July 14

Make your own French Vinaigrette salad dressing

Food

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Make your own French Vinaigrette salad dressing

Cultural differences:  growing up in America we had an entire fridge-door shelf dedicated to various bottles of salad dressing.  When I lived in France, I can’t remember seeing a bottle of salad dressing anywhere because everyone made their own vinaigrette.

Making your own salad dressing seems so basic to me now, but I realize that if you’ve never seen it done, if you have a fridge door full of salad dressing options, it might not even cross your mind.

So why would you want to make your own dressing?  It’s really easy.  It tastes yummy.  You can vary the ingredients based on what you like or what’s in your salad.  And it’s either cheaper (if you buy fancy dressings), or it’s healthier (if you buy the cheap ones!).  Just for fun, let’s take a look at the ingredients on a popular French dressing found in the USA:

SOYBEAN OIL, VINEGAR, TOMATO PUREE (WATER, TOMATO PASTE), SUGAR, SKIM MILK, SALT, CONTAINS LESS THAN 2% OF WATER, SPICE, DRIED GARLIC, PROPYLENE GLYCOL, ALGINATE, XANTHAN GUM, VITAMIN E, NATURAL FLAVOR, YELLOW 6, YELLOW 5.

 

It starts off okay, although I’d rather eat olive oil than soybean oil.  But as you get further down, the list becomes unpronounceable, and then finally ends with artificial colors – yummy.

My own personal rule is to try to eat things that my great-grandma would recognize as food.  And some of those ingredients just don’t cut it.

It is totally possible just to put oil & vinegar on your salad, and I do this sometimes too.  But if you are willing to spend just a minute extra you can make a really tasty Vinaigrette a la francaise.

 

I never, ever measure this recipe, I just mix it up in a measuring jug and taste as I go along.

 

French Vinaigrette dressing

Balsamic vinegar

Good olive oil

sea salt

mustard

lemon

 

Method:

Start with the olive oil. I add about 1/4c.  Then add some balsamic vinegar (about 1 TB).  Add a good grinding of sea salt (about 1/2 tsp.).  Add 1 tsp. of mustard, and a squeeze of lemon juice (less than 1/2 the lemon).

Now beat really well with a whisk or fork until incorporated.

Time to taste it … the best way to taste salad dressing is on a piece of lettuce itself. So just take a little piece, dip it in, and eat.

Some easy adaptions to make are to vary the type of mustard or omit it entirely.  Add some black pepper or a chopped fresh herb like basil.  Add some honey to make it sweeter.  Use red wine vinegar instead of balsamic.

Bon appetit!

Do you make your own salad dressing? What do you include in yours?

 

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  1. ooops, I meant “different kind of “MUSTARDS” can be used, with grains or mixed, changes the texture and the look!

  2. HI, just a few comments, as a French specialist of various vinegrettes 🙂
    * I always start my vinaigrettes with the mustard (a large spoon), and poor directly the vinergar on top, it dissolves the mustard into a brownish paste very fluid, and you can add oil onto it, it ends up very fluid and it’s fun to see the mustard dissolve (I’m weird, I know).
    * I try not to put in the same vinaigrette balsamic vinegar and olive oil, as I found they hide each other’s flavour, but each one is a brilliant ingredient.
    Finally: I never tried with lemon, sounds brilliant!!
    * YOu speak little about herbs? Theyre great in vinegrettes, starting with herbs of Provence (perfect to go along a salad next to a meat), but also basil of course (nice with any vegetable salad involving tomatoes), cut very small, chives (great for cold leeks), or just parsil.
    * Also many differnt kind of salads can be used, with grains or mixed, changes the texture and the look 🙂
    Enjoy!

  3. I make this recipe too plus other variations depending on the salad. I also use white wine vinegar + honey with chopped shallots. That one is great with a salad with pears, raisins, walnuts, and roquefort.

  4. Great article I also prefer to make my own salad dressing, my personal and fav recipe includes: mayo, mustard, salt, pepper, vinegar and splenda (since I do not eat sugar or honey), I’m definately gonna try your recipe, I LOVE balsamic vinegar, cheers 😉

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