As I’ve become more comfortable in my kitchen over the years, I’ve discovered there are a few things in life that are just so much better when you make them yourself. Chief among them is salad dressing. I used to have about ten different kinds in my refrigerator at any given time. Most of them were loaded with creepy preservatives, a boatload of sugar, and far too many ingredients I couldn’t pronounce. Worst of all? They really weren’t that good. Once I discovered just how easy it is to make your own dressings my salad game changed forever (and I have a lot more refrigerator space!). One of my favorites is this White Balsamic Vinaigrette.
Based on a classic french vinaigrette with a slight twist, this dressing is comprised of only six ingredients and comes together in just a few minutes. There is no fancy equipment needed and it keeps beautifully for a week in a sealed jar in the fridge. I love to make a batch on Sunday night to use throughout the week. It also works as a marinade for chicken or fish!
Traditionally, a simple french vinaigrette is made with olive oil, dijon mustard, shallots, and red wine vinegar. I love to mix things up and use white balsamic vinegar for a tangy and bright dressing with a clean flavor profile. If you like things a little sweeter, you can easily add a small dash of honey. In the summer, I’ll often chop up whatever fresh herbs I have lying around and toss them in. Using a good olive oil is really important here, as is a brand of dijon you really like. I don’t think you need to worry about spending a ton on the vinegar if you have good oil and mustard. In fact, my favorite for this dressing is from Trader Joes! One other little secret: if I don’t have fresh shallots around, I will sometimes cheat and use these freeze dried shallots from Penzeys. Just be sure to let them sit in the dressing for a while before serving!
You can definitely bust out your blender to really emulsify things or, more traditionally, slowly whisk the oil into all of the other ingredients. Truthfully though, I usually just combine everything in a half-pint jar, pop on the lid, and shake away until it’s well mixed!
- ½ cup good Olive Oil
- 2 Tablespoons White Balsamic Vinaigrette
- ½ Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
- ½ Tablespoon minced shallot
- pinch of kosher salt
- fresh ground pepper to taste
- Combine all ingredients in a small jar.
- Tighten lid and shake the mixture vigorously until emulsified.
- Store unused portion in refrigerator for up to one week.