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Dress-ing It Up!: Creative Ideas for Using Vinaigrettes

VinaigretteMixingPosted Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

The vinaigrette: a common mix of balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and spices. A traditional balsamic vinaigrette is composed of two parts balsamic vinegar, one part olive oil...and there are so many flavor combinations of oil-and-vinegar pairings that can be used for delicious vinaigrettes! 

But once you know how to make a vinaigrette, the next question arises: how do I use it? Here are some simple, but creative, ways for using your vinaigrettes to make food all the more delicious.

SaladSalad Dressing. We've all seen vinaigrette used as a salad dressing. This healthy topping is the perfect dressing to season your greens, without ruining a healthy dish. To use vinaigrette for salad dressing, stir/whisk vinaigrette immediately before using to ensure all ingredients are evenly mixed. Pour small amounts of vinaigrette to the salad at a time to ensure the salad is not over-saturated. (Remember, the dressing enhances the flavor of the salad; it shouldn't be the only flavor of the salad!)

meatMeat Marinade. Vinaigrettes can make delicious marinades for meat. Simply place your meat in a large Ziploc bag (big enough for your meat to fit in), pour the dressing over the top of the meat, and seal the bag. Gently toss/massage the bag so that the marinade touches all parts of the meat. Leave in fridge as long as desired to saturate meat with the flavor (we recommend at least 2 hours), then cook meat as directed. Discard leftover marinade once meat is removed from bag.


Fruit and Pasta Salads. We all know about vinaigrette used on lettuce/green salad, but have you thought of tossing a fruit salad in it? The sweet-and-savory combinations can be quite interesting for the palate. Try pineapple, peach, and melon with a Basil or Rosemary-based vinagrette; or use a sweet oil-and-vinegar pairing for fruit (Blood Orange olive oil with Raspberry balsamic is delicious!). Any savory vinaigrette is great with cold pasta salads too!


Pickling Vegetables. Vinaigrettes are great for pickled veggies, which can then be used to top burgers, grilled chicken, or your other favorite entrees for some extra zing! Heat some of your vinaigrette in a saucepan; toss in chile peppers, red onions, and any other vegetables you like. Cool the mixture and store in a covered glass jar or bowl for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.  


Roasted Veggies. Roasting vegetables is easy and delicious - and adding a bit of dressing just adds to the flavor! After roasting your veggies on the grill, in the oven, or in your broiler, try drizzling your favorite vinaigrette over the top immediately before serving. This works especially well if the vinaigrette has a citrus flavor incorporated (Sicilian Lemon balsamic vinegar, for example). We recommend trying this with roasted asparagus, broccoli, and snap peas!

Improving Sauces. If you've got a store-bought BBQ, pasta, or other sauce (or even salsa!), try adding some vinaigrette to increase the flavor. Just a spoonful is all you need, and voila!