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Basic Vinaigrette

Makes about 1/3 cup

As the title suggests, this quick and easy vinaigrette recipe is very basic, requiring just oil, vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. Use it as is or as a base for any number of salad dressings. You can add some Dijon mustard, garlic or shallots. I always add herbs, such as basil, tarragon or parsley. You can use different types of vinegar like sherry, balsamic or white wine. The basic rule is one part vinegar to two or three parts oil, but even that can be altered, using less oil for a lighter and tangier dressing. For a creamy version, add a little yogurt, sour cream or mayonnaise. See the similar and related recipes for some examples. The recipe can be made in any amount needed.


Place the vinegar in a small bowl. Add the oil very slowly, whisking constantly until the mixture has emulsified. Whisk in the salt and pepper. This can be prepared several hours ahead. The recipe yields enough dressing for a salad for 4 to 6 people. To use, either place greens on individual serving plates and drizzle with dressing, or add enough dressing to greens in a large bowl and toss just until moistened.

Notes: For a mustard vinaigrette, add about 2 teaspoons Dijon to the vinegar and stir before adding the oil. This is also good on vegetable salads, such as green beans. Leftover dressing can be refrigerated up to a week. Whisk to emulsify before using.