A basic apple cider vinaigrette can be used to dress a wide variety of salads. It’s extremely versatile, easy to make at home, and brightens up every salad.
If you don’t like the idea of buying vinaigrette at the store and consuming all the preservatives and extras they put in it, you should definitely start making your own at home. It’s very easy, and best of all you can adjust it to suit your tastes.
One of the biggest complaints people have about vinaigrette is that it’s either too vinegary or not vinegary enough. The tang of this dressing can easily be adjusted to fit your preference. You can also adjust the level based on what you’re serving it on. Some dishes just need an extra punch of acid.
It’s also great to have the option of adjusting the flavoring of the vinaigrette to suit the dish you’re putting it on. You can make infinite variations of this dressing, just by using a different vinegar, thickening agent, or sweet element. We’ll give you a few ideas for variations below.
Ingredients Needed for a Basic Vinaigrette
Let’s start with the basics. Every vinaigrette needs four basic things:
- a thickener
The most basic version uses olive oil, apple cider vinegar, honey, and dijon mustard. If you get these ratios correct, your vinaigrette will have just the right consistency, it won’t break (meaning the oil and vinegar won’t separate) and it will have a nice punchy tang to it.
This basic apple cider vinaigrette is what I make most often. It’s incredibly simple, and I always have the ingredients on hand. However, there are dozens of other variations you can make.
Vinaigrette Variations – Mix & Match
The easiest variations to make use different types of vinegar.
- Balsamic vinegar
- Champagne vinegar
- Red wine vinegar
Another easy variation is to use citrus juice instead of vinegar.
Try changing the taste of your vinaigrette with different types of oil. The best to use are:
- Olive oil
- Sesame oil
- Walnut oil
- Avocado oil
You can change the taste of your vinaigrette by using a different sweetener. While honey is the most likely sweetener you will have on hand, you can also use these sweeteners in its place:
- Agave syrup
- Maple syrup
Dijon mustard is arguably the best thickening agent to use in vinaigrette, but you can substitute others like these:
- Miso paste
- Ricotta cheese
Finally, you can add additional flavor to any basic vinaigrette by adding herbs or fruit. Try these:
- Italian herbs
- Sesame seeds
- Lemon Thyme
How to Make a Basic Vinaigrette
Basic Vinaigrette needs four ingredients, as we said above. All you need to do is combine these ingredients in the correct ratios, then whisk them all together, and you’re done.
I like to make small batches of vinaigrette, when I need it, so it’s always fresh and tasty. For this, I use a small container (like these) that holds 1/2 cup. If you use a container with a lid, you can just add the ingredients to the container, put on the lid and shake it vigorously to combine. Super easy. If you want to make a 2-3 serving batch, use just 3 tablespoons olive oil and 1 1/2 tablespoons of vinegar.
If you’re using a bowl, add the ingredients and whisk it all up until it’s thoroughly combined and doesn’t break. Another great way to emulsify vinaigrette is with a portable blender or stick blender – either in a bowl or in the chopping attachment.
Once you make this salad dressing, you won’t go back to store bought vinaigrette. There’s just no comparison. It’s easy to make, economical, and it takes so much better than store-bought.
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Easy Apple Cider Vinaigrette
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tsp dijon mustard
- 2 tsp honey
- salt and pepper to taste
- Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk the ingredients together until emulsified (the oil and vinegar don't separate). Store in the refrigerator for up to one week.
- I find it easiest to combine all the ingredients in a container with a lid and shake vigorously until the dressing is combined. You can then store the vinaigrette in this same container.
- Substitute any ingredients you want, just make sure to maintain the same ratio of oil to vinegar.