most call for lemon juice, which acts as an emulsifier to help keep the watery and oily components blended together. It’s best to use freshly squeezed lemon juice, rather than reconstituted, bottled lemon juice, for flavor and for all the wonderful enzymes in the raw juice.

The ratio of vinegar to oil is a matter of personal taste.  Some like equal proportions, others prefer up to twice as much oil as vinegar. For a Balsamic dressing, Sial.org (6) recommends 4 parts oil to 1 ½  parts vinegar (in other words, 8 parts oil to 3 parts vinegar).  I like 3 parts oil to 2 parts vinegar. You can be your own judge.

You might also wish to experiment with scented vinegars that you can make at home.  For an example, see Mercola: A Homemade Rosemary Flavored Vinegar That’s Absolutely Divine! (7)

Many of these dressings also make excellent marinades for meat, poultry or fish. Unless otherwise noted, these are my own recipes.

1. Simple Vinaigrette 

  • 2 Tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ – ½ tsp prepared dijon mustard
  • Unrefined sea salt to taste (¼ – ½ teaspoon)
  • fresh ground pepper to taste
  • ¼ – ½ tsp dried basil (or 1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil, or other herbs)
  • 3 – 6 Tbsp cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
  1. Place all but the oil in blender, and cover with lid. Blend on ‘puree’ setting (or high speed). Let sit for a few minutes, to ensure the salt dissolves, then blend again.
  2. Remove center of lid to add oil: While it is still blending, drizzle oil into blender; the slower the better. The dressing will have a creamy texture, but should not separate much with time.
  3. Transfer to a jar and screw on lid. Store in a cool place (such as a lower dark cupboard), but not in the fridge. It should keep well for a couple weeks without getting rancid.
  4. If the dressing does separate, shake it well before serving.

If you don’t have a blender, you can make it in a jar, but it will need to be shaken well each time you use the dressing:

  1. Place all but the oil in a bottle or small jar, and screw on the lid.  Shake vigorously to mix well. Let sit for a few minutes, to ensure the salt dissolves, then shake again.
  2. Add olive oil and shake well.  You will need to shake again before serving, as the oil will separate.

2. Red Wine Vinaigrette 

  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp Unrefined sea salt plus more, to taste
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 4 – 6 Tbsp cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
  1. Mince garlic, sprinkle ¼ tsp salt over, then crush to a pulp with side of wide knife blade. Scrape into blender (or jar with a tight-fitting lid).
  2. Follow instructions for simple vinaigrette (#1, above).

3. Sweet Vinaigrette 

  • 2 Tbsp raw apple cider vinegar (or raw wine vinegar)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • Unrefined sea salt to taste (1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon)
  • fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp dried basil or 1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil
  • 1 packet stevia sweetener (I prefer Sweet Leaf brand, a mix of inulin and stevia)
  • 3 – 6 Tbsp cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
  1. Follow instructions for simple vinaigrette, above.
  2. For a French-style dressing, add 1 Tbsp organic tomato paste

4. Balsamic Vinaigrette 

  • 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp filtered water or freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp prepared dijon mustard
  • Unrefined sea salt to taste (1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon)
  • fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1 -2 cloves of garlic, minced (or even more if you love garlic)
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil (or 1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil or other herbs)
  • 6 – 8 Tbsp cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
  1. Follow instructions for simple vinaigrette, above.

5. Basil-Balsamic Vinaigrette

Two versions: the first is a standard vinaigrette and the second is a “Blue” version.

The standard version is my favorite every-day dressing, but it’s also great for special occasions. I use it on a salad of greens with tomato, scallion and cucumber; also on a greens salad with pear, walnuts, dried cranberries/cherries/blueberries, and goat cheese salad.

  • 1 Tbsp fresh-squeezed lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
  • 1 Tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp Unrefined sea salt (use less if table salt)
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • chopped fresh, or dried basil, to taste (or oregano for a different flavor)
  • 5 Tbsp olive oil
  • sugar, raw honey, or stevia, to taste (optional)
  1. Prep: Put lemon juice and vinegars in blender (or a small jar, with lid).
  2. Mince garlic; sprinkle salt over, then crush garlic with flat side of knife until juice is released.  Scrape into blender/jar; add pepper and basil.   Add a bit of sweetener if a sweet dressing is desired – this is a great way to use fresh or dried stevia leaves.
  3. Mix/blend: Follow instructions for simple vinaigrette, above.
  4. For a Blue version, add and blend-in 1 – 2 oz gorgonzola cheese before adding the olive oil.

