A basic vinaigrette dressing only needs oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. The key is to keep the ratio of 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar and then add other flavours to suit your taste.
Flavourless oils such as extra virgin olive oil, grapeseed oil or vegetable oil are ideal for a vinaigrette base. For extra flavour, swap in a small amount of nut oil like walnut, hazelnut or sesame for a delicious Asian vibe, but remember that a little goes a long way.
You can also experiment with different vinegars. Most wine vinegars will yield a lighter flavour and rice vinegar is also a nice, light choice. Apple cider vinegar adds a bite and Balsamic vinegar lends a sweet/tart flavour to the mix. Sherry vinegar has a bold flavour so is best used sparingly.
This recipe yields enough vinaigrette to lightly dress a side salad for four:
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
Add all the ingredients to a jar, screw on the lid, and shake until blended. You can also whisk the ingredients together in a bowl or blender. Taste and adjust seasonings if desired. Add to salad, toss, and serve. Keep leftover dressing in a sealed jar in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
Once you have your vinaigrette base, try these optional extras to create different flavours:
- 1-2tbsps herbs like dill, basil, parsley, coriander, mint, or thyme
- A finely minced garlic clove
- 1tsp finely minced or grated ginger
- 1tsp finely chopped shallots, spring onion or onion
- 1tbsp finely grated cheese (a hard, crumbly cheese works best)
- Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
- 1tsp horseradish
- ¼tsp Sriracha or alternative hot sauce
- 1tsp your preferred mustard
- ½-1tsp sugar or honey