Balsamic Vinaigrette Salad Dressing is the easiest, best homemade salad dressing you’ll ever make. Great on everything from salads to chicken. Nothing beats this yummy homemade salad dressing!
I love salad dressings and marinades. They are so much easier to make than you’d imagine, they keep in the fridge for longer than you’d think, and they are great on way more food than you’d expect.
I love me some balsamic. And I do truly believe that ingredients matter, especially when it comes to vinegars. Although, I should say that it matters even more in terms of what you’re using the balsamic for. Are you going to cook with it? Then it doesn’t matter so much because you’re going to cook off a lot of the flavor (like in a grilled balsamic marinade). Are you going to use it as a…say…dressing (not cook it?) then you’ll want to go for quality balsamic because you’re going to really taste it and you’re going to want it to taste good, mmmm k? Just trust me on this one.
HOW CAN YOU TELL IF BALSAMIC VINEGAR IS “GOOD” OR “HIGH QUALITY”?
I’ve heard buying balsamic is like buying wine. You want to look at where it comes from, what kind of grapes were used to make it, how old it is and how it was aged.
I won’t get into how balsamic is actually made but here’s how you can determine what’s good and what’s not:
- Look for an authentic, traditional vinegar that was made from grapes grown in the region of Modena and Emilian-Romagna in Italy. There is an actual law in Italy that says the balsamic there has to ferment for 12 years in order to even be called traditional balsamic. That’s pretty legit if you ask me. (You can find balsamic older than 12 years but 12 years is also a pretty good amount of time for aging, so don’t feel like you have to break the bank on 100-year-old vinegar.)
- Look for bottles labeled “Aceto Balsamico” and then the region.
- Bottles that just say “Balsamic Vinegar of ____” are inexpensive brands that are not aged and while not awful, they can definitely get better.
- In addition to the age of your vinegar, check also that it is made of a “grape must” and not just cheap wine vinegars.
- Read the ingredients and check for the grape must first. If you see ingredients such as caramel coloring, vinegar, and artificial flavors, look for another brand.
IS THERE ANY ALCOHOL IN BALSAMIC VINEGAR?
Balsamic isn’t made from alcohol, like wine vinegar and cider vinegar are. Balsamic is actually made from grape juice that is reduced by a third and aged. It’s like a thick, aged syrup really.
HOW CAN I CUSTOMIZE BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTE SALAD DRESSING?
The recipe I use for Balsamic Vinaigrette is simple, and I like it that way. I only use high-quality balsamic, extra virgin olive oil, honey, and salt and pepper. Yep that’s it! But, I also like a variety of add-ins on occasion such as:
- Herbs and spices: thyme, rosemary, and oregano are some of my favorite herbs to add to dressings.
- Finely minced garlic is super easy to add to dressings and if you’re a garlic fan, I suggest you add a clove or two, depending on your tastes.
- Dijon or whole grain mustard gives balsamic vinaigrette a bit of a tang that spices up the dressing just a bit.
- Red pepper flakes add some spice to your dressing. It doesn’t take much to get it there so you’ll only need a teaspoon or two for this homemade salad dressing.
- Add shallots or green onions to the mix. Slice them very small so you’ll get a bit in every bite.
- Shake up your salad dressing with some crumbled feta, goat cheese, or Parmesan for a bit of a cheesy flavor.
So have I convinced you yet to try this delicious healthy salad dressing recipe yet? Make it today and let me know what you think!
Balsamic Vinaigrette Salad Dressing Recipe
- 1/2 cup high quality balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup honey or 2-3 tablespoons sugar, see note
- salt and pepper to taste
Combine vinegar, olive oil, honey, and a pinch of salt and pepper in a jar. Cover, shake vigorously.
Taste, add more salt and pepper if needed, and shake again. Cover and store tightly sealed up to 1 week.
Although I’m not a big fan of honey flavor by itself, I prefer the flavor of honey in this recipe, though white granulated sugar can also be used. I also like the slightly thicker texture you get when you use the honey!
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