6. Lemon-Sherry Vinaigrette 

This recipe is adapted from Fine Cooking.com (8); they recommend it for Cobb salad.

  • 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
  • 2 tsp grated lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
  • 1 tsp Rapadura or other sugar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced & pressed with 1/4 tsp Celtic sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • additional Unrefined sea salt, to taste
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp olive oil
  1. Follow instructions for simple vinaigrette, above.

7. Mediterranean Vinaigrette 

This dressing is excellent for Salad Nicoise, a French potato salad.

  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar (raw, if you can find it)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • ⅛ tsp ground mustard
  • ¼ – ½ tsp anchovy paste (or more if you really like salty anchovies)
  • Unrefined sea salt to taste (you may not need much, as anchovies are quite salty)
  • fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1 -2 cloves of garlic, minced (or even more if you love garlic)
  • ¼ – ½ tsp dried tarragon, or 1 -3 leaves of fresh tarragon, chopped
  • 3 – 6 Tbsp cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
  1. Follow instructions for simple vinaigrette, above.

8. Greek Vinaigrette

This dressing is excellent for marinating halibut before baking or grilling.  Then serve it on the side when you serve the fish. Also a must with Horiatiki (Greek Village Salad)

  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 – ½ tsp prepared dijon mustard
  • ¼ tsp Unrefined sea salt, or to taste
  • fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1 -2 cloves of garlic, minced (or even more if you love garlic)
  • 1 -2 pitted greek olives, minced (optional)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp dried oregano, or 1 – 2 tsp chopped fresh oregano, or more, to taste
  • 3 – 6 Tbsp cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
  1. Follow instructions for simple vinaigrette, above.

9. Raspberry Vinaigrette

This may sound unusual, but this dressing is excellent as a sauce for poached salmon. Also a must for my Beet, Fennel & Orange Salad.

  • 2 Tbsp raspberry vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon or lime juice
  • Unrefined sea salt to taste (1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon)
  • fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp dried basil (or 1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil , or other herbs)
  • 1 packet stevia sweetener (I prefer Sweet Leaf brand, a mix of inulin and stevia)
  • 3 – 6 Tbsp cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
  • You may also wish to add poppy seeds
  1. Follow instructions for simple vinaigrette, above.

10. Cranberry Vinaigrette

Great during holidays!

  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries (look for those sweetened with apple juice)
  • 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar (or 1 Tbsp raw apple cider vinegar and 2 Tbsp balsamic)
  • 1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp Unrefined sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 – 6 Tbsp cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
  1. Place minced shallots, dried cranberries, vinegar, lemon juice in small bowl. Add salt and pepper. Stir to combine, then let sit for 5 minutes to let cranberries soften.
  2. Transfer to blender and follow instructions for simple vinaigrette above.
  3. If you don’t have a blender, gradually whisk or blend olive oil into ingredients in bowl until emulsified.

11. Lemon-Dill-Dijon Dressing

This recipe is adapted from The New Vegetarian Epicure, by Anna Thomas (2). Excellent on a salad of sliced, steamed red potatoes, blanched haricots verts (green beans) or asparagus spears, and thinly sliced cucumber.

  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp Unrefined sea saltor to taste
  • fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1/2 packet stevia sweetener (I prefer Sweet Leaf brand, a mix of inulin and stevia)
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped onion
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 – 3 Tbsp dried dill weed
  • 2 – 3 Tbsp cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
  1. Follow instructions for simple vinaigrette, above.

References:

  1. Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon with Mary G. Enig, Ph.D. See Beloved Cookbooks for more about this book.
  2. Vegetarian Epicure I and II, and the New Vegetarian Epicure, by Anna Thomas See Beloved Cookbooks for more about these books.
  3. Cooks Magazine
  4. rebuild-from-depression.com/simplechange/produce/produce/saladdressing.html
  5. fishex.com/recipes/crab/crab-louis.html
  6. sial.org/food/recipes/balsamic-dressing
  7. Mercola: articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2007/10/22/a-homemade-rosemary-flavored-vinegar-that-s-absolutely-divine.aspx
  8. Fine Cooking.com recipe: finecooking.com/recipes/lemon-sherry-vinaigrette-salad-dressing.aspx

About Cat

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