Give me your best vinaigrette recipes.
June 3, 2009 5:38 PM   Subscribe

I love a good vinaigrette, but I would like to make my own. What are you favorite recipes? I've never made it before, so some tips would be helpful also. Restrictions include no meat or dairy. Thanks!
posted by MaryDellamorte to Food & Drink (30 answers total) 76 users marked this as a favorite
About 5 parts extra virgin olive oil
About 3 parts balsamic vinegar

That's it. It's all about the balsamic.
posted by Methylviolet at 5:41 PM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

I do a mix of cider vinegar, honey, red wine, and olive oil that's great. Probably about equal parts- I just sort of wing it.
posted by emilyd22222 at 5:42 PM on June 3, 2009

Response by poster: I'm looking for something a little more exciting than a basic balsamic vinaigrette. If I'm in the mood for balsamic, I just use straight balsamic vinegar.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 5:43 PM on June 3, 2009

I occasionally make one that is a mix of white wine vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice, finely minced shallots, poppy seeds, and a tiny bit of sugar.
posted by ecab at 5:45 PM on June 3, 2009

Blood orange sherry vinaigrette! Shiso meyer lemon vinaigrette! Ginger curry vinaigrette (on a bean salad)!

I think you'll find lots of good ideas on Heidi's blog, 101 Cookbooks.
posted by bcwinters at 5:45 PM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

I do a kind of Asian-ish one with garlic and ginger, rice vinegar, and a dash of sesame oil along with regular oil.

I always add mustard to my vinaigrettes, too.
posted by padraigin at 5:48 PM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

methylviolet's plus a pinch of mustard powder. Mustard powder is key.
posted by vincele at 5:50 PM on June 3, 2009 [4 favorites]

Lemon Vinaigrette

2 tbs oil
1 tbs lemon juice
1 tsp dijon mustard

Stir lots and eventually it comes together.

Awesome over steamed broccoli.
posted by WayOutWest at 5:51 PM on June 3, 2009

A bit of Dijon mustard whisked into the oil will give a basis for the emulsion you need. I like red wine vinegar best, but the others will do. Once you've combined oil, mustard and seasonings os your choice, whisk in the oil, adding it slowly - kind of like making mayonaise. Also works as a marinade for pickled beef tongue or London Broil.
posted by path at 6:11 PM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

Sherry Shallot Vinaigrette, from the Greens Cookbook:

Let soak for 30 minutes:
1 Shallot chopped up fine
1.5 Tablespoons Sherry Vinegar
1/2 Teaspoon Salt

Add & whisk:
3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

This is great on any salad, but it's superb on a salad of greens, stilton cheese, toasted pecans, and sliced tart apple. Also very good on roasted beets.
posted by alms at 6:20 PM on June 3, 2009

Portions to taste: (I've never measured them):
Olive oil
Soy sauce
Dijon mustard
Dash of fresh-squeezed orange juice (optional)
Cilantro (optional)

Whisk all together. Put on everything. Makes an awesome steak marinade as well (w/o OJ)
posted by stargell at 6:29 PM on June 3, 2009

One part balsamic vinegar, two parts walnut oil, two parts neutral vegetable oil, a quarter of a part Dijon mustard. Add salt and pepper. Don't use too much balsamic or you'll overpower the walnut oil, which is the whole point of this recipe.
posted by Johnny Assay at 6:29 PM on June 3, 2009

A vinaigrette is oil and vinegar. Recipes don't really enter into it much. You can jazz it up with other stuff, but really it's all about the two main ingredients. And oils and vinegars vary as much as wines do. So if you want to get interesting, try lots of oils and lots of vinegars. See what you like. (Hopefully, there's a place near you where you can sample before you buy.) Just sticking to olive oil, there are so many, from so many different places, with so many different flavors. And there are nut oils, too--walnut, as mentioned, is particularly good. And walnut oil combines especially well, I think, with sherry vinegar. Actually, I think sherry vinegar is a must-have ingredient. It's so much better than most balsamics you find. Anyway, sorry if this isn't helpful, but I just recommend getting a bunch of stuff and playing mad scientist.
posted by neroli at 6:50 PM on June 3, 2009 [2 favorites]

I would also add that emulsifying first isn't necessary. It's not mayonnaise. I just get a good tasty salad mix, throw on some walnut oil and a pinch of salt, toss lightly, and then spritz on a really small amount of balsamic and toss again. Yes, that's it. If the salad greens are fresh and varied you never have to get any fancier than that
posted by zadcat at 7:06 PM on June 3, 2009

Here is a nice curry vinaigrette which goes especially will with baby spinach:

6 Tbs good olive oil
2 Tbs light (ie rice wine) vinegar
1 Tbs curry powder
Salt & pepper to taste

To be 100% correct you will warm the curry powder in a dry pan heated over a medium for 15 seconds or so.

