Because many store bought vinaigrettes contain a lot of unnatural ingredients—synthetic flavorings, additives, and more—and preservatives, seasoned home cooks and chefs often prefer to make their own. Making your own vinaigrette is easy and allows you to be in complete control, using your own choice of fresh and flavorful ingredients.

Traditionally, a vinaigrette is made of three parts oil to one part acid (vinegar/citrus juice). However, you can adjust the ratio to suite your preference. Generally, full flavor vinegars should be matched with full flavor oils and mild flavored vinegars to mild flavored oils. This helps one not over power the other. However, it really depends because there may be times when you want one to be more prominent than the other. Also, it again comes down to taste preference. As you can imagine, using a good quality oil is essential. Although olive oil is a favorite, there may be times a more neutral oil (grape seed, safflower or canola) is desired for a lighter flavor. For a bolder flavor, you might try stronger oils like seed and nut oils. Or you can dilute strong oils with neutral ones.

A basic vinaigrette can easily be enhanced with aromatics like minced garlic, shallots, fresh herbs and spices. If you’d like to balance the acidity with a bit of sweetness, try adding a hint of of sugar, honey, or maple syrup. Experimenting with the flavor combinations is so much fun. The possible variations are endless. Although it’s easy to get carried away with aromatics, be sure to remember that the vinaigrette is all about the oil and the acid, not necessarily the additions.

No need to buy store bought vinaigrettes again. Make your own, it’s so easy and so much better for you, and your food! Here’s a delicious salad I recently made with homemade vinaigrette.

Quinoa and Arugula Salad

Quinoa and Arugula Salad
Slightly Adapted from Rouxbe

2 cups quinoa, cooked (I used a mix of red, white and black quinoa)
4 cups arugula (I used baby arugula)
1 cup Spicy Pecans (recipe below)
1 cup red pepper, diced small
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1/3 cup golden raisins
2 tablespoons capers
sea salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 lemon, juiced

Make the Spicy Pecans (recipe below) and set aside. Make the vinaigrette (recipe below) and set aside.

Place all of ingredients, except the lemon juice, into a bowl and toss lightly to combine.
Once combined, add the lemon juice, toss briefly. Taste, make any adjustments,g and serve immediately.

3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small clove of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon sweetener (honey, maple syrup or agave)
sea salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

To prepare the vinaigrette, add all the ingredients to a mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
Alternatively, you can add the ingredients to a jar or other container, place a lid on the top and shake to combine. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before using.

Spicy Pecans
1 cup raw pecans
1 tbsp sweetener (agave or maple syrup)
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
pinch, sea salt

Mix together the sugar, cayenne and salt. Toss with the nuts and roast in a 350°F(175°C) oven 7 to 10 minutes.

3 thoughts on “Tech Tuesday: Making Vinaigrette

  1. Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe! It has all the ingredients that I like!! I plan to serve it tonight with my salmon chowder.

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