The Ultimate Homemade Vinaigrette

Remember that one week when I forgot to blog until Wednesday? Oh, hi there.

Our family spent the weekend in Utah, eating food divinely cooked by Greg and Letti Rockwell. We then proceeded to trek home via Wyoming and hit my baby sister up in Rock Springs. She immediately insisted I drop veganism for lunch and join her in eating a tempure-battered sushi at the zaniest little restaurant, Bonsai. Who KNEW you could get kickin’ sushi rolls in Wyoming? I know, right?!

The kids and I stopped unexpectedly at a hotel (on account of my eyelids deciding they were done staying awake), then proceeded to order room service. I sat there, children laying across my lap, thinking “I really ought to blog something” then figured you’d be all forgiving and understanding and kind, seeing as how that’s the sort of person you are.

Thanks for being that sort of person.

We’ve got some mad-crazy vegan eats heading your way for the rest of this week. But, for today, something simple.

Simple does not mean unimportant.

Indeed, simple means IMPORTANT. Because if you don’t have the basics, peeps, you ain’t got nothin’.

So, whilst residing with the Rockwells this weekend (who, I kid you not, are bigger foodies than even the biggest foodies I’ve ever had occasion to happen upon), Greg mentioned that he didn’t make homemade vinaigrette. Here he is, in the middle of making homemade pasta and a flash-fried pan of asparagus so good it would make your eyes roll into your brain, and he doesn’t dog gone know how to make a decent homemade vinaigrette?

Which got me thinking. Maybe you don’t know either.

Which got me thinking. The only reason I know how to make a decent vinaigrette is because I had a secret French tutor.

That is not as sexy as it sounds.

She was a girl.

That is not as sexy as it sounds.

She was a girl married to a Frenchman.

That is sexy right there, isn’t it?

Any how. One day over lunch, as I’m gnawing my way through a salad she’d whopped up, I say “gracious doozey pants? What is ON THIS SALAD?”

A sly little smile and she admits is a “secret French family recipe.”

That is as sexy as it sounds.

I beg her, and I do literally mean beg her to share the secret. After nearly carving the symbol of a fork into her kitchen table with my fork, she reluctantly gives it up. She pulls me close and whispers it into my ear.

No. No one else was in the room. But the recipe is secret, gosh durnit. Whispering lends some flair to the story.

So, now here is where you come in. I got the secret recipe. It has served well over the last umpteen million years. So well that, when Greg Rockwell admitted he didn’t have a good vinaigrette recipe this weekend, I just spilled it all out all over his kitchen. No whispering needed.

Which means, I suppose, I’ve already reaped the wrath of the French upon my soul. So I might as well go and share the recipe with you.

You need vinaigrette in your life. I can take the foreign curse words and beret-topped spitting, should they ever discover I’ve shared their secret.

That is totally as sexy as it sounds.


The Ultimate Homemade Vinaigrette


3 cloves garlic, very finely chopped.
1/2 cup extra-light olive oil
1/2 cup plain white vinegar
lots of salt (I tend to add at least 1/2 tablespoon)


Twenty minutes to one hour before serving your salad, prepare this vinaigrette by whisking together all ingredients. It needs at least 20 minutes to sit and meld the flavors together. I like to prepare mine by tossing it into a blender and blending it all together, but whisking together is fine, as well. Your preference!

The best part of this recipe is you can customize it to make fabulous flavors!

Try these variations:

1 shallot, 1/2 cup olive oil, juice of 1 lemon, 1 orange, and 1/4 cup white wine vinegar, 2 TBSP maple syrup, lotsa salt
Goes great with arugula salad tossed with strawberries, candied almonds, and asparagus.

3 cloves garlic, 1/2 cup extra-light olive oil, juice of 1 lemons, 1/4 cup white wine vinegar, salt
Great served on top of a Romaine Salad with croutons & parmesan and/or toasted walnuts.

1/4 white onion (chopped), 1/2 cup extra-light olive oil, juice of 2 oranges, 1/4 cup white vinegar, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon poppy seeds.
Toss over mixed greens topped with fresh raspberries, pecans, and gorgonzola cheese or candied cashews.

Follow the main recipe above, but add champagne instead of white vinegar.
Serve over spinach salad topped with sliced clementines, blood oranges, grapefruit, toasted pine nuts, and goat cheese.

1 garlic clove, 1/2 cup extra-light olive oil, 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar, 1 teaspoon brown sugar, a bit of salt
Drizzle on top of dark greens topped with strawberries, blueberries, finely sliced onions, and homemade breadcrumbs.

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10 Responses to “The Ultimate Homemade Vinaigrette”

  1. 1

    ButterYum on February 29, 2012 at 2:43 am Reply

    Yumolicious! Just plain ole white vinegar huh? Okay, I’ll give it a go. Thanks for sharing all the variations too.


  2. 2

    ErinCroutons on February 29, 2012 at 9:15 am Reply

    Man do I love a simple vinaigrette. I make mine the way my mom has always made it: EVOO, balsamic vinegar, garlic salt and pepper. Yours all sound divine! And it wouldn’t hurt me to break my oh…30 year tradition. :)

  3. 3

    Rana on February 29, 2012 at 11:02 am Reply

    How long would you say I might keep this in my fridge? I’m the only one who enjoys a cold, veggie salad in my house right now so I will inevitably have leftovers.

    • Brooke replied: — February 29th, 2012 @ 11:50 am

      Up to a week for sure!

  4. 4

    Skye on February 29, 2012 at 11:38 am Reply

    THANK YOU!!! I appreciate the simple staple recipe, and the variations sound so yummy.

    Some of the best salad dressing I’ve ever had was when I studied abroad in Paris and lived with a host family. My host mom made hers with red wine vinaigrette and it was divine. I have a feeling it was a very similar recipe to this! I can’t wait to make some! :)

  5. Pingback: cook4meKID | Pearltrees

  6. 5

    Letti Rockwell on April 4, 2012 at 1:28 pm Reply

    Greg made some awesome balsamic vinaigrette with shallots on Sunday. Thank you, thank you for showing us how! Love you guys! =)

  7. 6

    Jacq on September 13, 2012 at 3:56 pm Reply

    Just wondering…the sweet onion variation recipe, how is it sweet onion w/out an onion. Am I missing something?

  8. 7

    Joel Hagans on January 12, 2013 at 4:27 pm Reply

    Thank you for this great recipe. I made it straight from the recipe and it was very good. I then experimented and found my new favorite dressing. My version ended up being the recipe as above with the addition of:
    Diced basil
    Diced oregano
    Fresh cracked pepper
    Parmesan cheese
    Lemon juice
    No more store bought for me!!! Thanks

  9. 8

    Joshua Montijano on June 30, 2013 at 2:11 am Reply

    The main type of fat found in all kinds of olive oil is monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs). MUFAs are actually considered a healthy dietary fat. If your diet emphasizes unsaturated fats, such as MUFAs and polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs), instead of saturated fats and trans fats, you may gain certain health benefits. `,`;

    All the best

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