Everyone knows that a stellar dressing can take your salad from boring to totally crave-able. Store-bought is a great shortcut when time is tight, but when you have a few minutes to spare, whip up a homemade dressing like this Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing Recipe. You will love the rich, garlicky goodness! Homemade tastes better, plus it is the best way to skip the sugar and chemicals that can be found in many commercial brands.
Note: This post was originally published in September 2017; it was updated in December 2018.
As I said in my last post, sometimes it feels odd to be talking about food with so much going on in the world.
For me, like many in Florida, the last week has been surreal. It seems cliche to say that the waiting was the hardest part, but it was.
I grew up and went to college in Florida and have friends scattered across the state. Every hurricane update would bring so much stress, regardless of where the anticipated path was.
For days I’ve vacillated from being stressed about our safety (we live at the beach right now), to worried about the safety of friends further south.
I found myself binge cooking as a method of coping. (Including this Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing Recipe.)
I cooked more that I would cook over the holidays when I was hosting every gathering. I told myself that I was doing it so we would be prepared if we lost power. And, of course, there was some truth to that.
But I also realized that it was one of the most productive ways that I could channel my stress. My boys felt like I was spoiling them, but in truth, I was just trying to stay sane.
And to not let them know how worried I was.
Mommy does much better when she stays busy.
With freezers full of ice, canned beans in the pantry, way too many snacks, bars, and cookies to count, and a fridge packed with vegetables, I knew I’d been good for a few days, even if we lost power. (We’ve got a Berkey water filter so I thankfully didn’t have to worry about water.)
In the end, we were fine. Despite the storm repeatedly turning west, it never went far enough west that we saw the worst of it. (Living near the ocean, my biggest concern was the storm surge. We had none.)
I know many of you out there were not so fortunate. I’m thinking of my Florida friends as well as those in Houston during this time of recovery.
Now, let’s talk about this salad dressing!
You guys know that I am a big believer that a great dressing makes a salad. I don’t always meal prep, but I do most always remember to make salad dressing on Sundays. It almost assures that I will eat a salad every day.
Frequently Asked Questions for Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing Recipe:
What is the proper ratio of olive oil to balsamic vinegar?
The proper ratio of olive oil to balsamic vinegar in vinaigrette recipes is 3 parts olive oil to one part vinegar. This is a guide and can be adjusted according to taste or dietary goals.
How do I make creamy Balsamic Vinaigrette?
To make a creamier dressing, add in either 1/4 cup mayonnaise, tahini, or plain Greek yogurt in place of 1/4 cup of the extra virgin olive oil.
How do I cut back on the oil in salad dressing?
I’ve used the traditional 1:3 ratio of vinegar to oil here, but feel free to use less oil if you want. If you are trying to cut back on oil, try using chia gel for all or part of the oil. To do this mix 1/2 tablespoon chia seeds with 1/4 cup water and stir. Let sit for about 5 minutes, until it forms a gel.
How to Make a Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing Recipe
- First, you will gather your ingredients. You will need balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. I recommend using the best quality of balsamic vinegar that you can afford. It will make a difference in the taste.
- Add the balsamic vinegar, garlic, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper to the blender. Process until smooth.
- Add the olive oil. It is best to add in a steady stream with the blender running.
- That is it! It is really that simple.
Tools for Making this Recipe for Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
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- Combine ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Store in a mason jar in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Variations for Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette Salad Dressing
- Add in 1 chopped shallot or 2 tablespoons chopped red onion.
- Add 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary.
- Add the juice of one lemon.
- Omit the fresh minced garlic and instead use 1 tablespoon of garlic powder. (More or less to taste.)
- For a kick of heat add in 1 minced chipotle chili pepper plus 1 tablespoon adobo sauce.
Serving Suggestions for this Recipe for Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
- Use on any salad
- Use as the dressing for a pasta salad.
- Drizzle a tablespoon or so over fresh steamed vegetables.
- Drizzle over veggies in a wrap
Tips for Making Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
- Use the best quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar the that you can afford and take care that you are actually using extra virgin olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil is defined as containing no more than .8 percent acidity. In an analysis of popular brands of “extra virgin, researchers found that many of them did not actually meet the standards. Inferior oils can have inferior taste, so for the best possible dressing seek out and extra virgin olive oil that is truly extra virgin. You can read more about the challenges in the olive oil industry in this article from the New Yorker.
- While you can make this dressing with a whisk and a bowl, for best results use a blender. It is the easiest way to get a silky emulsion.