Basic Vinaigrette Salad Dressing

saladgreensStore bought salad dressings are a nutritional nightmare! Once you read the label on the back of one of those bottles you will hopefully think twice about eating it again!  Thankfully salad dressings are so easy to make, and honestly it is cheaper to make your own than it is to buy it.  Invest in the basic ingredients and you will always have fresh, delicious, healthy salad dressing ready in just a few minutes.

I will start by giving you the basic template for a standard vinaigrette dressing. At the end I will give you some variations you can use to personalize your dressing. Don’t be afraid to experiment with new and exciting combinations of herbs, spices, and other flavors.  You can buy one of the pretty glass cruets made just for salad dressings or simply keep yours in a half-pint mason jar.

Basic Vinaigrette Dressing

1/2 to 3 tsp Dijon mustard*

2-3 Tblsp vinegar* (use apple cider, red wine, white wine, balsamic or other delicious vinegar but NOT distilled white vinegar!)

1/4 to 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil*

1/2 tsp sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

Place the mustard in a bowl. Whisk in the vinegar. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while continuing to whisk until the oil is incorporated. Stire in the salt and pepper. The mustard acts as a sort of emulsifier to help the vinegar and oil stay together, but it isn’t a heavy-duty chemical emulsifier like some commercial dressings have so your salad dressing will eventually separate. Just shake the jar to mix it back up. 

*Why the range of measurements? It all depends on your taste preference. Start with the smaller amounts and then experiment with using more or less of each ingredient until you get the combination that tastes best to you.

Optional add-ins:

Choose any one or more of the following items. Remember, this is just to get you started. If you try something yummy at a retaurant ask them what is in their dressing and go try it at home for example.  Add your mix-ins when you mix together the mustard and vinegar but before the olive oil.

1/2 clove crushed garlic; a couple of teaspoons of raw honey; a teaspoon or two of minced fresh herbs such as parsley, dill, chives, oregano, lemongrass, cilantro, basil; a couple teaspoons of homemade blueberry jam; a couple spoonfuls of leftover cranberry sauce; a minced chipotle chili

chives and thyme