Note that the curry powder acts as the emulsifier in this recipe.
posted by shothotbot at 7:21 PM on June 3, 2009 [3 favorites]

I really like extra virgin olive oil, rice wine vinegar and dijon mustard. I like that rice wine vinegar isn't musty like most wine vinegars. I find a little mustard goes a long way - I just dip a fork in the jar and then use that to mix the oil and vinegar in a mug. If I have a half a lemon in the fridge I'll add a few drops.
posted by JulianDay at 7:34 PM on June 3, 2009

Wine vinegar, good oil, a little salt and pepper and a dash of cumin. Acts much like mustard powder in other reciepies. It goes really really well on a tossed microgreen & sweet pepper salad served over an avocado. mmm..I know what I'm making for dinner tonight.
posted by gofargogo at 7:41 PM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

I fell in love with this recipe a few weeks ago and am addicted:

Mustard Dill Dressing (via Epicurious):

3tb dijon mustard
2tb white-wine vinegar
1tb water
1tb sugar
1/3c cup olive oil
3tb finely chopped dill

It is a bit thick, so you'll probably want to add extra water, but soooo good. I've been using a blender rather than beating/whisking it, couldn't be easier. I don't white wine vinegar and have been using 1/2 vinegar and 1/2 apple cider vinegar, I think as long as you have some sort of acid it works. Would probably be great with balsamic as well.
posted by cestmoi15 at 7:47 PM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

My variation:

dijon mustard (1tbsp-ish)
honey (2tbsp-ish)
wine vinegar (3-4 tbsp?)
olive oil (1/4 cup?)
a few drops of sesame oil (key ingredient!)
garlic (i use pureed, from a jar) (1tsp)
salt & pepper

I don't actually know amounts because i tend to put a bit of each in a little jar, shake it around, taste it, and then add in more of whatever it seems to need.

Another which i love but is so easy it seems weird to write it out is just:

Lemon juice
olive oil
pureed garlic
salt & pepper
posted by Kololo at 8:09 PM on June 3, 2009

This is the best salad dressing I've ever had. Goes really well with a salad of mixed greens, walnuts, cherry tomatoes, feta, and apples. The recipe makes quite a bit. Courtesy of Big Bear Brewing Co in Coral Springs, FL.

Vanilla Vinaigrette

1 cup plus 2 Tbsp sugar
2/3 cup white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp grated spanish onion
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1 scant tsp kosher salt
1 vanilla bean
1-1/4 cups olive oil

Place oil in small pan over low heat. Split the vanilla bean and scrape the delicious insides into the oil. Throw the bean in there as well. Bring the heat up to a very low simmer, then remove from the heat and let stand for an hour. Make sure you don't cook the oil or else the dressing will taste like...cooked oil. After the oil is cool, take out the vanilla bean and throw the oil plus everything else in a blender. Voila! Lots and lots of crazy good vanilla vinaigrette.

Good post, I'll be watching the thread.
posted by tatiana wishbone at 8:21 PM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

Fruit vinaigrette:

- Fruit preserves (blackberry, raspberry, blueberry, strawberry, peach, mango, etc.) - I like Polaner's All-Fruit
- Red wine vinegar
- Oil - your choice, I use cheap olive or peanut
- Quantities to taste

Strain preserves through wire mesh strainer, combine ingredients, mix & enjoy!
posted by torquemaniac at 8:24 PM on June 3, 2009

^ Forgot to mention - you can use apple cider vinegar as well.
posted by torquemaniac at 8:27 PM on June 3, 2009

To me, a classic vinaigrette includes fresh tarragon. Otherwise, one part white wine vinegar to three parts good quality olive oil. Add dashes of (real) Dijon mustard and fresh garlic if you want, plus salt and pepper. That's it. Balsamic is going to make a different salad dressing out of it, not necessarily bad at all, but to me, not a classic vinaigrette.
posted by gimonca at 9:03 PM on June 3, 2009

I have a large wooden bowl I use to make dressing.

salt and pepper
mash a clove of garlic into the s&p with a fork till it is a paste
coarse grain prepared mustard
worcheschire sauce
paste them together
balsamic vinegar
virgin olive oil
whisk it all together
posted by pointilist at 9:19 PM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

My favorite vinegrette is a red wine vinegar garlicky one.

2/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon or so each salt and freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon grated garlic (type sold in jars is easiest to use)
posted by fan_of_all_things_small at 9:28 PM on June 3, 2009

We tend to cut down on oil, so my vinaigrette looks like this. It always goes over well.

3 T. olive oil
3 T. red or white wine vinegar
1/2 t. Dijon mustard
1/2 t. salt
freshly ground pepper

Plus, add to taste from the spice drawer. Basil, onion flakes, garlic, parmesan cheese, whatever you're in the mood for.
posted by zompist at 9:59 PM on June 3, 2009

lavender buds
rice vinegar
dash of honey
spritz of olive oil

same as above with wax pepper slices.
posted by effluvia at 10:36 PM on June 3, 2009

I do:
3/4 C olive oil (get the best you can; 1/2 lemon infused and 1/2 regular is great too)
1/4 C vinegar (I like sherry vinegar or good red wine vinegar)
add salt, pepper, powdered mustard, and paprika to taste (probably about 1/2 tsp of each)
add 1-2 smashed 1-2 garlic cloves
shake to mix.

Can also add other herbs / spices to taste.

This is very much like gimonica's classic vinaigrette. The trick is getting really good quality olive oil and vinegar - the stuff you get in the supermarket just doesn't cut it.
posted by pombe at 11:31 PM on June 3, 2009

Not to chat, but re: lots of the recommendations for Dijon: have you ever had a problem with curdling? I used the same brand for a long time and never had this problem, only to start having it curdle on me when I shook it up. More than one jar has done this. Tips on saving these recipes from nightmarish curdles?
posted by Beardman at 12:08 PM on June 4, 2009

A nice "base" that I got from Alton Brown is (the measurements are from memory):
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup vinegar (I use balsamic)
salt & pepper to taste

Start with the mustard, whisk in the vinegar, then SLOWLY whisk in the oil.

It is easy, tasty, and the mustard acts as an emulsifier, so it holds together. But from there, you can go to town - add fresh herbs, juice, or whatever (blood orange or shallots, as above sound pretty good).
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 12:10 PM on June 4, 2009

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