Tired of Bland Salads? Try This Basic Vinaigrette (Plus 5 Variations!)

Store-bought salads are often laden with saturated fats, sugars, and sodium. So why not rather opt for a vinaigrette? It’s much healthier than fattening mayo-based dressings, is more versatile, and has a lot more flavor too. Even though it’s mostly used for salad, you can also use it for marinades!

By Cookist

These vinaigrettes are super easy to make and only takes about 5 minutes. Why would you still want to buy it from a store? Once you get used to making your own vinaigrette, you will definitely want to experiment with other flavors. So make sure to look at our variations below!

The basic vinaigrette 


A vinaigrette is a basic mixture of 1 part acid (usually vinegar or lemon juice) and 3 parts oil (usually olive oil). Dijon mustard is often added to add more flavor, but it also acts as an emulsifier – keeping the oil and vinegar from separating. For sweetness, honey or maple syrup can be added, which also balances the acidity of the vinegar. Finish it off with seasoning: salt, freshly ground black pepper, and garlic powder (or fresh garlic).



Use these recipes as a starting point to create unique combinations of flavor. Herbs that work well in a vinaigrette are basil, thyme, parsley, and mint. When it comes to seasoning, you can let your imagination run wild. Don’t just use salt and pepper. Depending on the type of salad (or vegetables) you want to dress, you can experiment with curry, cumin, coriander, and even white pepper. Try adding a dash of Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, or tahini for a unique flavor.

Honey Mustard Vinaigrette (one of the easiest, and most popular vinaigrettes!): Combine 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar, 1 Tbsp olive oil, and 1 tsp wholegrain mustard. Add 1 crushed garlic clove, salt and pepper, and honey to taste. Shake well to combine.

Asian Vinaigrette: Combine 1 Tbsp vinegar, 1 Tbsp soy sauce, 2 Tbsp canola oil, 1 Tbsp sesame oil, and 1 tsp Dijon mustard. Add 1 crushed garlic clove and 1 tsp fresh ginger (grated). If you want it sweeter, you can add a few drops of honey. Shake well to combine.

Orange Vinaigrette: Combine 2 Tbsp orange juice, 3 Tbsp olive oil, and 1 tsp Dijon mustard. Add orange zest and shake well to combine.

Dill Vinaigrette: Combine 1 Tbsp lemon juice, 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, ½ tsp dried oregano, ½ tsp dried dill, honey, salt and pepper. Shake well to combine.

Smokey Vinaigrette: Combine 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar, 3 Tbsp olive oil, honey (to taste), 1 garlic clove (crushed), and smoked paprika. Add salt and pepper, and shake well to combine.

Most of the vinaigrettes will keep up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator. If you use fresh herbs, use within a week, otherwise discoloration of the herbs might become unappealing.

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