Whether with lamb’s lettuce, lentil salad or baked vegetables, a vinaigrette can spice up pretty much any dish and emphasize the flavor of the ingredients. The classic French vinaigrette is made from olive oil, vinegar and Dijon mustard. But there are many great ways to reinterpret the simple basic recipe and refine it with different ingredients. Today we are going to show you the best vinaigrette recipes with which you can refine not only salads, but also meat, fish and fried vegetables.
What is the difference between vinaigrette and dressing?
Comparing vinaigrette (pronounced vin-ə-GRET) with dressing is like comparing linguine with pasta. Vinaigrette is a type of dressing. You can recognize the vinaigrette by the fact that it has a lighter texture and is more fluid. Vinaigrettes have a few typical components that distinguish them from other, often creamier, dressings.
A vinaigrette is a mixture of oil and something sour and is used as a salad dressing or marinade. The oil is often olive oil, but it can be any other type of oil. The acidic ingredient is usually a citrus juice (often lemon) or a vinegar (hence the name): balsamic, rice vinegar, wine vinegar, raspberry vinegar, champagne vinegar, and more.
It is most commonly used as a salad dressing, but it can also be used as a marinade. Traditionally, a vinaigrette consists of 3 parts oil and 1 part vinegar, plus a little salt and pepper to taste. Mustard is used as an emulsifier so that the two ingredients do not separate after a short time. On this basis, numerous variations are created with different combinations of spices, herbs, shallots and onions.
How do I make the perfect vinaigrette?
The vinaigrette recipes presented here sound fancy and taste exquisite, but they are actually surprisingly easy to prepare. For best results, mix all of the ingredients in a mason jar or other container with a resealable lid, close the lid tightly, and shake vigorously until all ingredients are well mixed. Alternatively, whisk everything in a small bowl, but we like the mason jar method best. It also doubles as an easy way to store leftover vinaigrette (and saves washing up, which is always a perk!). Let the dressing sit for 10-15 minutes before serving to allow the salt to dissolve completely.
For some recipes with fruits or nuts, the ingredients are put in a blender and mixed together. It is important here to always add the oil at the end.
Champagne vinegar forms the perfect basis for the spicy mustard and fresh lemon in this refined French vinaigrette recipe.
Fits well with: all kinds of salads such as spinach salad with chicken, feta and strawberries, a mild white fish such as cod and poultry dishes.
75 ml extra virgin olive oil (about 5 tbsp)
55 ml champagne vinegar (about 3 tbsp)
2 tablespoons of coarse-grain Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
2 tablespoons of honey
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 clove of garlic (finely chopped or pressed) OR 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder
Blood orange vinaigrette
Sweet, juicy blood orange juice can be mixed perfectly with garlic and herbs to make a smart French vinaigrette dressing. Serve over mixed lettuce with a medium rare beef fillet.
Fits well with: Savoy cabbage, chicory, winter tabbouleh, fennel, radicchio, rocket, roasted beetroot
2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
60 ml blood orange juice (preferably freshly squeezed)
150 ml of olive oil
1/2 clove of garlic (finely chopped)
1 tablespoon shallots (finely chopped)
2 teaspoons fresh parsley (finely chopped)
2 teaspoons fresh chives (finely chopped)
Lemon and dill vinaigrette
The classic lemon and dill combination tastes great not only with salads, but also with Boiled potatoes, fish or grilled chicken. The key is freshness. You shouldn’t use dried dill. Try marinating fish with it, or use the vinagraitte for an atypical salad with a bitter taste like radicchio or red chicory.
Note: If you are preparing the dressing in advance, add the chopped dill just before serving.
Finely grated lemon peel (approx. 1 teaspoon)
3 tablespoons (about 60 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 2 medium-sized lemons)
1 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh dill
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
Freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons of rapeseed oil
Herbs de Provence vinaigrette
A mixture of herbs from Provence (Herbes de Provence) transforms a classic vinaigrette recipe into a unique and impressive salad dressing.
Fits well with: Lamb’s lettuce in combination with fried chicken and vegetables or on steamed vegetables with fish and olives.
1 teaspoon of dried Provence herbs or (2 teaspoons fresh, chopped)
5 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
5 tablespoons of olive oil
1/2 small clove of garlic (crushed and finely chopped)
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
Tarragon mustard vinaigrette
The tarragon mustard vinaigrette is a tangy, spicy dressing with a hint of the licorice aroma of tarragon. You can use it as a marinade for chicken or as a salad dressing.
