Vinaigrette is a French culinary invention, around 1690 to 1700’s.
It is an emulsion of vinegar and oil with onions, garlic, and shallots used along with other ingredients.
The Basic Vinaigrette Recipe
The most basic recipe for making a salad vinaigrette is one part vinegar or other acid like lemon juice, mixed with three to four parts oil.
Choosing The Oil
Oils that are most used in a vinaigrette recipe can be extra-virgin (EV) olive oil, olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, canola or vegetable oil and even walnut or almond oils. The later two oils bring the most expensive to purchase.
Are You New To Cooking – Then You Need To Know – Smoke Point Of Cooking Oils.
Becareful though the oil that you use. Using oils with very strong, intense flavors, like some nut oils and extra-virgin olive oil, can sometimes overwhelm the delicate flavors in a salad.
You can opt to use just olive oil, avocado oil and even vegetable or canola oil. These oils have a less intense flavor.
If you use coconut oil, mix it with EV olive oil and a infused balsamic vinegar. With flavors like pomegranate, dark cherry or pear among others.
Coconut oil mixes well with a fruit salad or sweet tasting vegetables like sweet peas, snap peas and even green beans.
Avocado oil is a mild nutty and buttery tasting oil. Many people have describe it as being a “clean” tasting oil. In other words, it doesn’t over power those delicate flavors you want to taste in a salad.
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Choosing The Vinegar
Any vinegar will do. But the same rule applies: Pick something tasty. Cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, rice vinegar, and balsamic vinegar are good to use.
If you want an acid other than vinegar, you can use fresh-squeezed citrus juices, like lime, lemon, orange and even grapefruit.
Avoid plain distilled white vinegar as it has a very strong, harsh flavor that isn’t generally very good in vinaigrettes.
Seasoning The Vinaigrette
Start with salt, either kosher, Himalayan, or sea salt. Your choice. Just skip the table salt.
Fresh ground pepper corns are the best to use. But already ground pepper will do.
When adding salt and pepper, add to taste. Start with a small amount until you have the flavor you want.
Fresh herbs give vinaigrettes a punch of brightness and additional tangy to sweet flavor and minced garlic or shallots add pungency.
If you like a bit of sweetness in your salads, add some honey, maple syrup, or coconut sugar. Again, these sweeteners have their own flavor to add, so choose wisely as you would with the oil and vinegar.
Oil and Vinegar Don’t Mix
This is so true, oil and vinegar will naturally separate into two separate layers, but when you are making a salad, you want them to bind together so they coat a salad evenly and giving a uniform flavor as you enjoy eating the salad.
Oil is a non-polar substance and has no attracting powers and so it separates from the vinegar and rises to the top.
Adding an emulsifier can bind fat (oil) and water (vinegar or citrus juice) together.
That’s where mustard seeds comes in.
Mustard seeds contain a thick gloppy emulsifier called mucilage.
The mustard seeds have a mix of proteins and polysaccharides that surrounds the hull of the seed. Therefore making it highly effective at stabilizing emulsions.
In other words, mustard helps the oil and vinegar to mix or combined together so it sticks to the salad ingredients.
One tablespoon of mustard mixed into 8 ounce of vinaigrette (3:1 oil to vinegar or citrus juice) will provide enough mucilage to mix and stabilize the dressing so as to coat the salad greens (Source: The Science Of Cooking – page. 200).
The best mustard to use is Dijon mustard, though any mustard will do, including dry ground mustard seed.
Choose Your Salad Recipe
Choose one or more of the deliciously yummy salads to make a great vinaigrette.
- Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with a Apple Maple Vinaigrette
- Strawberry Arugula Salad with Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Red Cabbage Vegetable Root Slaw with a Honey Hibiscus Vinaigrette
- Red Kale Beets and Sweet Cilantro Vinaigrette
- Fennel and Spinach Salad with Shrimp and Balsamic Mustard Vinaigrette
- Tortellini and Summer Sausage with Tomato Basil Vinaigrette
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