This essential balsamic vinaigrette recipe is tangy with a touch of sweetness. The secret is a spoonful of tasty Dijon mustard, which serves as an emulsifier and makes the dressing delightfully thick.
Think about it…have you ever wanted to know what the secret is to making restaurant-quality salads at home? It’s in the dressing! A recipe for a basic balsamic vinaigrette for salads is one of the best tools a home cook can have in their arsenal. Fortunately, this one is as easy as combining the ingredients in a jar and giving it a good shake.
I’ve found that the simpler a recipe is and the fewer the ingredients it has, the more important the quality of those ingredients is. There’s nothing to mask the flavor. You’ll have most of these ingredients on hand. The versatility of this healthy balsamic vinaigrette recipe is off the charts – I use it on lots of salads, including my Portillo’s Chopped Salad and Mediterranean Salad. This will quickly become a staple in your home for years to come.
Oh, and it’s not just for salads! It’s also delicious on roasted vegetables and drizzled over roasted or grilled chicken, easily creating a delicious recipe for balsamic vinaigrette chicken. So, all I’ve got to say, is pass the Balsamic vinaigrette, Baby!
What is Balsamic Vinaigrette?
Balsamic Vinaigrette is a twist on a classic French vinaigrette, made with, of course, balsamic vinegar as the vinegar of choice. It has a sweeter overall flavor and is enhanced with a generous amount of fresh shallots and garlic.
What Is The Ratio Of Olive Oil To Balsamic Vinegar In A Vinaigrette?
A classic balsamic vinaigrette has a 3:1 ratio of oil to vinegar like the original classic French vinaigrette. Of course, everyone has their own preferences for this ratio. Even Jacques Pepin says that the traditional French vinaigrette proportions are a little too acidic for his taste!
You can tweak the ratio to your taste, add more oil to make it richer, or add more vinegar if you like a sharper flavor.
What I Love Most About This Recipe
- I love the mild acidity and sweetness.
- So quick and easy to make.
- So much better than any store-bought version!
Recipe Notes For Balsamic Vinaigrette:
- Balsamic Vinegar: Not all balsamic vinegars are created equal! I generally use a moderately priced balsamic vinegar from Trader Joes. Here’s an article on some ratings for other balsamic vinegars that might be helpful. It’s important to note that balsamic vinegar can be too acidic or bitter. If you use a vinegar with one of these properties, your dressing won’t have the wonderful flavor we’re trying to create!
- Olive Oil: To create a balanced overall flavor, a good choice would be an extra virgin olive oil. It has a more delicate flavor and will blend nicely, adding some lovely aromatic qualities.
- Shallots: Shallots are part of the onion family and as such add similar flavors while being more delicate and less pungent. They’re delicious when added raw.
- Fresh Garlic: Don’t skimp here – smelly hands are a small price to pay for the wonderful flavor fresh garlic gives to homemade dishes.
- Dijon Mustard: This condiment is a flavor powerhouse. Slightly spicier than regular mustard, and made with white wine this mustard brings a complex mustard-i-ness (is that a word? LOL) without being overbearing. It also helps the vinaigrette emulsify.
- Dried Italian Seasoning: Dried herbs have a stronger flavor than fresh herbs do. If you’d like to use fresh herbs instead of the dried mix, use about 3 times more fresh herbs than the dried herbs called for in this recipe.
- Acids: Switch out the balsamic for freshly-squeezed lemon juice or a good red wine vinegar.
- Flavored Oil: Infuse the olive oil with garlic or other spices to create another flavor layer.
- Creamy: For a creamy balsamic vinaigrette recipe, you can add 2-3 tablespoons of mayonnaise and whisk vigorously until smooth.
- Sugar: Want to lower the overall sugar in your vinaigrette, omit it all together. The dressing will still have a lovely sweetness due to the balsamic vinegar.
- Honey: Another delicious version is our honey balsamic vinaigrette version. In lieu of sugar add 3 teaspoons – 1 Tablespoons of honey.
- Stevia: Another way to lower the sugar is to substitute it with Stevia. Stevia is significantly sweeter than regular sugar so begin with 1/8 of a teaspoon and increase slowly to achieve desired sweetness.
How To Store Vinaigrette
This can be stored in a sealed container for 1 week in the refrigerator. The vinaigrette will separate as it sits but all it needs is a quick, vigorous shake, to restore it to its original consistency!
How To Make Balsamic Vinaigrette?
In a jar with a tightly fitting lid (I like to use a mason jar), add all ingredients and shake vigorously to combine. Alternatively, you can add all ingredients except the olive oil to a small mixing bowl and whisk together until well combined, then continue to whisk as you slowly drizzle in the olive oil.
- Add olive oil to the jar.
- Add Balsamic vinegar to the jar.
- Chop shallots very finely and add to the jar.
- Mince garlic and add to the jar.
- Measure out dijon mustard, Italian seasoning, sugar, black pepper, and salt and add to the jar.
- Shake well until combined and emulsified.
**See full directions in the recipe below**
More Recipes With Balsamic Vinegar
- Balsamic Chicken – Our One Skillet Balsamic Chicken is delicious for any Season! The sauce is made with fresh grape tomatoes which are readily available year round. Easy Delish Dinner! No marinating time or extra pans required.
- Italian Chicken – This recipe for Italian Chicken is so juicy and flavorful, you’re sure to use it as a go-to weeknight recipe! Moist, and juicy with a taste of Italy.
- Strawberry Spinach Salad – Pretty as a picture and tasty to boot, Strawberry Spinach Salad packs layers of flavor in every bite! Fruit and pecans balance the tangy dressing perfectly!
- Honey Balsamic Sheet Pan Dressing – Honey Balsamic Chicken and veggies cook together on one pan while the marinade reduces to a tangy, sweet sauce.
- Quinoa Salad – My quinoa salad is flavored with fresh mint, parsley, feta, pistachios and is loaded with quinoa, garbanzos, and veggies for heartiness.
- 1/4 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
- 1-2 Cloves Garlic Minced
- 1 Tablespoon Shallot
- 1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
- 1 Tablespoon Dried Italian Seasoning
- 1 Teaspoon Sugar
- 1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
- 1/2 Cup Olive Oil
- In a jar with a tightly fitting lid, add all ingredients and shake vigorously to combine, or add all ingredients to a small mixing bowl and whisk together until well combined. Any leftovers can be kept in the fridge for 1 week.
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