I love a good salad and often what makes it really pop is the vinaigrette. I typically never buy bottled salad dressings anymore. Making one from scratch tastes SO much better and you can mix it up with all sorts of variations.

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My go-to everyday dressing is a mixture of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, grated fresh garlic, salt, pepper and Dijon mustard. It’s one that I just eyeball these days. I always pour in the olive oil first and then my vinegar. I tell people (when using the eyeball method) to think of the ratio of a cracked egg. The yolk is the vinegar and the egg whites are the olive oil. It works for me!

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Not only do I use my vinaigrette on salads. I often use them as marinades for chicken or shrimp or as a dressing on top of a grain bowl (below) with roasted or sautéed vegetables on top. When poured on top of the hot veggies, it creates the perfect taste combo.

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I also love a good toasted bread topped with avocado and sea salt with a vinaigrette poured on top of that and then some scrambled or fried eggs over everything. One of my faves!

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My Basic Vinaigrette recipe is below:

  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced or grated
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • Kosher salt
  • Ground black pepper

The directions could not be easier. Simply combine the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, mustard, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper and the honey. Cover and shake to dissolve the salt and honey. Taste for seasoning. That’s it! Any leftovers can be refrigerated and left in an airtight container for two weeks.

Here are some other variations below for kicking it up a notch.

Greek Vinaigrette: Add 1 teaspoon chopped oregano or thyme and 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest. Instead of balsamic, use lemon juice or red wine vinegar.

Dill Pickle Vinaigrette: Puree with 1 chopped large kosher dill pickle. Leave out the honey. Instead of balsamic, use red wine vinegar.

Miso Vinaigrette: Add 1 tablespoon white miso paste. Leave out the honey. Instead of balsamic, use red wine vinegar or lime juice. Add 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds. Instead of olive oil, use a combination of sesame and vegetable oil or a light oil.

French-Style Vinaigrette: Add 1 teaspoon chopped tarragon and half a chopped shallot. Instead of balsamic, use red wine vinegar.

Spicy Sesame Vinaigrette: Add 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil and 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper. Instead of balsamic, use red wine vinegar.

Ginger Vinaigrette: Add 2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger. Instead of balsamic, use rice vinegar. Instead of olive oil, use a light oil. Add honey or sugar to balance it out.

So have fun with your dressings, forgo the bottled ones for awhile and enjoy some greens or grains with the above combos. Don’t forget some of these like the basic, greek and french-style are great for marinating chicken, shrimp and fish. Enjoy!

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