Vinaigrette is a classic salad dressing made by mixing oil with acidic substances such as vinegar or lemon juice. It can also be used as marinade. Balsamic vinaigrette dressing is made using balsamic vinegar and olive oil. It is malleable, and many variations of the vinaigrette have been made by adding mustard, honey and various spices.
Balsamic vinegar, a vital ingredient in this vinaigrette, is extremely beneficial health-wise. It helps to maintain lower cholesterol levels, aids digestion, supports weight loss, improves blood circulation and even helps improve skin condition. Olive oil, another ingredient, is rich in antioxidants that helps to prevent cellular damage. People with olive oil included in their diet are known to have a longer life expectancy.
It is important that the balsamic vinegar you buy is of good quality. Look out for old authentic balsamic that has fermented for 12 years or more. If your balsamic is labeled “Balsamic Vinegar of…” it might be an inexpensive brand that isn’t aged. Tip, look for balsamic bottles with the label “Aceto Balsamico,” and then check the region in which the balsamic was produced. It should be of the Modena and Emilian-Romangna region in Italy.
The ingredients you need to make the basic balsamic vinaigrette are:
¼ cup of balsamic vinegar
¾ cup of olive oil
A pinch of salt
Fresh ground pepper
Spoonful of Dijon mustard, honey, minced garlic, minced shallots, minced fresh herbs and dried fresh herbs.
Step 1: Combine olive oil and balsamic vinegar in a jar or container with a sealed lid.
Step 2: Add a pinch of salt and a little ground black pepper.
Step 3: Seal the jar or container and shake very well. Taste by dipping a piece of lettuce or cabbage, and adjust the portion of oil and vinegar to your preference.
Note that homemade balsamic vinaigrette can last one to two weeks without being refrigerated. If you add any fresh ingredients, it is best that you refrigerate it.
If you’re trying to adjust the recipe, stick to a three parts oil and one part vinegar ratio. Whisk together and pour directly over your salad if it is made in smaller amount.
Speaking of variations of the balsamic vinaigrette dressing, if you love sweet things, you might want to add one to two tablespoons of honey to the vinaigrette. Honey balsamic vinaigrette is rich in flavor and it reinvents your salad.
If you are a garlic lover, adding a few cloves of minced garlic will do the trick. You can also add minced shallots and give yourself a treat.
Dijon mustard is a popular addition to the balsamic vinaigrette dressing as it gives a tangy taste to your salad. It’s a favorite you should try out. You could use whole grain mustard if Dijon mustard isn’t accessible.
Creamy balsamic vinaigrette is made by adding three tablespoons of mayonnaise, two cloves of pressed garlic, one teaspoon of Dijon mustard, and one teaspoon of brown sugar to the basic balsamic vinaigrette recipe. Instead of shaking it in a jar or container, this needs to be blended to a smooth paste. Then add the salt and black pepper after blending.