Balsamic Vinaigrette

My dear friend Jody provided us with this balsamic vinaigrette recipe. She taught me to make my own salad dressings years ago, when I was still a college student buying bottles of Italian dressing from the Food Lion down the road. A great vinaigrette is essential for any home cook looking to venture into the world of salads. Happily, a delicious dressing is so easy to make. Mixing some high-quality olive oil with vinegar, salt and pepper, and perhaps a bit of honey in a jar will give you a winning dressing. It can last for days in the fridge and will help your salads reach new heights of yumminess.

The basic ratio

The basic ratio for any vinaigrette is three parts olive oil to one part vinegar. Vinegars can differ tremendously in their acidity, so this ratio is meant to be flexible. If you like a more tart dressing or you have a softer tasting vinegar (like a white balsamic), feel free to increase the quantity of vinegar or decrease the amount of olive oil.

Adding on

From this basic ratio, you can create some really spectacular combinations. You can try swapping plain balsamic for other kinds of vinegar, or you can add in new ingredients to change the entire dressing. Here are some flavor additions to consider! (Check out our Soups and Salads page for more inspiration).
  • Herby: Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of fresh or 1 to 2 teaspoons of dried (try dill, Italian, basil, etc) herbs
  • Cheesy: Add 1 to 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
  • Garlicky: Add 1 to 2 teaspoons finely minced garlic
  • Mustard-y: Add 1 to 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

How to make balsamic vinaigrette 

This Balsamic Vinaigrette recipe uses only a few ingredients and can be whipped up in seconds. You just have to mix everything and toss it in your salad, no food processors or mixers necessary! The recipe is lovely if you want your vinaigrette to be sophisticated yet not overpowering, and the limited ingredient list means that all the flavors can shine. If you want the best results, splurge on a bottle of good, aged balsamic vinegar that will add depth and complexity to this recipe. Also, try to use extra virgin olive oil, which boosts flavor without making the vinaigrette too oily.

Salad with balsamic vinaigrette

This balsamic vinaigrette recipe is wonderfully versatile, and it pairs well with most salads. Here I want to share two salad recipes that go hand-in-hand with this vinaigrette, and you will fall in love with the beautiful flavors! For the first recipe, take some mixed greens (Arugula, spinach and Brussel sprouts work well) in a bowl, add tomato slices and some feta cheese cubes. You can also add thinly sliced red onions for a kick. Finish off by adding two tablespoons of the vinaigrette and toss well to combine. The second recipe uses the delightful combination of apples and walnuts with this tangy vinaigrette to give you the best of both worlds. Simply mix some lettuce, cubed apples, walnuts, feta cheese, and vinaigrette to a bowl, toss, and enjoy! Or you can try this dressing with our  kale pomegranate salad. 

Balsamic vinaigrette with honey

This balsamic vinaigrette recipe uses honey instead of sugar. Honey is not only healthier than sugar, but it is milder in taste and adds delightful floral notes to the vinaigrette. This is a perfect choice if you don't want your vinaigrette to be excessively sweet! With this recipe, you can easily make your vinaigrette instead of getting a bottle from the store, which will probably cost a lot more. This recipe is so easy that anyone can make it, and you can even customize it to your liking. Let us know how you like it!
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