Basic Vinaigrette and Variations


One thing that makes my life tremendously easier is when I wash and prep all the veggies and fruit I buy right when I get home from the market before I even put them away. I wash them with a special fruit/veggie wash that removes waxes and pesticides (even when I buy organic), then I remove all the stems and such, slice and dice to my liking, and place in storage containers. Having a large bowl for scraps next to the cutting board is very helpful and will save a lot of steps (I learned that from watching Rachel Ray). Being able to grab the veggies and fruit out of the fridge all week and throw them directly in a pan, salad bowl or on some cereal/yogurt means a much faster meal and gives them a much better chance of being consumed. I often make a quick vinaigrette as well. Then I have no excuses to not eat my veggies!


There’s really no reason to ever buy salad dressing, especially a vinaigrette! They are ridiculously easy to make and you should have everything you need in your pantry and refrigerator. Make sure you have good olive oil and good wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, fruit vinegar (I like cherry) or fresh lemon juice on hand. Trader Joe’s is a great place to buy good vinegar and oils at good prices. These are just a few combinations – the possibilities are endless!


Balsamic Vinaigrette
1/2 cup good, aged balsamic vinegar (I get mine at Costco)
2 cloves garlic, grated
salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
Herb Vinaigrette
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice or red wine vinegar
2 TB fresh herbs, chopped
1 clove garlic, grated (optional)
salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
Cherry Vinaigrette
1/2 cup cherry balsamic vinegar
salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
1 cup extra virgin olive oil



The basic preparation for a vinaigrette is as follows and applies to each combination. In a medium size bowl, combine acidic ingredients (vinegar, lemon juice), garlic, herbs, salt, pepper and other flavorings/spices and mix with a wire whisk. In a slow stream, add oil, whisking as you go to emulsify.
Store in refrigerator. 
Okay, I’m going to go on about this a little more because it’s something I find very exciting (sad, I know). Now that we know the basic formula, 1 part acid to 2-3 parts oil, let’s talk about some more combinations I like. Always use fresh ingredients, if possible, and always add salt and fresh ground pepper.
Lime juice, cilantro, jalapeno pepper, agave nectar, olive oil
Lemon juice, thyme, rosemary, parsley, olive oil
Orange juice, ginger, soy sauce (splash), cilantro, olive oil
Lemon juice, basil, olive oil
Okay, I’m done. You get the picture.