Make your own vinaigrette

Choose an Oil Choose an Acid Add Seasoning

A great salad starts with a fabulous vinaigrette. A basic vinaigrette blends an acid, usually vinegar or lemon juice, with a vegetable oil, salt, pepper and other seasonings.

Preparing your own vinaigrette allows you to control the flavour as well as the fat content. Traditional proportions are three parts oil to one part vinegar.

For lower fat versions, try a two to one ratio or experiment until you find the proportions of oil and vinegar you like.

You can also try adding chicken broth, wine, fruit juice or even water to stretch your vinaigrette without increasing fat content.

To make a vinaigrette, start by choosing an oil, then acid ingredient and the other seasonings. Because oil and vinegars don’t mix, you can also add an emulsifier like mustard to prevent them from separating.

Whisk ingredients in glass bowl or blend them in your blender or shake them in a jar to combine. To make sure you have the flavours just right, dip a lettuce leaf in the mixture to taste it.

Store leftovers in the refrierator and use in one week. Vinaigrettes also make a great marinade for vegetables, poultry or meat.

Maple Citrus

  • 2 oranges, juiced
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup 15 mL
  • 1/4 c. canola oil 60 mL
  • 4 oranges, sectioned
  • 1/2 c. pecans, toasted 125 mL

Combine orange and lemon juice with maple syrup and oil. Toss orange slices and toasted pecans with lettuce or spinach. Drizzle with vinaigrette.
Vinaigrette yield: 3/4 c. (175 mL) Source: canolainfo.org.

Lime Cilantro Vinaigrette

  • 1/2 bunch cilantro
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3/4 c. canola oil 175 mL
  • 3/4 c. lime juice 175 mL
  • 1/4 c. sugar 50 mL
  • 2 tbsp. ginger, grated 25 mL
  • 3-4 dashes fish sauce

In a food processor, mix cilantro and garlic, then add oil, lime juice and sugar. Squeeze juice from grated ginger and add to dressing. Discard grated ginger and add fish sauce. Process everything for five to 10 seconds.
It’s delicious on salads, fish or seafood or as a marinade for the barbecue.
Yield: 1 1/2 c. (375 mL). Source: canolainfo.org.

Saskatoon Sweet and Soy Marinade

  • 3/4 c. red wine vinegar 175 mL
  • 3/4 c. saskatoon berries 175 mL
  • 2 tbsp. borage honey 30 mL
  • 1 c. canola oil 250 mL
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped 5 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. salt 1 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper 1 mL

Place berries, vinegar and honey in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for four minutes to soften berries.
Puree with oil, thyme, salt and pepper. Do not crush all berries, leave some whole for texture. Cool and enjoy. Blueberries can be substituted for saskatoon berries.

Yield: one cup (250 mL).
Source: canolainfo.org.

Lucky Money Vinaigrette

  • 3/4 c. tomato-clam juice 175 mL
  • 1/4 c. canola oil 60 mL
  • 3 tbsp. rice vinegar 45 mL
  • 3 tbsp. oyster sauce 45 mL
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce 30 mL
  • 2 tbsp. granulated sugar 30 mL
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp. grated fresh ginger 5 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. red chili pepper flakes 1 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. sesame oil 1 mL

Combine tomato clam juice, canola oil, vinegar, oyster and soy sauces, sugar, garlic, ginger, pepper flakes and sesame oil in a container with a tight-fitting lid.
Mix well. Yield: 1 3/4 cup (425 mL). Source: canolainfo.org.

Tarragon Vinaigrette

I use this one on bean salads or as a simple fresh vinaigrette.

  • 1/2 c. white wine vinegar 125 mL
  • 3/4 c. canola oil 175 mL
  • 1/3 c. sugar 75 mL
  • 1 tbsp. mustard powder 15 mL
  • 1-2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp. dried tarragon 15 mL
  • 1 tbsp. dried basil 15 mL
  • salt and pepper to taste

Combine vinegar, oil, mustard powder, garlic, tarragon, basil, salt and pepper in a jar with lid. Shake to combine ingredients.
Yield: one cup (250 mL).

Wild Cranberry Vinaigrette

  • 1/2 c. wild cranberries 125 mL
  • 1/2 c. red wine vinegar 125 mL
  • 1/2 c. canola oil 125 mL
  • 1/2 c. honey 125 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin 1 mL
  • salt and pepper to taste

Combine cranberries, vinegar, oil, honey, cumin, salt and pepper in blender and blend until smooth. It’s great on mixed greens. Yield: 1 1/2 c. (375 mL). Source: canolainfo.org.

