One thing you will not find in my refrigerator is store-bought dressing. Well, kinda. There’s certainly a place for some bottled blue cheese dressing for those random times my husband makes wings. For everything else, I make my own dressing. It’s the easiest thing to do, even if you’re just starting to get your feet wet in the kitchen.
Homemade balsamic vinaigrette will almost always have far fewer ingredients than any prepared and bottled option you can purchase. Added bonuses are 1) being able to adjust the salt level to your needs (often far less than the bottled stuff) and 2) the ability to adjust the ratio of oil to vinegar. There was a time I loved the strong taste of vinegar and everything tart. But these days, my taste buds prefer them to be mellowed out. When you make it at home, you’re in complete control.
The recipe uses only balsamic vinegar and mustard powder in addition to your staples of olive oil, salt and pepper. It’s quickly whisked together just in time to toss with some fresh greens. I often toss it with arugula, dried cranberries, and pistachios. So simple, yet satisfying.
You may be asking, “What’s up with the mustard?”. Well, the mustard’s role is to emulsify the ingredients – meaning it helps the oil and vinegar stick together (or take longer to separate). You can substitute a small amount of prepared mustard you have in your fridge. I do offer one warning: taste as you go. Using too much mustard powder makes the dressing bitter and leads to unhappy eating!
This balsamic vinaigrette is also delicious on whole grain salads. Try tossing it with cooked farro, garbanzo beans, and diced sweet peppers. Or try it with quinoa, edamame, and halved grape tomatoes.
The last point I’ll make about this recipe is that it doesn’t require any fancy hardware. A small whisk or fork will do, plus a cup or jar to mix it in. A jar is especially handy if you make a larger batch to store in the fridge for a few days.
The simplest dressing.
You'll need a small bowl (or jar) that holds about 1 cup and a whisk (or fork).
- 2 tablespoons olive oil extra virgin
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 1/8 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/8 teaspoon salt kosher
- black pepper to taste
Using a whisk, mix all ingredients well. If you do not have a whisk, you will want to mix the vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper together first.
Then drizzle in the oil slowly which vigorously using a fork to stir together. This helps keep the oil and vinegar from separating.
Once mixed, drizzle over your favorite greens and enjoy!
We’re big fans of arugula in my house, making it our go-to green for salads. Here’s the dressing in action with some arugula and walnuts.
Does this sound good to you, but you want to change up the ingredients? Head on over and take a look at the vinaigrette recipe template for some inspiration!
Welcome to 5 Ingredient Friday! Here you'll find a recipe with 5 ingredients or less (shhh... water, oil, salt, pepper don't count). Recipes don't need a lot of ingredients to be yummy. Fewer ingredients means simpler prep. It also means you'll have them memorized in no time. 5 Ingredient recipes are the backbone of my everyday cooking. I hope you find a place for this recipe in your kitchen.