A classic basic French shallot vinaigrette with several options for the acid (vinegar) used, this is a perfect standard recipe for any salad. Never buy salad dressing again!

Serve this over a simple green salad, warm potato salad, rainbow salad, or lunch-perfect grain salad. It's the perfect base for anything and can be added to to suit your tastes. See more on this below.

Shallot vinaigrette on a green salad with pink radish slices.
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Ingredients

With such simple ingredients, there's no reason not to make your vinaigrette fresh at home. Stick to a ratio of 1 part acid to 3 parts oil.

Shallot vinaigrette ingredients with labels.

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Oil: this should be a good quality extra-virgin olive oil.
  • Shallot: if you can't get shallots, substitute a small amount of very finely diced red onion.
  • Herbs: optional, but delicious. I like soft herbs like dill, chives, tarragon, and basil.
  • Lemon: see below for variations, as this is just one option of many.

How to Make a French Vinaigrette

Basic vinaigrette steps 1 to 4.

Step 1: add everything but the herbs to a jar and mix to combine.

Step 2: add the finely chopped herbs, if using.

Step 3: shake or whisk again to combine.

Step 4: mix until emulsified, then serve or store for later.

Top Tips

  • Mix with any method: use a fork or whisk, shake in a jar, or even use an immersion blender or mini chopper. I like to use a jar because then it's already in an easy-to-store container.
  • Increase the recipe: if you eat a lot of salad and want to have extra vinaigrette for the full week, simply increase the recipe and keep it in the fridge. Keep the ratio in mind: one part acid, three parts oil.
  • Make sure it's emulsified: the vinaigrette is ready when it's slightly thickened and the oil and acid have combined, a type of partial emulsification. It will separate again over time, but can be mixed again to combine.

How to Store

Keep the mixed vinaigrette in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a week. The oil might thicken when chilled, but will quickly become liquid again at room temperature. Shake again before using.

Variations

Use any of the acid options listed below to suit your preference or what you have on hand. Also try adding garlic, mustard, or herbs as outlined in the recipe card.

  • Apple cider vinegar 
  • Red wine vinegar 
  • Champagne vinegar 
  • Balsamic vinegar 
  • Lemon juice
  • Herbal infused vinegar

FAQ

How long does shallot vinaigrette last in the fridge?

This should last for up a week, in a sealed container in a cold fridge.

What is the difference between salad dressing and vinaigrette?

A vinaigrette is always oil based, and a dressing is typically made with creamy ingredients like yogurt, sour cream, or buttermilk.

Which vinegar is best for vinaigrette?

This depends entirely on you, and what you like the most. Lemon juice is the mildest option, red wine vinegar is quite sharp, balsamic is a little sweet, and so on. It'll also depend on what you're serving it with– think of how the flavours will match each other.

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Recipe

Shallot vinaigrette on a green salad with pink radish slices.
Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Basic Shallot Vinaigrette

A classic basic French shallot vinaigrette with several options for the acid (vinegar) used, this is a perfect standard recipe for any salad. Never buy salad dressing again!
Prep Time5 minutes
Total Time5 minutes
Servings: 16 tablespoons

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup olive oil extra virgin
  • ¼ cup lemon juice or vinegar try apple cider, balsamic, or red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

  • Add the ingredients to a jar with a lid or a bowl. Shake or whisk until well combined and emulsified.
    ¾ cup olive oil, ¼ cup lemon juice or vinegar, ½ teaspoon sea salt, ⅛ teaspoon black pepper, 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • Taste and season to your preference, then serve over any salad or other dish as desired.
  • Store the vinaigrette in the fridge, sealed, for up to one week. Shake again before using.

Notes

Optional: add 1 minced clove of garlic, 1 teaspoon grainy mustard, or 2 tablespoons of minced soft herbs.

Nutrition

Serving: 1tablespoon | Calories: 49kcal

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