Zesty Italian

This is my go-to dressing for vegetable salad but it also works great for a lettuce salad.

  • 1/2 c. white wine vinegar 125 mL
  • 3/4 c. canola or olive oil 175 mL
  • 1 tbsp. mustard powder 15 mL
  • 1-2 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tsp. dried thyme 10 mL
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano 10 mL
  • 2 tsp. dried basil 10 mL
  • 2 tsp. dried parsley 10 mL
  • 1 tsp. onion powder 5 mL
  • salt and pepper to taste

Combine vinegar, oil, mustard powder, garlic, thyme, oregano, basil, parsley, onion powder, salt and pepper in a jar with lid. Shake to combine ingredients. Yield: one cup (250 mL).

Strawberry Watermelon Vinaigrette

  • 1 c. sliced strawberries 250 mL
  • 1 c. cubed watermelon, seeded 250 mL
  • 2 tbsp. white wine vinegar 30 mL
  • 1 tbsp. granulated sugar 15 mL
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon peel 5 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. salt 1 mL
  • 2 tbsp. canola oil 30 mL

Combine ingredients except oil in a blender. Puree until smooth. With machine running, add oil in a thin stream, process until well blended. Transfer to a small bowl. Serve on leaf lettuce or mixed baby greens. Yield: 1 1/4 c. (310 mL).

Roasted Tomato Vinaigrette

  • 1 plum tomato
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin 2 mL
  • pinch cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp. salt and freshly ground pepper 1 mL
  • 1/2 c. canola oil 125 mL
  • 1/4 c. balsamic vinegar 50 mL
  • or half lemon juice, half vinegar

Cut the tomato in half and rub with olive oil, salt and pepper. Set on grill over low heat 10 to 12 minutes, turning once. Peel blackened skin off tomato and squeeze out seeds. There should be about one tablespoon (15 mL) of pulp. Add cumin, cayenne, salt and pepper to the pulp and pound to a paste. Whisk in vinegar and canola oil. Yield: 1 1/4 cup (310 mL). Source: canolainfo.org.

Greek Vinaigrette

This is the house dressing at our place. Sometimes, I add two tablespoons (30 mL) of lemon juice for a different flavour. If I use it to marinate meat or potatoes, I also add one tablespoon (15 mL) lemon zest.

  • 1/2 c. vinegar 125 mL
  • 3/4 c. canola or olive oil 175 mL
  • 1 tbsp. mustard powder 15 mL
  • 1-2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp. dried oregano 15 mL
  • 1 tbsp. dried basil 15 mL
  • salt and pepper to taste

Combine vinegar, oil, mustard powder, garlic, oregano, basil, salt and pepper in a jar with lid. Shake to combine ingredients. Yield: one cup (250 mL).

Super Easy Ranch Salad Dressing

It’s my daughter’s favourite and one of the first recipes my mom taught me. I tweaked it by adding hot sauce and onion powder.

  • 1 c. mayonnaise 250 mL
  • 1/2 c. sour cream 125 mL
  • 1-2 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp. white wine vinegar 30 mL
  • 1 tbsp. Djion mustard 15 mL
  • 1 tbsp. chopped chives 15 mL
  • 2 tsp. dried dill 10 mL
  • 2 tsp. dried parsley 10 mL
  • 1 tsp. onion powder 5 mL
  • few dashes of hot sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste

Combine mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar, mustard, chives, dill, parsley, onion powder, hot sauce, salt and pepper. Add a little water to get the consistency you like.
Yield: 1 3/4 cup (425 mL).

Mango Chutney Vinaigrette

  • 3 tbsp. mango chutney, chopped 45 mL
  • 1 tbsp. canola oil 15 mL
  • 1 tbsp. sherry vinegar 15 mL
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce 15 mL

Combine chutney, oil, vinegar and soy sauce in a small bowl. Mix well. Yield: 1/3 cup (75 mL). Source: canolainfo.org.

Salsa Dressing

  • 1/2 c. salsa 125 mL
  • 1/2 c. water 75 mL
  • 2 tbsp. canola oil 30 mL
  • 2 tbsp. lime juice 30 mL
  • 1 tbsp. minced cilantro 15 mL
  • 1 tsp. granulated sugar 5 mL
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed

To prepare dressing, combine salsa, water, canola oil, lime juice, cilantro, sugar and garlic in container with tight fitting lid. Shake well. Yield: one cup (250 mL).
Source: canolainfo.org.

Dorothy Long is a home economist in the agrifood trade and former greenhouse grower from Lloydminster, Sask. She writes a blog at prairiekitchencompanion.blogspot.ca. Contact: food@producer.com.

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