A vinaigrette, in its most simple form, is just a combination of oil and vinegar. The base is made up of a 2:1 ratio of oil to vinegar, and if that’s the one thing you remember from this article, you’ll be just fine whipping up salad dressings.
Now, you can’t just use any oil or any vinegar to make a vinaigrette. Extra virgin olive oil or salad oil are the most commonly used oils, and your choice of vinegar can greatly vary the taste of your dressing. White wine vinegar is the most neutral vinegar that you would use in making a vinaigrette. Cider vinegar is a great choice for fruity vinaigrettes, and rice wine vinegar is good for Asian flavor profiles. Balsamic vinegar has its own sweet, dark flavor and is a very commonly used vinegar for salad dressings.
Once you have your base of 2 parts oil to 1 part vinegar, it’s time to spice it up. You should always add salt and pepper. Lemon juice or some other kind of citrus is also a great complement to vinegar. Honey or mustard is commonly used to thicken the vinaigrette and help hold it together while adding sweetness or tang. Minced onions, garlic or herbs are often included to add more depth to the flavor of a vinaigrette. It’s really up to you on how much or what kind of extras you want to add. The most important thing to remember is the starting ratio, and to taste as you go.
Basic vinaigrette recipe:
2 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Try these combos out:
Extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, minced garlic, Italian seasoning
Extra virgin olive oil, white wine vinegar, honey, mustard
Extra virgin olive oil and sesame oil (2:1), rice wine vinegar, minced garlic, sugar
Extra virgin olive oil, cider vinegar, lemon juice, honey, minced onion