I’m a reformed food snob, in some things that is. One thing that I’m always a little snobby about is a good homemade salad dressing and The Most Amazing Balsamic Vinaigrette qualifies. I thought I’d better mention that just in case you were left in any doubt by the name, lol!
Seriously, food snobbery jokes aside, this is a banging Balsamic Vinaigrette. I actually have a couple of other Balsamic Vinaigrettes on my site that I might make depending on my energy level or my mood, but this is my fave. Passed to me by a friend, I think this might have been based on a Cook’s Illustrated recipe.
About The Most Amazing Balsamic Vinaigrette:
I feel like this is the definitive classic Balsamic, with a good emulsion, and tons of flavor; flavor from the Balsamic of course but there’s garlic, too and just a touch of oregano or tarragon. And while I love this dressing with the standard dark Balsamic, it’s really nice made with white Balsamic, too, for times you might not want your dressing to have much color.
This dressing has such a nice mix of olive oil to the other ingredients and is perfectly tart but not too sharp, although if you lean that way, you can always add a little sweet. There isn’t any honey or sugar in this recipe. Sometimes a spoonful of sugar (or honey) helps the medicine go down when you’re talking salads.
What Salad is Best with this Dressing:
I’ve always used this dressing with mixed greens or spring greens or on a hearty romaine salad. I love balsamic vinaigrette and like this over simple classic salads or fancy mixed salads with almost anything you can imagine in them. Salads with apples, pears, other fruits or salads with veggies like cucumbers, tomatoes and so on.
Drizzle this Balsamic on your favorite salads, marinade with it, try it on a little fruit. Just have fun with it, and do try not to drink it! 🙂
Making The Most Amazing Balsamic Vinaigrette:
This balsamic is super easy to make and you can just shake all the ingredients together and use it as is.
If you wanto to take a little more care and really emulsify it, mash up the garlic with the salt till it’s nothing but a paste and then mix up everything except the olive oil in a heavy bowl so it won’t spin around when you whisk. Drizzle in the olive oil, very slowly, almost drop by drop at first, whisking like mad. That emulsion will keep for a little longer than when the dressing is just shaken together but eventually will just separate.
Since there isn’t any sweetener in the dressing if you find it too tart, add a little honey, sugar or another sweetener to the dressing, to taste, if you prefer a sweeter dressing. Maybe start with a tablespoon and go from there.
Store this in the door of the fridge in a tightly covered jar. The olive oil hardens if it’s cold enough for long enough and the door isn’t as cool as the rest of the fridge. If the oil does harden, leave the dressing out on the counter for a bit and it will liquify again. If you’re in a rush, it can go in the microwave for just a couple of seconds. You don’t want to heat it but only just bring it up to room temperature.
This is a dressing that’s great to double. It keeps in the fridge for literally weeks with no problem at all.
Why Make Your Own Dressings?:
There are a lot of reasons I like to make my own salad dressings. Homemade dressings are not only less expensive than most bottled or jarred, but the quality of homemade is so much better.
- They usually only take minutes to toss together.
- You control the ingredients and quality.
- They are cleaner & healthier.
- You almost have endless variety.
- You make just what you need or extra if you wish, no waste.
- They taste fabulous and are customizable to your taste, too.
- They are usually less expensive than bottled, especially the high-end stuff!
Saving Money on The Most Amazing Balsamic Vinaigrette:
It pays to shop around for olive oil. Your buyers club will usually have good prices and Aldi does, too. When a new brand comes into the grocery store, it will often be at a stellar price (with coupons if you use them) but generally, those prices won’t last. Stock up if you see deals like this. Often olive oil is buy one get one half off; know your prices, crunch the numbers. The smaller bottles might actually be the better deal.
Vinegar is almost always at a low for the year before Easter, during the big holiday sales, and not just plain old vinegar. Check down the aisle and see if the “fancier” vinegar is on sale, too. Stock up for the year. If you miss Easter, do try to stock up during the summer sales when condiments are often on sale.
There’s no reason to worry about the budget when tossing together this dressing. A store-bought balsamic and plain old olive oil are just fine but if you’d like to go higher-end, check out Trader Joe’s. They have a decent assortment of Balsamic Vinegar, and it won’t break the bank. Save the really good Balsamic for special occasions and special dishes; there is a diminishing return when you’re adding garlic, herbs, and spices to a pricy balsamic.Print
The Most Amazing Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Total Time: 10 minutes
- Yield: about a cup
- Category: Salads
- Cuisine: Italian
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons minced onion or shallot
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh oregano or tarragon (1/2 teaspoon dried)
- 1/2 fat clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Shake all of the ingredients together in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. The dressing can be refrigerated; bring to room temperature, then shake vigorously to recombine before using.
Alternatively: Mash the garlic with the back of a knife, sprinkle the garlic with the salt and continue to mash with the knife, scraping it back and forth over the garlic until a fine paste is formed. Add to a heavy bowl. Stir in the balsamic, onion or shallot, Dijon, and pepper. Slowly drizzle in the oil, almost drop by drop, stirring briskly with a whisk or fork. When the mixture begins to thicken, continue adding the oil in a small stream, all the while still stirring briskly. The emulsion will last for some time, but will eventually separate.
Dressing improves if it sits for a bit before using.
Nutrition: Per Serving: 91 Calories; 10g Fat (97.9% calories from fat); trace Protein; trace Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 75mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 0 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 2 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.
Keywords: Balsamic Vinegar, Salad, Salad Dressings, Vinegar