Salad dressing is one of the things I learned to make early in my life. This vinaigrette is what my grandma and mom would “whip up” for every type of salad known to womankind. It is great for potlucks and picnics because it is vinegar based, and it can be remixed with nearly any type of ingredients you care to use. It is foolproof! The basic version is also easy to remember.
Basic Sweet and Sour Vinaigrette
Okay, I’ll freely admit this isn’t a traditional French vinaigrette, but I’m not sure what else to call it! The basic ingredients are equal parts olive oil, cider vinegar, sugar, and water. To be honest, it is a little Midwestern and a little German … more like a sweet and sour dressing than a true vinaigrette.
I always add minced garlic to mine, plus a pinch of salt. The water can be replaced with fruit juice for extra flavor. You can add any kind of fresh or dried herb combination you like. You can use flavored olive oil, like my basil pictured below, or flavored vinegar. Adding mustard gives it a nice kick. Trade the sugar for honey or agave nectar – but never for artificial sweetener.
Change it up however you like.
Storing your Vinaigrette
I make this in small batches and store in a half-pint mason jar in the refrigerator. I use pre-prepared minced garlic when I make a batch to keep for a bit. This is a safer option because fresh garlic kept in oil is a great environment for producing botulism toxin. The small batch doesn’t last more than 3 or 4 days, and really shouldn’t be kept much longer if you include fruit juice, garlic, or herbs. This is a versatile recipe and can be used to dress lettuce salad or simple vegetable salads for summer. The sweet and sour flavor is one I grew up with, as did my mom and grandma. Enjoy!
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon prepared minced garlic
- Pinch of salt
- Place all ingredients in a 1/2 pint mason jar.
- Seal jar and shake until ingredients are well combined.
- Pour over your favorite salad.
- One service is about two tablespoons.