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Easy Balsamic Vinaigrette

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Though the hubby would be happy with a bottle of store bought French or Ranch dressing, I love a good homemade vinaigrette. This Easy Balsamic Vinaigrette has been my go-to salad dressing recipe for years!

Easy Balsamic Vinaigrette on a vegetable salad in a white bowl

Easy Balsamic Vinaigrette

I’ve shared this simple balsamic vinaigrette on a few of my salad recipes in the past, but I thought it deserved its own post. All the ingredients are staples in my kitchen so it doesn’t take long to have this classic salad dressing ready for drizzling!

Impromptu Party with guests in the kitchen

Just last month we had a freak wind storm that knocked out power across our city. We had dinner reservations for 10 at a restaurant that no longer had electricity and we were left in a lurch. Instead of finding another locale, since our house had power, we ordered carryout pizza. I dashed off to the market and picked up salad ingredients plus a few wedges of cheese and Italian meats for a cheese board. We had a blast…and there was quite a bit of interest while I whipped up this easy salad dressing!

Easy Balsamic Vinaigrette in a glass jar

Tips for Making the Best Balsamic Vinaigrette

A couple years ago, I also shared this recipe with some girlfriends. One hadn’t been using high quality balsamic vinegar and for that reason, her dressings were underwhelming. When she tried this easy balsamic vinaigrette made with an 18 year aged balsamic from a nearby specialty shop, she instantly tasted the difference. I’ll share my secrets with you, too!

  • Your balsamic vinegar must be top notch. A cheap grocery store version won’t provide the best results. It should be aged, thick, syrupy and sweet.
  • Look for made in Modena on the label and be willing to pay a little extra. Local friends, check out Artisano’s on the north side of Indianapolis. I love their 18 Year Traditional Balsamic Vinegar.
  • Use a nice Dijon mustard and a quality olive oil. I’ve been a fan of California Olive Ranch extra virgin olive oil for years!
  • Make sure to whisk in the olive oil slowly so that your dressing emulsifies. Don’t skip the mustard when making this easy balsamic vinaigrette as it assists with emulsification, too!
Easy Balsamic Vinaigrette next to a vegetable salad in a white bowl

How Do You Emulsify a Vinaigrette?

Emulsification is a term that means bringing two liquids together into a smooth mixture. If a dressing is not emulsified, you’ll see a layer of oil separate from the vinegar. To make an emulsified vinaigrette, you must follow the directions carefully.

Adding mustard helps encourage the liquids to emulsify, so don’t leave that ingredient out of the recipe. It adds some piquancy, too, without a strong mustard flavor.

Also, the olive oil should be the last ingredient added to the dressing. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while whisking continuously.  Voila, you should have a perfectly emulsified balsamic vinaigrette.

I topped my Spinach, Strawberry, Pomegranate Salad with this easy balsamic vinaigrette, plus it would be fabulous on this Roasted Fall Vegetable Salad.

More of my favorite homemade salad dressings include this Easy Honey French dressing, Blue Cheese Dressing, and Classic Caesar Salad Dressing. I’m also loving this Homemade Ranch Salad Dressing and this Creamy Parmesan Salad Dressing from my blogger friends.

What’s your favorite salad dressing? Do you make it from scratch?

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Easy Balsamic Vinaigrette on a vegetable salad in a white bowl

Easy Balsamic Vinaigrette

The best and easiest recipe for a classic balsamic vinaigrette!

  • Author: Liz Berg
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1/2 cup
  • Category: Salad, Condiment
  • Method: Mixing
  • Cuisine: American

Ingredients

3 tablespoons premium aged balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
pinch of freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

To make the vinaigrette, whisk together vinegar, mustard and garlic. Add oil in a slow stream, whisking constantly till well combined. Season with salt and pepper.

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11 comments on “Easy Balsamic Vinaigrette”

  1. I never get tired of a good balsamic dressing and I know your guests loved it too. Sounds like you saved the day! 

  2. I love this dressing and I eat salad all the time this is perfect for me!

  3. Liz, sounds good. I don’t know why anyone buys bottled salad dressings. If you’re going to all the trouble to make a salad, take just a couple more minutes and make a fresh dressing for it! (Love how you handled that situation!)

  4. Sounds absolutely delicious Lizzy !! ( and your new kitchen : beautiful)

  5. Nothing better than homemade dressing…your balsamic vinaigrette sounds delicious and indeed super easy…thanks for the recipe. Have a great rest of the week!

  6. Balsamic vinaigrette is my favorite, this is perfect for winter salads!

  7. Power failure? It’ll be nice to dine in the dark!  Awesome tips, Liz! xoxo 

  8. Impromptu get togethers like that are just the best! You probably had even more fun than you would have at the restaurant!! 😉

    That salad of yours is drool worthy! And I love balsamic vinaigrette and MUST try your recipe!

  9. I’ve never not made my own vinaigrette’s. Double negative. I’ve always made my own vinaigrette’s! To me it’s equally important to have a vinaigrette that pairs and enhances the salad. In this case a good balsamic is just a great basic one to know, and it’s perfect with pizza! Besides saving money, and avoiding chemical fillers and preservatives…

  10. A perfect explanation of emulsifying and a perfect recipe that’s easy for all to create. Why buy store bought when homemade is healthier, less expensive and easy!

  11. I bet your guests were delighted to be in your new kitchen. Thank you for the tips and I will invest in some better balsamic vinegar.

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