Fits well with: Seafood; roasted or steamed vegetables such as green beans, asparagus, and artichokes; Firm leaf salads such as romaine lettuce or endive lettuce
Zest from a lemon
Juice of 2 lemons
2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard
freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons of chopped fresh tarragon
Easy vegan raspberry vinaigrette
The lively and colorful vegan raspberry vinaigrette is a simple yet elegant choice to refine a nutty or fruity salad. Strawberry and raspberry vinaigrettes are also popular choices with spinach salads. Many salad dressings add flavor with herbs or saltiness, so the tangy and slightly sweet taste of the raspberry vinaigrette is a nice change. For a crispy element, add a handful of pine nuts or walnuts to the salad.
Fits well with: Salads with spinach and feta
60 g raspberries (fresh or frozen)
55 ml apple cider vinegar
55 ml balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons of sugar
1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
55 ml of vegetable oil
preparation: Put all ingredients except the oil in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Slowly add the oil until everything is well mixed.
Maple Syrup Walnut Vinaigrette
This French-Canadian recipe combines sweet maple syrup with walnuts and is pureed into a creamy, sweet and nutty dressing. Chopped shallots and sherry vinegar give this simple salad dressing a real taste kick. Having trouble finding sherry vinegar? Instead, try a good red wine vinegar or, for a smooth taste, apple cider vinegar.
Fits well with: Autumn salads with cranberries, pears or pumpkin; sauteed carrots. This dressing can spice up any leaf salad and also goes well with tomatoes.
50 g chopped walnuts
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon of chopped shallots
100 g maple syrup
60 ml sherry vinegar
115 ml apple cider vinegar
60 ml walnut oil (about 3 tablespoons)
375 ml rapeseed oil
Italian vinaigrette recipe
If you need a simple vegan salad dressing, you can turn to balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Typical Italian herbs such as oregano, rosemary and basil add spice and even more aroma.
Fits well with: Salads with tomatoes, feta and beans
60 ml dark balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon shallot, red onion or 1 clove of garlic
1 tablespoon of honey
170 ml of extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Optional: 3 stalks of basil
or 1/2 teaspoon of dried Italian herb mixture
If you want to know more about balsamic vinegar:
Real balsamic vinegar is made from fermented grape juice (the so-called must), which is reduced to a thick syrup and matured in wooden barrels for at least 10 years. The very best (and most expensive) balsamic vinegar is 50 years old. Real balsamic vinegar is dark brown in color, syrupy and contains notes of honey, figs, raisins and caramel.
Real balsamic vinegar must meet certain standards. In short, there are 3 types of certified balsamic vinegar. Two of them come from Modena and Reggio Emilia and are called “Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena” and “Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Reggio Emilia”. They are made from grape must and have matured for at least 12 years.
The balsamic vinegar that you should use for vinaigrettes is the inexpensive Modena balsamic vinegar (Aceto Balsamico di Modena), which is made from grape must but is also mixed with wine vinegar. It must be stored for at least two months and may contain flavor enhancers to mimic the more expensive traditional balsamic vinegar.
This simple tangerine vinaigrette recipe is particularly spicy because it is made from tangerine juice, which goes very well with a salad with spinach. Mandarins are also a great source of vitamin C, which helps the body better absorb the iron from spinach.
Fits well with: Salads with spinach, salmon and fried scallops
170 ml apple cider vinegar
170 ml tangerine juice (6 to 8 tangerines)
2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar (or good quality balsamic vinegar)
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
1 shallot (chopped)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste)
230 to 300 ml of extra virgin olive oil
Store unused vinaigrette in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Coriander and lime vinaigrette for cucumber salad
This refreshing vinaigrette made from lime juice and coriander is quick and easy to prepare. The cucumber salad is an excellent accompaniment to tacos, grilled or oven-roasted chicken legs, hamburger patties or baked fish.
Ingredients for 4 persons:
1/4 cup chopped fresh coriander
Juice of 2 limes
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons sambal oelek (chili paste) (optional)
2 pinches of chilli flakes or to taste
Salt to taste
Serve immediately or let the salad rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes so that the flavors can combine and intensify.
Cumin and lime vinaigrette
The warm herbal notes of the cumin harmonize wonderfully with the sharpness of the fresh limes. Salads or simply cooked vegetables that are refined with this cumin and lime vinaigrette would be a great addition to Mexican, South American or Indian dishes. And if you’ve been wondering what kind of salad you can combine with specialties from these international cuisines, this dressing is an easy solution. It helps bridge the gap on your main course, no matter what it is.
This recipe is also great as a marinade for meat, poultry or fish. If you want to grill meat, this marinade gives the meat the right taste and ensures the right level of juiciness. It also tastes ideal with a Mexican quinoa salad.
1/4 cup lime juice (freshly squeezed)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt (to taste)