Do you make your own Salad Dressings? They’re one thing that I love to whip up at home. One of my favorites is this Simple Italian Balsamic Vinaigrette. It’s the kind of quick vinaigrette that can be tossed together as an afterthought and it’s so easy you’ll want to make it often.
If you love vinegar & oil dressings, you’re going to love this simple Italian version. Unlike our more American versions of Balsamic Vinaigrettes, vinaigrette that are a little more complicated and have extra ingredients to emulsify or flavor, this dressing is pretty much just straight up Balsamic & Vinegar.
About Simple Italian Balsamic Vinaigrette:
You’ll want to use a decent Balsamic in this dressing because that’s where your flavor comes from. Oh, it will still be good with a basic grocery store balsamic, but it will really shine if you go for an Italian Balsamic.
For dressings, choose something on the lower end of the price range, not a super pricey aged forever one. Those should be used sparingly, doled out by the drop to enhance cheese, fruit or special dishes.
In addition to the Balsamic, it’s likely you’re going to want to use a decent olive oil. Choose something you like, preferably cold-pressed. Filling out the line up is just a touch of honey and either little shallot or red onion, sliced so thinly it’s all but shaved. Perfecto!
About Balsamic Vinegar:
If you’d like to know more about Balsamic Vinegar, in a nutshell, there are 3 kinds of certified balsamic vinegar. Two are traditionally made and come respectively from Modeno and Reggio Emilia and are called Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena (Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena) and Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Reggio Emilia (Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Reggio Emilia). They are produced from the must of grapes and are aged at least 12 years and can be aged 25 or more.
The Balsamic you’ll be wanting to use if you’re budget-minded is less expensive Balsamic Vinegar of Modena (Aceto Balsamico di Modena) is made from grape must that is blended with wine vinegar. Notice it’s named for Modena but can be produced in either Modena or Reggio Emilia. These must be aged at least two months and can vary in quality and may contain enhancers to mimic the more expensive traditional balsamic, so look for a good one.
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, maybe with a little tomato or cucumber, and a few shavings of Parmesan are never wrong.
Drizzle this Balsamic on your favorite salads, marinade with it, try it on a little fruit. Just have fun with it, and remember, the simple the items you drizzle it on, the more the dressing is highlighted.
Making Simple Italian Balsamic Vinaigrette:
This balsamic is super easy to make. It follows pretty closely the classic proportions of 1 part vinegar to 3 parts oil. Just add the ingredients to a jar and give it a few shakes. With no emulsifiers, it will separate easily, so keep it in something with a lid so it can be shaken again as needed. This should be enough to dress several salads.
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 liquefy 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 Simple Italian 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.
For a better balsamic that’s still at a great price, Trader Joes is really the place to shop if you have one nearby. They’re also a great place to buy inexpensive wine and good chocolate. I have to have a mantra when I duck into one and tell myself “just don’t look!” It’s a dangerous place for me and my budget. I haven’t checked any buyer’s clubs but I imagine they would have several choices, too.Print
Simple Italian Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Total Time: 10 minutes
- Yield: 1 cup 1x
- Category: Salads
- Cuisine: Italian
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon of shallot or red onion, very thinly sliced. slices about an inch long
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Add all ingredients to a jar and shake. Use to dress salad right before serving. Store in refrigerator, bring to room temperature before using.
Keywords: Balsamic Vinegar, Italian, Salad, Salad Dressings, Vinegar