This might be a shocking thing for some of you to read, but here goes…salad dressing doesn’t just come in a bottle from the grocery store. You can make your own. Really, once you learn the basics of making a simple vinaigrette, the flavor variations are endless.
It’s warming up out there and you’ve probably been noticing that your local market is carrying more vegetables that don’t require high heat to make them palatable and even a few more delicate lettuce leaves are popping up between those heavier kale leaves. Yay Spring! But along with these delicate veggies comes the need for lighter flavors and textures to dress these veggies.
Sure, you can run to the store and drop six or seven dollars for some bottle of exotic flavors to splash onto your plate, or you could save yourself some money and make your own dressing. This is where it pays to know how to make a simple vinaigrette. And why not make your own? It’s a great way to use that expensive bottle of balsamic vinegar and tasty specialty oil that you “absolutely had to have” but have yet to use more than half of the bottle.
The basic vinaigrette recipe (and I mean b-a-s-i-c) is 3:1. Three parts oil to 1 part vinegar. Of course, if you try to blend the oil and vinegar together, you’ll quickly find that the two don’t stay together. One of the ways to help get these two to mix better, and to stay mixed, is to add an emulsifier like mustard. Not only will this help keep everything together, but it will also add more flavor to the mix. I like to use a good brown mustard that has a lot of flavor on its own. And since I have a thing for mustard, I’ve got lots to choose from.
You also don’t need to be religious about that 3:1 ratio. You can play around with it a bit. Want a tangier vinaigrette? Up the vinegar and decrease the oil (that’s how I tend to make mine). You can also use some citrus with your vinegar for a different kind of tang with the addition of sweetness. Since it’s still blood orange season, and I have a thing for blood orange recipes, this simple vinaigrette recipe takes advantage of the tang, sweetness and color of blood orange juice.
It’s getting to be the end of season for blood oranges, so you could use navel oranges or tangerines in place of the blood orange juice if you can’t find blood oranges anymore.
A simple vinaigrette really doesn’t need anymore seasonings beyond salt and pepper at this point, but you could definitely enhance the flavor more by adding things like garlic, herbs de Provence, honey, celery seed, fennel seed or any seasonings that you like and that pair well with the type of vinegar and oil you use.
I hope you are able to find some of the last blood oranges to make this recipe with blood orange juice but if not, I hope you at least begin to make your own salad dressing so that you can see how easy and flavorful your salads can become when you mix up your own favorite flavors.
Your guy has a major bromance every March. Which one did you lose your guy to?
Recipe: Simple Vinaigrette with Blood Orange Juice
Summary: Makes approximately 3/4 of a cup
- 1/2 Cup Blood Orange Juice
- 3 Tablespoons White Wine Vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 Teaspoons Dijon Mustard
- Kosher Salt
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- In a small container add all ingredients except for salt and pepper.
- Whisk to thoroughly combine.
- Taste vinaigrette by dipping a piece of lettuce into it and shake off excess. That will give you the truest flavor.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Store leftovers in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
These ingredients blend together much easier if the vinaigrette is initially mixed together with room temperature ingredients.
Feel free to add chopped garlic or other herbs to this recipe as you like. You can also change out the blood orange juice for regular orange juice or tangerine juice.
Preparation time: 10 minute(s)
Diet type: Vegan
Diet tags: Gluten free
Number of servings (yield): 1
Culinary tradition: USA (General)