A homemade vinaigrette for my dinner salads is something I always try to have in the fridge. It takes no time to make a salad dressing like red wine vinaigrette once you understand the basics.Jump to Recipe
When you make your own, you know exactly what's in it, and this makes it so much easier to control the quality.
Quality is important with a salad dressing, particularly if you are eating it on a regular basis. Store-bought salad dressing are notorious for containing excess salt, sugar, and poor quality oils.
It isn’t a good idea to eat that every day, or even a few times a week, as it will tax your body.
Red wine vinaigrette is about the most versatile dressing you can make. It follows the basic formula of two-thirds oil to one-third vinegar, although this recipe adds a touch more vinegar because I enjoy the dominant flavor of a dressing to be vinegary, rather than oily.
I also add a teaspoon of mustard, which is my habit with dressings. I find the complexity of at least two different sour flavors makes for a more balanced dressing.
Mustard is a complex flavor in its own right, so it works well. I have been known to add a splash of balsamic or another specialty vinegar as well.
For this vinaigrette, I have also added a tiny bit of sweet in the form of maple syrup, but you could also use honey. The touch of sweetness adds another flavor dimension that contributes to the overall balance.
The thyme leaves are completely optional, but they do add another flavor: astringency. It also looks pretty sophisticated in the dressing.
Salt and pepper are basics of course for a vinaigrette. I don’t recommend you skimp on the salt.
As long as you are not sensitive to salt, you can consider using some finishing salt on your salad in addition to the dressing. Salt adds loads of flavor to salads.
This red wine vinaigrette is super versatile. You can serve it with any green salad, such as my Seared Apple and Cherry Tomato Salad with Goat Cheese.
You could even use it as a marinade for a cold vegetable salad, or as a dressing for cabbage to create a simply vinegary coleslaw.
Recipe for Red Wine Vinaigrette
- Place all ingredients except the oil in a small dish with deep sides, or in a mason jar. Whisk well.
- Drizzle in the oils slowly, while steadily whisking, to ensure the oil and vinegar emulsify.
- Taste, and adjust for salt and pepper. One of the best ways to taste a dressing is with a piece of lettuce so you can understand how the dressing will taste in the dish. Careful when tasting that you get an accurate mix of oil and vinegar in your bite. Dip deep into the dressing to avoid getting mostly oil, as the oil tends to rise to the top. Store dressing in a glass mason jar or bottle.
- Shake well before use. Use a ladle or spoon, rather than pouring the dressing to ensure an equal distribution of oil and vinegar in the salad.