Want a dressing as fresh as your salad? This post will show you the exact steps to whip up an easy balsamic vinaigrette that you’ll want to put on EVERYTHING.
I used to go to a small Italian place specifically for their vinaigrette. Their food was OK, but what really wound me up was the balsamic vinaigrette on their garden salad. What is this, I asked Dustin. It’s so simple but the combination of tangy and slightly seasoned flavor is just…so good! I knew that I had to try and recreate it. I’ll admit, when I first began this process I was getting WAY too fancy. But the more I simplified it, the closer I came to the signature taste.
After much trial and error, I finally got it! And will be sharing this crazy simple, crazy delicious balsamic vinaigrette recipe with you. I’m almost embarrassed to say that it only had 4 ingredients. But once you taste it, I think you’ll agree that simplicity is Queen.
What’s The Difference Between Balsamic Vinegar and Balsamic Vinaigrette?
Balsamic vinegar is one of the main ingredients for a balsamic vinaigrette. After mixing this vinegar with other ingredients (like olive oil, salt & pepper), it can qualify as a true vinaigrette. It’s important to keep this in mind because just pouring some balsamic vinegar on your salad will be super sour and a little disappointing (unless you’re into that kind of thing). So put on your culinary hat and join me in blending up something flavorfully balanced and very tasty.
Are All Store-Bought Balsamic Vinaigrettes Healthy?
Not all store-bought balsamic vinaigrette’s are healthy, and there’s a high chance they contain hidden sugars. But, there are some really good ones out there. Just be sure to take a close look at the nutritional information. Here’s 6 Easy Ways to Spot Hidden Sugars in Foods.
*The only way to be truly aware of what exactly goes into your balsamic vinaigrette is when you make it at home! And my recipe is definitely a more simplified version of most that you’ll find online. You can keep as is, or use it as a base.
What Makes a Quality Balsamic Vinaigrette?
For me, it comes down to the two most important ingredients.
- Good Balsamic Vinegar: The highest quality balsamic is made with only one ingredient (grape) and comes from two major regions in Italy; Modena and Reggio Emilia. I usually look at how long the vinegar has aged, too. 12 years is top notch (but 60 days can make the cut).
- Oil: If you read my blog post on the healthiest oil to cook with you probably know that I always chose olive oil when making high quality salad dressings. For this recipe, I went with a top grade olive oil to ensure my vinaigrette has the rich flavor I love.
Is This Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing Good For Me?
Yes, this balsamic vinaigrette is healthy. Would I share anything that’s not good for you?! Balsamic vinegar alone is packed with various health benefits already. Here’s a rundown:
- It helps manage your cholesterol levels. If you’re trying to lower your cholesterol, make this dressing. Studies show that balsamic vinegar contains antioxidants that help to manage your cholesterol levels.
- It supports a healthy gut: Balsamic vinegar contains probiotics which will promote a healthy digestive system.
- It’s diabetes-friendly: According to a study in 2006, people who consumed balsamic vinegar experienced a blood sugar plateau for up to five hours. This is huge!
- It aids in weight loss: The vinegar family is known to have anti-obesity properties. It contains compounds that make you feel fuller…and it’s also fat-free.
- It helps your cardiovascular system: Because this vinegar is made from grapes, you get the benefits of grapes. (They keep your blood platelets from aggregating and clumping which can prevent heart-related diseases).
What If I Don’t Have Any Balsamic Vinegar At home?
If you don’t have any balsamic vinegar at home, you can quickly whip up a substitute with a few other ingredients. Try combos like apple cider vinegar with honey, plain vinegar with coconut sugar, or lemon juice, molasses and soy sauce.
- Apple Cider Vinegar + Honey: Combine a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with 1 teaspoon of honey. Mix well.
- Vinegar + Coconut Sugar: Mix up five parts vinegar and one part coconut sugar. Heat in a pan over low heat to melt the sugar and let the mixture cool before using.
- Lemon Juice + Molasses + Soy Sauce: Sounds weird? I know! But it makes for a good enough substitute. All you got to do is mix equal parts of these three ingredients.
Is Balsamic Vinaigrette Keto-Friendly?
Unfortunately, balsamic vinaigrette is not generally keto-friendly. Your typical off-the-shelf balsamic vinaigrette actually has around 2 grams of sugar per tablespoon. Which is a lot for people on a keto diet. You could opt for aged balsamic instead because they contain a lower level of sugar. For the Ketos out there, I suggest mixing up a substitution with apple cider vinegar (which has only 0.4 grams of sugar).
How Long Does Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette Last?
This homemade balsamic vinaigrette can last up to a month when refrigerated. Just like anything that’s homemade and without additives, this dressing has a shorter lifespan than anything store bought. But as I mentioned before, you’re going to want to put this on everything and it will go quick.
For best storage, I keep mine in an old fashioned glass milk jar (y’all should know by now how much I love my milk jars)! Any airtight – preferably glass – container will do just fine. Give it a shake each time before using so the oil can blend with the vinegar.
What’s The Best Way to Enjoy This Vinaigrette?
Balsamic Vinaigrette is literally the most versatile dressing there is and you can pour it over so many things; salads, roasted veggies, some fruits. To give you an idea, here are some of my fave recipes that embrace the full flavor of balsamic…
- Honey Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- End Of Summer Salad With Fig Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Apple and Gorgonzola Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Caprese Salad with Garlic Vinaigrette
More Healthy Salad Dressing Recipes
- 5 Healthy Salad Dressing Recipes
- 4 Ingredients Honey Mustard Dressing
- Creamy Avocado Cilantro Lime Dressing
This post contains affiliate links for products I use regularly and highly recommend.
Want a dressing as fresh as your salad? This post will show you the exact steps to whip up an easy balsamic vinaigrette that you'll want to put on EVERYTHING.
- 1/3 cup good quality balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper (adjust to taste)
- 1/4 tsp salt (adjust to taste)
- 1/4 cup good quality olive oil
Pour balsamic vinegar in a small mixing bowl and add salt & black pepper.
Wisk well to blend.
Add the olive oil and continue to wisk.