DIY Vinaigrette

1 Jun, 2018 | Editorials

What’s Vinaigrette?

Simply: a concoction of vinegar and oil for dressing. Its used in a endless number of salads. Dating back to the Roman period, it is also now used not only to dress vegetables, but also meats and seafood.

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Golden Formula & Ratio

Figure out out the flavour you want out of your vinaigrette then apply the formula below to accomplish it!

Perfect Vinaigrette = 75% Fat + 25% Vinegars + Toppings + Seasoning

Mix and Match the combinations of different fat, acids, toppings and seasoning to make whatever you like!


No, I don’t mean that kind of fat – what I truly meant was oil. The most common use of oil (in dressings) is olive oil (and its varieties). However, you can use different types of oils to mix into flavours.

Some of my top oils are:

  • Rounded: Olive Oil (Virgin, Extra Virgin)
  • Neutral: Grapeseed Oil
  • Nutty: Sesame, Macadamia, Walnut Oil

But why limit yourself to store bought oils? You could also try:

  • Rendered Fat Trimmings (bacon fat, duck fat, excess clarified oil off roasting vegetables) *this is a little unhealthy though!
  • Clarified Butter
  • Infused flavoured oils (chilli oil, sundried tomato oil, anchovy oil, this list is endless.)

There is nothing wrong with using plain old vegetable oil to make a vinaigrette. Though it might make a bland flavour profile – so you had better infused the oil or boost them toppings.

I love to use infused oils to make create subtle flavours that confuse the palate.


Now there plenty of different types of vinegars in the market, however, these are some of my top picks:

  • Standard: White Distilled, White Wine, Red Wine
  • Malty: Sherry, Malt, Rice
  • Sweet: Balsamic, Apple Cider

We can often replace the vinegar with different citrus (ala Jamie Oliver), like: lime, lemons, oranges, mandarins, grapefruit. Though lime and lemons are often the most common.

To be honestly fair, I use white wine, red wine and balsamic the most!
If you want to have a ‘stronger’ vinegar flavour, you can reduce the vinegar over the stove for a strong concentration. I often do this with white/red wine vinegar.
 Remember to use the citrus peel (you can microplane it in) to give you an added flavour boost!


Toppings are essential flavour boosters to accompany the food that its suppose to dress. I’ve classified them here.

  • Mustards: Dijon, Hot, Whole Grain
  • Herbs: Rosemary, Thyme, Basil, Coriander, Fennel, Lemon Myrtle, Mint, Oregano, Parsley, Sage, Tarragon, Marjoram
  • Spices: Pepper, Smoked Paprika, Chilli, Allspice, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Cumin, Dried Coriander, Curry
  • Aromatics: Garlic, Chives, Chillies, Ginger, Salt, Capers, Gherkins, Spring Onions

There are many more different toppings, these are just my favourites.


Perhaps the best way to illustrate how it all works is to put it into practice. Let’s start with the basics:

Base Recipe: (1 Serve) – The building block of any yummy vinaigrette

  • 75mls Olive Oil (Oil Component)
  • 25mls White Vinegar (Sour Component)
  • Salt & Black Pepper (Seasoning)

Now let’s hit it up a notch with French Classic – which has the heat of dijon mustard included.

Classic French Styled: (1 Serve) 

  • 75mls Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 25mls Reduced White Wine Vinegar
  • Salt & Black Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon Mustard (Toppings)
  • 1 small Shallot (finely chopped) 

Move over France, time to get a little more herbed up and richer with a Italian version:

Classic Italian Style: (1 Serve)

  • 75mls Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 25mls Red Wine Vinegar
  • Salt & Black Pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Garlic (minced)
  • 1/4 tsp Oregano
  • 1/4 tsp Basil

Here’s another way we could tweak it to be more ‘asian’:

Asian Inspired Vinaigrette: (1 Serve)

  • 70mls Grapeseed Oil
  • 5mls Sesame Oil
  • 12.5mls Lime Juice
  • 12.5mls Rice Vinegar
  • 5mls Fish Sauce
  • Pinch of White Pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Garlic (minced)
  • 1/4 tsp Kaffir Lime (finely chopped)
  • 1/4 tsp Lemongrass (finely chopped)
  • 1/4 tsp Chilli (finely chopped)
  • 1/4 tsp Sugar

All these recipes adhere to the formula and the golden ration of oil and vinegar – it’s just messing around with different type of fat, sours and toppings!


So imagine the flavours you want (though it might take some practice) – and balance! So stop paying for expensive, bland supermarket dressing and create your own. Good luck and as always have fun!

– Chef Gary, D’Open Kitchen