Essential Balsamic Vinaigrette Recipe

How to Make Balsamic Dressing - Essential Balsamic Vinaigrette Recipe

Homemade balsamic dressing is a staple in our house. So much so that we thought we should share three versions we make often: a basic dressing, creamy dressing and strawberry balsamic dressing.

How to Make Balsamic Dressing – An Essential Balsamic Vinaigrette Recipe

When making vinaigrettes, the idea is to slowly stream in oil and vigorously beat it into the base of the dressing — often vinegar or lemon juice. In this case, we used olive oil and slowly added it to balsamic vinegar.

How to Make Balsamic Dressing

Depending on the quality of your balsamic vinegar you may only need to add salt and pepper for a thick, slightly sweetened vinaigrette. Most of us, though, don’t have high quality balsamic vinegars at home (or if we do, we don’t want to use a 1/4 cup of it in dressing). They can be very expensive.

For our daily homemade salad dressing, Joanne and I buy relatively low-range balsamic vinegar (around $10). Then, we cheer up it’s flavor with some extras — Dijon mustard and a little brown sugar. The brown sugar adds sweetness, often found in the higher quality stuff and the mustard adds complexity.

How to Make Creamy Dressing

If we’re feeling like something different, we’ll go a little farther and make the dressing creamy. We add a little mayonnaise and it works like a dream.

How to Make Balsamic Dressing

We’ve also tried sour cream and creme fraiche — both are a nice touch and add a little bit of sour to the mix.

How to Make Strawberry Balsamic Dressing

Another option is to turn the basic dressing into strawberry balsamic dressing and use strawberry jam instead of brown sugar.

By the way, you could skip strawberry and use another jam — blueberry, cherry and fig jam are delicious.

How to Make Balsamic Dressing - Essential Balsamic VinaigretteDo you have any tips for spicing up our basic balsamic dressing recipe? We’ve seen adding garlic, a little red wine vinegar and fresh herbs. Share your ideas in the comments below.

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Essential Balsamic Vinaigrette Recipe
 
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Why we love this recipe. Homemade balsamic dressing is a staple in our house. Below we’ve shared three versions: basic, creamy and strawberry.
What you need to know. We like vinegary dressings, so we use twice as much olive oil as vinegar. To make a less vinegary dressing, add more olive oil. Garlic is optional in this dressing -- If we use it, we add one crushed garlic clove to the dressing then let it sit for about 30 minutes before removing it and serving. For a stronger garlic flavor, use minced garlic. The strawberry dressing uses jam, so you could easily substitute strawberry with cherry, blueberry, fig or other jam.

Equipment you’ll need. Measuring spoons, a bowl and whisk. (Also, can be made using a mason jar or blender).
Created By:
Yield: 3/4 cup, 4 to 6 servings
You Will Need
Basic Balsamic Dressing
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons brown sugar (see note)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed, optional (minced for stronger garlic flavor)
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup (118 to 177 ml) olive oil (1/2 cup will make dressing on vinegary side)
Creamy Balsamic Dressing
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons brown sugar (see note)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed, optional (minced for stronger garlic flavor)
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup (118 to 177 ml) olive oil (1/2 cup will make dressing on vinegary side)
Strawberry Balsamic Dressing
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon strawberry jam, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed, optional (minced for stronger garlic flavor)
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup (118 to 177 ml) olive oil (1/2 cup will make dressing on vinegary side)
Directions
Prepare Dressing
  1. With the exception of olive oil, salt and pepper, combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Whisk to combine. (If you have added a crushed garlic clove, a fork might be easier than a whisk -- the clove tends to get caught in the wires).
  2. While whisking, slowly stream in olive oil until completely incorporated and the dressing becomes thick. Adjust seasonings with salt, pepper, sugar or jam.How-to-Make-Balsamic-Dressing-Recipe-Step-1
  3. If you added garlic, set the dressing aside for 30 minutes, remove garlic clove then serve. Or, if storing dressing for a while, leave it in -- the garlic will continue to add a subtle garlic flavor to the dressing.
How to Store Dressing
  1. Dressing can be made up to 1 week ahead, stored covered and refrigerated. Whisk well before using.
Notes and Tips
Sugar: If you are using a high quality balsamic vinegar, you may not need as much sugar in the dressing. Add sugar and jam to taste.

How to Make in Jar or Blender: Instead of whisking ingredients together, place all the ingredients in a screw-top jar and shake to combine. Or, use a blender. Add all ingredients, but garlic, to blender then blend until thick. Add garlic then let sit 30 minutes. Dressing made in the blender will be a little thicker than if made by hand.

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3 comments… Leave a Comment

  • Dilini May 28, 2013, 2:33 pm

    I love the sour/sweet taste of vinaigrette and I buy salad ingredients just to eat one clove of crushed garlic, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and a teaspoon of sweet mustard whisked together. Pure bliss :) Thanks for these recipes! I’m definitely trying out the one with strawberry jam!

    Reply
  • Jess May 31, 2013, 3:13 am

    Mmm – love the idea to add jam to a basic balsamic. I can’t believe I’ve never done it before, but I will be from now on!

    Reply
  • Bonnie July 4, 2014, 10:34 am

    I use fresh squeezed orange juice sometimes and raw honey as the sweetener.

    Reply

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