Vinaigrette Dressings for Summer Salads

Put the store-bought salad dressing back on the shelf. Homemade salad dressings are so simple to make, there’s no need to buy them. Using an easy template of oil, acid, salt and pepper creates the base for endless possibilities. A traditional vinaigrette is 3 parts oil to 1 part acid but I prefer a 2 to 1 ratio, making the dressing a bit more tart. My “go to” oil is extra-virgin olive oil  and the acid can be a choice of vinegar, lemon juice, orange juice, grapefruit, lime juice or any combination. I prefer the subtle sweetness of balsamic vinegar but you can use cider, white balsamic, sherry or red wine vinegar; each providing a slightly different flavor profile.

Vinaigrette Dressings for Summer Salads


Citrus-Herb Vinaigrette

¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice (about 1 orange)

2 tablespoons lemon juice (about ½ a lemon)

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons honey

1 tablespoon white or red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon each, minced fresh basil and mint

Zest of 1 orange

Salt and pepper to taste

Add all ingredients to a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake and serve.

Balsamic Dijon Vinaigrette

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

4-6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

Add all ingredients to a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake until well combined.

Variations (add or substitute):

2 tablespoons chopped scallion or shallot

1 small garlic clove, minced

Lemon and or orange juice for vinegar

1 teaspoon lemon or orange zest

Sherry, apple cider, or red wine vinegar for balsamic

Note:  A basic vinaigrette equation: 2-3 parts oil + 1 part acid + salt and pepper= vinaigrette

Example: ½ or 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil + ¼ cup vinegar, lemon juice, or orange juice (or a combination of all 3), salt and pepper to taste

Nutrition Note: 2 tablespoons of store-bought salad dressing can rack up a whopping 500 mg sodium. Homemade salad dressings are a fraction of that amount.






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