Making food from scratch versus buying prepared products has so many advantages: not only do you have more appreciation for the finished product but you'll enjoy the process of creating it. You can also customize it to your tastes along the way. One might say that this is time-consuming and makes a bigger mess, but when you have the option to personalize what you make, it's worth the work.
One of my favorite things to make from scratch are vinaigrettes. They are so simple and versatile, the different combinations of ingredients are endless!
Homemade Vinaigrette Suggestions
You can use shallots. I like them roasted.
Roasted garlic is also a nice addition to vinaigrettes.
You'll need Dijon mustard (or a course ground mustard) or an egg yolk for binding. This is your emulsifier that binds the oil and vinegar together. An egg yolk would add a bit more creaminess to the vinaigrette.
Any type of oil (try different flavors like Garlic Grapseed oil or Pistachio oil) can be used in a vinaigrette. If using olive oil, a better quality olive oil will yield a better result.
Any type of acidity like lemon juice or any type of vinegar (apple cider vinegar and champagne vinegar are two of my favorites) is also a must for a vinaigrette.
Try sweetening them up with syrup or honey:
For equipment, all you will need is a small bowl and a whisk! If you're using fresh citrus, then I recommend using a juicer like the one pictured above. This is only three small things you're dirtying, so it's not much to clean up at all!
The oil to vinegar ratio for making a vinaigrette is typically 3:1. The reason I say typically is because your personal tastes and preferences have a lot to do with it. If you like a more vinegar based vinaigrette, use less oil. The process for making a vinaigrette is just as easy as the cleanup:
- For about a cup of vinaigrette, start with a tablespoon of Dijon or one egg yolk in a small bowl (but big enough to vigorously whisk in).
- Add the acid, about half a lemon or three tablespoons of any vinegar.
- Start slowing drizzling in the oil, try 10 tablespoons of oil, as you are whisking away at the same time.
- At this point, you will notice the mixture start to emulsify and look blended together, like any other type of vinaigrette looks!
- Add other add-ins like sweeteners and shallots or garlic.
- The only way to tell if you've achieved the perfect ratio (and to see if you need more oil) is to taste it. If it's too acidic, add more oil. Don't forget salt and pepper to taste.
Mastering vinaigrettes made from scratch is a great skill to have. They are an easy and delicious way to enhance a lot of different recipes: salads, grilled chicken, fish, grilled vegetables, etc. A lot of our cooking classes at The Chopping Block include making vinaigrettes. Come learn in class or make one in your kitchen today!
If you need more help, watch our Owner/Chef Shelley Young's video on How to Make Vinaigrette:
Want more how to cook videos? Check out our online video library.