Preparing Vinaigrettes

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Posted by gilly

We all know that we should be getting around 5-10 servings of fruits/vegetables a day (depending on which food guide you are looking at). Sometimes this can seem a bit daunting, but a fresh, crisp, salad for lunch or dinner puts us well on the way to meeting that goal.

Of course, a common salad accompaniment is a complimentary dressing or vinaigrette - it can help bring out additional flavours, make veggies more palatable, and the fat content provides a mechanism for our bodies to receive precious vitamins and nutrients from produce. But how many ‘extras’ are we consuming when we buy processed dressings and vinaigrettes? Hydrogenated oils are not uncommon, as they help preserve shelf life. Chemicals and additives are often used to enhance flavour perception. No thank you.

Preparing homemade vinaigrettes is a wonderful alternative. The flavour possibilities are only limited by your imagination, and preparation is quite easy. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

The Basics
Although vinaigrettes are typically associated with leafy salads, they can also be used as sauces in a variety of different dishes - such as pasta, rice, and grained salads.

The simplest vinaigrette is made up of an acidic component – such as vinegar or lemon juice – and an oil component – such as olive oil. The addition of any other herbs, spices, and so on are purely optional.

Homemade vinaigrettes should typically be used within two (2) weeks.

The basic challenge with a vinaigrette is that vinegar (or lemon juice) and oil are not soluble – meaning that they do not readily mix together. However, the liquids can be ‘forced’ into suspension by a process called emulsification. Emulsification is accomplished by combining all ingredients EXCEPT the oil. Then, while continuously whisking (or using a medium setting on your blender) you VERY SLOWLY add the oil drop by drop, or in a very thin stream. The vinaigrette will slowly begin to thicken and the two liquids will appear to be ‘blended’.

This suspension will not last for a long time – however, it can be quickly re-combined by giving the bottle or container a quick shake prior to use.

Quick Tip: Pureed vegetables and other seasonings can help strengthen and prolong an emulsification.

Recipe – Sesame, Soy, and Ginger Vinaigrette
(shown above)

This is fantastic as a salad dressing, or tossed in with some cold noodles, sugar-snap peas, carrots and broccoli.

3 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp freshly grated ginger
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup canola oil
1/4 cup sesame oil
salt & pepper to taste
sesame seeds to garnish

Combine all ingredients in a blender EXCEPT the canola and sesame oil. Combine the oils into a measuring cup and SLOWLY add in a very fine stream to a pulsing blender. Pour into a glass bottle and shake. Serve immediately, or refrigerate for up to two (2) weeks.

Our first event on the Daily Tiffin this month is Show Us Your Lunchbox. Hope you will join us and allow us to peak into your lunch. Deadline April 20th.

Are you interested in contributing to The Daily Tiffin? Drop us an email: We look forward to hearing your ideas.

This Post was written by gilly from Humble Pie.


Gilly, this is a wonderful recipe. As the weather gets hot here I have started to put together recipes and dishes for lighter and easier meals. This is perfect especially the ideas with the pasta. I can also imagine this with a huge plate of roasted vegetables.

Meeta K. Wolff said...
April 12, 2007 at 6:01:00 PM GMT+2  

Hi Meeta - I love how you think! A vinegrette would go wonderfully with roasted vegetables... I've had the recipe above on roasted asparagus, and it's great! I'm thinking one with chives or tarragon would be amazing with roasted potatoes...

Anonymous said...
April 12, 2007 at 6:27:00 PM GMT+2  

Gilly!! Asparagus I am sooo loving that idea! I've just bought some green asparagus and this is going to be an awesome light lunch for me tomorrow. The ideas with potatoes is pretty cool too. I am thinking rosemary ;-)
I will let you know what lunch was like tomorrow!!

Meeta K. Wolff said...
April 12, 2007 at 7:03:00 PM GMT+2  

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