One of my favorite salad dressings, especially during the summer, is this Greek dressing, a Classic Greek Vinaigrette. It’s fresh, it’s bright, it’s herby and it’s everything you could want in a dressing.
To tell the truth, if you’re not familiar with Greek Dressing, it’s just not that different from some of the Italian dressings but it does have its own special flair. And it’s probably not as “zippy” as some of the Italian dressings (there are no red pepper flakes in this like you find in some Italian recipes) at least zesty Italian dressings you can buy these days. Nope, this Classic Greek Vinaigrette is just good old fashioned goodness.
About Classic Greek Vinaigrette:
I’m actually updating this post, originally published in 2012, today, a little over 7 years later, in June of 2019. See, this vinaigrette is solid, a classic for sure, but like many of my earlier posts on my site, the photo was somewhat lacking. So when I made it this time, I took new pics. After all, a picture says a thousand words! And who knows, maybe in another seven years, I’ll think the same thing! My photography does improve, just very slowly, lol!
Classic Greek Vinaigrette can be used as a dressing, of course, but also doubles as a marinade for vegetables and proteins. It’s robust and has a good amount of acid, so watch the timing on any fish, probably not more than 30 minutes, and on chicken, generally not more than 12 hours. But don’t stop there! Toss cucumbers and/or tomatoes for a quick salad. Use it as a dip for bread, or to add some zip to your pasta or grain bowls. Or use it however else strikes your fancy!
I can tell you this is very good over chicken, potatoes, and carrots roasted in the oven! And if you think about it, drizzle just a tiny aound over your cooked burgers – it’s magic and it’s an old diner trick. There’s a reason so many Greek families over the years have owned successful diners and that little trick, I think, is one of them!
Making Classic Greek Vinaigrette:
There’s really nothing to making this vinaigrette. Toss your ingredients in a jar and shake to emulsify. It does settle quickly, so use a container with a lid so it can be reshaken at the table as needed. If possible, make your vinaigrette the day before or at least early in the day on the day you’ll use it so the flavors blend. If there’s no time, no problem, but know that this just gets better as it sits If the olive oil hardens in the fridge, bring it out early and it will liquify again or pop it in the microwave for just a few seconds to warm up the oil to a liquid state..
As far as ingredients don’t use a fancy olive oil, just a nice one with a neutral flavor so it takes a backseat to the rest of the ingredients. If possible, though, use good red wine vinegar. It will add a little depth of flavor. And so does the lemon.
You can make this dressing with just oregano, salt, and pepper, or add a few additional herbs, but the garlic is essential. And if you want a shortcut for a more complex vinaigrette, add a tablespoon of my Greek Seasoning instead of the other herbs. And while I’m thinking of it – you want dried herbs for the intensity of flavor. Crush them in the palm of your hand to help release the essential oils before using them.
Saving Money on Classic Greek Vinaigrette:
I definitely shop sales for my olive oil and usually find better deals than at Aldi or Costco. It pays to pay attention when a new brand comes on the market; the pricing becomes highly competitive and new brands will often price themselves low to pick up a market share. Check for cold pressed olive oil for the healthiest option.
Vinegar is best bought around Easter when it’s often on sale, unadvertised and it will usually be on sale sporadically throughout the summer. When buying lemons, don’t be too concerned about color. Weigh several in your hand and pick the heaviest; it will be the juiciest.
If you buy herbs in bulk or in the bags in the produce aisle, you’ll save money over buying them in jars. And of course, if you grow your own, do cut and dry them at seasons end.
Classic Greek Vinaigrette
- 2/3 cup of Greek extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup of good quality red wine vinegar
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of crushed Greek oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram, optional
- 1/2 teaspoon dried mint, optional
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- a grind or two of pepper.
Whisk together in a bowl, or place in a tightly covered jar and shake to combine. The dressing will turn a light color, and depending on the color of the olive oil, it will be a little pink, with a creamy texture as the oil and vinegar combine. Will settle out and need to be reshaken if stored.
Note: For a very easy dressing, omit herbs and garlic and use 1 good tablespoon of Greek Seasoning instead.