Health Lift: Make your own vinaigrette

Change up your salads by making your own vinaigrette. Photo by MCT.

I love a nice crisp salad, but sometimes, leafy greens bore me. This usually happens when I lack creativity with my ingredient combinations and dressings.

I.e., for lunch, I often make a salad with cucumbers, green olives, red cabbage, romaine lettuce and chicken or turkey. I top it with whatever salad dressing I have in the employee refrigerator — usually a light honey mustard or balsamic vinaigrette. I wore out this one, for sure.

But I prefer eating salad for lunch because I like to fill up on veggies midday. I find that I have more energy, and it also helps me to eat the recommended daily serving of fruits and vegetables.

After becoming dissatisfied with my same-old, same-old, I realized I just need to change things up. Store-bought dressings are starting to turn me off. I plan to do this by playing around with ingredients and making my own dressings. I love vinaigrettes, so I’ll most likely stay away from mayo-based dressings.

First, I had to learn the basics.

The magic ratio in a vinaigrette is 3 to 1, oil to vinegar. If you want a more tart or more mild taste, adjust the ratio.

Any citrus — lemon, orange or lime — can add a fruity flair. Or try berries.

I’m not a pro yet, but I have the knowledge I need to get started.

Here are some simple vinaigrette recipes. Get creative by swapping in different vinegars and adding herbs and spices.

Honey dijon vinaigrette
3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey

Raspberry vinaigrette
1/2 cup raspberries
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
Mix raspberries, vinegar, sugar and mustard in a blender. Slowly add oil.

Lemon dijon vinaigrette
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
2/3 cup oil
1 clove garlic
Salt and pepper to taste 

Mix lemon juice and mustard in a small bowl. Gradually add oil. Bruise garlic, and add it to the mixture. Allow dressing to sit for 30 minutes to develop flavors.


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Leigh Zaleski

I'm a health features reporter for the York Daily Record/Sunday News and healthy living blogger for No Sweat, York. Contact me with story ideas at lzaleski@ydr.com, 717-771-2101 or @leighzaleski on Twitter.

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1 Response

  1. February 6, 2013

    […] Read more about how to make your own vinaigrette on Smart. […]

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