I’m a huge fan of Sun-Dried Tomatoes like these Oven-Dried Tomatoes (or Un Sun Tomatoes I hear them called sometimes!) And I’m a fan of Slow Roasted Tomatoes, too. Both have such an intensity and are so easy. But taking those intense tomatoes and make a dressing/vinaigrette like this Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette is a way to get incredible flavor with very little effort!
This quick little dressing is kind of like a Catalina or French dressing, only better, and with a few Italian flavors. It’s super easy to make, too, and to customize to your own tastes. And it’s not just for salads! And right now, with fall just about here and a need to use up any tomatoes coming fast and furiously in your garden is the time to be thinking about drying and preserving your tomatoes. This dressing is a great way to use them.
About Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette:
The flavor is intense in this dressing and it’s just wonderful in a green salad, especially one with enough flavor to stand up to the dressing. Think Mesclun or Arugula or heartier lettuce like Romaine. Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette is great in a salad that’s a mix of veggies, like tomatoes and cucumbers. I used it the other day when I made Oven Roasted Green Beans and Cherry Tomatoes and it really amplified the flavors, although the dish was so good out of the oven this dressing was hardly needed. Still, i’m not urning down Mo’ Flavor!! I’m looking forward to tossing other oven-roasted veggies with the dressing. Maybe some oven-roasted butternut squash?
I would love this as a dipping sauce for veggies or pizza crust instead of marinara, so think about it if you make homemade pizza and want a jazzy option. I can’t even tell you how good this would be with mozzarella cheese that’s been breaded and deep-fried. I have never attempted that appetizer at home, though. Have you?
I think once you taste the Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette, you’ll be thinking a few more ways to use it! Maybe as a simple pasta topping? Or as a simple addition to a quick homemade pasta sauce instead of tomato paste.
Making Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette:
This dressing is absolutely riffable. First of all, you’ll need to think about tomatoes. Oven Roasted Tomatoes like mine or Sun-Dried Tomatoes packed in oil are going to be a bit softer and blend a bit easier than an actual Sun-Dried tomato, dried at home or in the packet. You’ll want to soak the dried ones, but save the soaking water because you might want to use it to thin your dressing.
Once the dressing is blended, don’t expect a smooth dressing. Depending on the tomatoes, it will have a texture to it or be a little chunky. And because the dressing is so intense, you’ll probably want to thin it with a bit of water. You can keep adding olive oil but you’d have to add a lot, so the water trick comes in handy. Make it as thin or as thick as you’d like and know that the food processor seems to work a little better than a blender in breaking down the sun-dried tomatoes. I used the blender for the dressing in the photos. The dressing doesn’t completely emulsify, either, so count on stirring it back together (or put it in a jar and shake it up.)
I was planning on using just basil in my Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette, but when I went outside, my basil plant was black! We’ve had some wet cold weather and it succumbed to a fungus of some sort. It was so sad to see that huge, glorious plant go so fast! So I used my Homemade Italian Seasoning Blend and it was beautiful in this dressing! Just riff on the flavorings with what you have – it would be hard to go wrong. The same goes for the vinegar. Use balsamic, white balsamic like I did, red or white wine vinegar or any combo. It’s not particular at all and it’s kind of fun to play around with your Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette.
Saving Money on Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette:
Making your own Sun-Dried Tomatoes is going to be a crapshoot in terms of the money savings unless you have a garden or can get tomatoes at a very good price. I find the best pricing in the dried packets of Sun-Dried Tomatoes rather than the ones in jars with herbs and oils. Now and then I do see coupons for the dried ones. I just don’t use coupons that much now that my store isn’t doubling them anymore.
Anytime I use Vinegar, I think I mention I do try to stock up on all vinegars around Easter and specialty vinegar during Easter or during the summer. I know that doesn’t help any other time of the year, but follow me here or on facebook *link to the right* where I try to post out the seasonal and holiday sales as they happen.
Olive oil is tricky. My go-to method for ages was to watch the store sales for buy one get one free or half off, and then slap a couple coupons on them, but those sales have been far and few between. The olive oil at Costco in the big double jugs is a great price. If I have a large container of olive oil (it’s my oil of choice for most cooking – it’s more expensive but I feel isn’t as bad for you as basic corn or canola oil) I divide it and pour part of it in a smaller container I keep handy and keep the rest up in a dark cupboard. Aldi has great prices and smaller packaging.
Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette
- two large or three smaller sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, two tablespoons chopped, or the same from a packaged sun-dried tomatoes, soaked in very hot water for 30 minutes
- 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar (see note)
- 3/4 teaspoon Italian Seasoning Blend (see note)
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/4 cup olive oil or oil from the sun-dried tomatoes or a combination
- thin with water to desired consistency, using soaking water if the sun-dried tomatoes were the packaged variety
- salt & pepper to taste
Add sun-dried tomatoes, vinegar, seasoning and garlic to a food processor or blender. With motor running, drizzle in olive oil, stopping to scrape sides as necessary, Thin with water as desired.
- The seasoning is easy to vary; use a little dried basil, oregano, and a few pepper flakes if you want. If fresh basil is available, chiffonade several leaves and add.
- Vinegar may be varied by taste. Dark balsamic makes dressing look “muddy.”
- A little sugar may be added to taste, if desired.
Note, recipe was updated September 2019 to add mustard and reduce the amount of oil.