Vinaigrette Matrix

IMG_0864Cook’s notes: I am fairly obsessed with making my own salad dressing and often browse recipes and instructions on this topic. The Best Recipe: Small Batch Italian Dressing post has several notes about ratios and emulsifying. I recently found a terrific recipe for a sweeter apple cider vinaigrette, which is perfect on a salad with mixed greens, carrots, and sliced apples. And I still love the Best recipe: Small Batch Balsamic-Rosemary Vinaigrette with rosemary.

I’ve pulled the recipes for these three dressings, the ones I rely on the most, into the matrix below. Read the linked posts for more details.

First, pick which type of vinegar you want to use, and then follow the grid:

Apple Cider Balsamic Red Wine Amount
Oil 2.5 2 3 Tablespoons
Vinegar 2 1 1 Tablespoons
Lemon juice 1 None None Tablespoons
Honey 1.5 None 1/2 teaspoons
Mustard 1.5 1 1 teaspoons
Garlic powder 1/2 1 1/4 teaspoons
Salt 1/8 1/8 1/8 teaspoons
Pepper 1/4 1/8 1/4 teaspoons
Dried herbs None 3/8 1/4 teaspoons

Best recipe: Small Batch Balsamic-Rosemary Vinaigrette

Best small batch vinaigrette

Best small batch vinaigrette

Cook’s notes: The original version was broadcast on the Splendid Table program (link). Designer Isaac Mizrahi gave an entertaining interview, but his recipe just calls for herbs. As host Lynne Rossetto Kasper pointed out, you could use any combination of herbs and vinegar. The suggestion to combine balsamic with rosemary comes from several sources.

More importantly, this is an amazing balsamic vinaigrette that you can make fresh right before dinner. It’s so good, we were tempted to sip it. The 2:1 ratio of oil to vinegar was terrific (a lot of dressings call for 3 parts of oil). This recipe is going to be in heavy rotation at our house.

Makes 2 servings (about 4 Tablespoons total).

1 clove garlic
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon spicy brown mustard
1/8 teaspoon each salt and black pepper
3/8 teaspoon dried rosemary
Optional: 1/16 teaspoon sugar

Prepare garlic with the “press and rest” method: run the garlic clove through a garlic press and let it sit for 10 minutes.

Combine all ingredients in a small container with a tight-fitting lid. Shake vigorously until well-mixed. Taste and add sugar for balance if needed.

Marinated Mushroom Tortellini Salad

Cook’s notes: Yes, I know, another tortellini salad on this site. But this one takes advantage of the olive bar and has a great red wine vinaigrette dressing. My favorite grocery store stocks the boxed, dried tortellini, instead of bags of frozen tortellini.

9 oz box tortellini
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved.
12 oz bag fresh broccoli florets (the “steam in bag” type)
1 cup (1/2 large) yellow bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup orange bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/3 cup green olives, diced
1 cup marinated mushrooms, halved
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Red Wine Vinaigrette Dressing
1 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

Cook to tortellini according to package directions. Drain it.

Prepare the vegetables while the tortellini cooks: Steam the broccoli. Lightly sauté the pepper and carrots in a large skillet. Slice the olives and mushrooms.

Combine the vinaigrette dressing ingredients in a lid with a jar. Secure the lid, and shake well to combine.

Combine the drained tortellini, vegetables, and cheese in a large bowl. Pour about 1 cup of the dressing over the salad, and stir well to combine (you will have dressing left).

Refrigerate overnight. Add more vinaigrette to taste the next day when serving.