August 31, 2015 10:38 am
Updated: August 31, 2015 11:18 am

Say goodbye to store-bought with these homemade vinaigrette recipes

This March 9, 2015 shows a vinaigrette dressing with a salad in Concord, N.H.

AP Photo/Matthew Mead
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Once you get familiar with which ingredients work together, it’s easy to create your own vinaigrettes.

Dietitian Andrea Miller of Whitby, Ont., starts with a 2:1 ratio of oil to vinegar. She prefers a plant-based unsaturated oil for its health benefits, sunflower, safflower or canola oil for a lighter flavour or maybe a cold-pressed olive oil for a bolder statement.

With vinegar, it’s all about taste, although cost can be an issue. She suggests starting with less expensive versions to get familiar with the flavours.

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READ MORE: Tips and tricks for making vinaigrettes, flavoured oils and vinegars

Miller usually adds a little sweetener such as honey, sugar, maple syrup (which she calls “fabulous”) or artificial sweetener; a savoury or tart ingredient such as about five millilitres (one teaspoon) of Dijon mustard or a squeeze of lemon juice; and some herbs (minced garlic, dried oregano or dried basil, for example). It all depends on the salad.

The vinaigrette recipes below offer some creative and flavourful combinations.

GOAT CHEESE SALAD WITH SOUR CHERRY VINAIGRETTE

Cherries are not used as often as some other fruits to flavour vinaigrettes, but this dressing and salad are a delightful balance of sweet and sour.

  • 150 ml (2/3 cup) olive or vegetable oil
  • 75 ml (1/3 cup) cider vinegar
  • 75 ml (1/3 cup) sour (tart) cherries, pitted
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) grainy Dijon mustard
  • 10 ml (2 tsp) liquid honey
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) goat cheese
  • 2 amaretti cookies, finely crumbled
  • 1 l (4 cups) mixed baby arugula, baby spinach and Boston lettuce

In a blender, combine oil, vinegar, cherries, mustard, honey, salt and pepper and process until emulsified. Set aside.

With a teaspoon, evenly measure out 12 pieces of goat cheese. Between palms of hands, form into balls. Coat all over with amaretti crumbs. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. (These can be made 1 day ahead.)

To serve, place mixed greens on salad plates. Top with goat cheese balls; drizzle with vinaigrette

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Foodland Ontario.

BASIC VINAIGRETTE

This all-purpose vinaigrette is good on almost any combination of salad greens. Try using different mustards and vinegars to achieve the flavours you enjoy.

  • 5 ml (1 tsp) granulated sugar
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) salt
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 10 ml (2 tsp) Dijon mustard
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) wine vinegar (red or white)
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) olive oil

In a bowl, whisk sugar, salt, pepper, garlic, mustard and vinegar. While whisking, drizzle oil into mixture.

Makes 8 servings.

Source: “350 Best Salads and Dressings” by George Geary (Robert Rose Inc., www.robertrose.ca, 2010).

APPLE CIDER VINAIGRETTE

This dressing can be served warm. Simply microwave it for 15 seconds and it’s perfect for a wilted spinach salad.

  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) balsamic vinegar
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) apple cider vinegar
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) liquid honey
  • 2 ml (1/2 tsp) sea salt
  • 175 ml (3/4 cup) vegetable or peanut oil

In a bowl, whisk together balsamic and cider vinegars, honey and salt. While whisking, pour in oil in a thin steady stream until emulsified.

Makes 250 ml (1 cup).

Source: “350 Best Salads and Dressings” by George Geary (Robert Rose Inc., www.robertrose.ca, 2010).

LEMON DIJON VINAIGRETTE

This vinaigrette is good drizzled on almost any salad made with fresh shrimp and is especially tasty with the Shrimp and Melon Salad recipe below.

  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) white wine vinegar
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) balsamic vinegar
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) grated lemon zest
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) granulated sugar
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) liquid honey
  • 10 ml (2 tsp) Dijon mustard
  • 150 ml (2/3 cup) soybean oil

In a bowl, whisk together white wine and balsamic vinegars, lemon zest and juice, sugar, honey and mustard. While whisking, pour in oil in a thin steady stream until emulsified.

Makes 300 ml (1 1/4 cups).

Source: “350 Best Salads and Dressings” by George Geary (Robert Rose Inc., www.robertrose.ca, 2010).

SHRIMP AND MELON SALAD

Sweet melons are gorgeous with pink shrimp and white rice and the combination is set off by Lemon-Dijon Vinaigrette (recipe above).

  • 500 ml (2 cups) cooked white rice, cooled
  • 300 to 375 g (10 to 12 oz) cooked medium shrimp
  • 500 ml (2 cups) cubed fresh melon (such as casaba, honeydew or cantaloupe)
  • 2 ripe avocado, diced
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) chopped green onions
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 50 ml (1/4 cup) Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette (recipe above)

In a bowl, combine rice, shrimp, melon, avocado, green onions, garlic and vinaigrette.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: “350 Best Salads and Dressings” by George Geary (Robert Rose Inc., www.robertrose.ca, 2010).

ORANGE CINNAMON VINAIGRETTE

This vinaigrette will add a spiced citrus zip to salad greens.

  • 10 ml (2 tsp) grated orange zest
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 50 ml (1/4 cup) natural rice vinegar
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) ground cinnamon
  • 50 ml (1/4 cup) sunflower oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a bowl, whisk together orange zest and juice, vinegar and cinnamon. Whisk while drizzling in oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Makes 250 ml (1 cup).

Source: “350 Best Salads and Dressings” by George Geary (Robert Rose Inc., www.robertrose.ca, 2010).

POMEGRANATE VINAIGRETTE

Vinaigrettes can add visual appeal as well as flavour. This red vinaigrette is perfect for a green salad served with Christmas dinner.

  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) sherry wine vinegar
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) pomegranate seeds, crushed
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) liquid honey
  • 2 ml (1/2 tsp) sea salt
  • 2 ml (1/2 tsp) ground white pepper
  • 175 ml (3/4 cup) soybean oil

In a bowl, whisk together vinegar, pomegranate seeds, honey, salt and pepper. While whisking, pour in oil in a thin steady stream until emulsified.

Makes 425 ml (1 3/4 cups).

Source: “350 Best Salads and Dressings” by George Geary (Robert Rose Inc., www.robertrose.ca, 2010).

SESAME NOODLE SALAD

Vinaigrettes work well with many pasta salads. This dressing uses the distinctive taste of soy sauce in a salad featuring toasted sesame seeds, egg noodles and vegetables.

Dressing

  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) toasted sesame seed oil
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) canola oil
  • 10 ml (2 tsp) low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • Sea salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste

Salad

  • 375 g (12 oz) egg noodles, cooked and cooled
  • 375 ml (1 1/2 cups) snow peas
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) julienne carrots
  • 2 Roma (plum) tomatoes, diced
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) chopped green onions
  • 50 ml (1/4 cup) chopped cilantro
  • 10 ml (2 tsp) toasted sesame seeds

In a sealed container, vigorously shake sesame and canola oils, soy sauce, garlic, salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine noodles, snow peas, carrots, tomatoes, onions, cilantro and sesame seeds. Drizzle dressing on top. Stir to coat.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: “350 Best Salads and Dressings” by George Geary (Robert Rose Inc., www.robertrose.ca, 2010).

© 2015 The Canadian Press

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