Late-summer vinaigrette

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Late-summer vinaigrette

Late summer is the perfect time to enjoy fresh and vibrant salads, and what better way to elevate your salad than with a homemade vinaigrette? In this article, we will guide you through the process of making a delicious late-summer vinaigrette that will take your salads to the next level. We will cover the ingredients, instructions, and even some variations that you can try. So grab your apron and let’s get started!


To make the late-summer vinaigrette, you will need the following ingredients:

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Vinegar
  • Honey or maple syrup
  • Dijon mustard
  • Garlic
  • Fresh herbs
  • Salt
  • Pepper

These ingredients are essential for creating a well-balanced vinaigrette that combines tanginess, sweetness, and a depth of flavor. Let’s take a closer look at each ingredient and its role in the vinaigrette.

Extra virgin olive oil

Choosing the right oil is crucial for a delicious vinaigrette. Opt for a good quality extra virgin olive oil that is fruity and robust. This will add a smooth and rich mouthfeel to your dressing, as well as a distinct flavor that complements the other ingredients.

Apart from its flavor, extra virgin olive oil also offers several health benefits. It is rich in monounsaturated fats, which are known to promote heart health. Additionally, olive oil is a good source of antioxidants and contains anti-inflammatory properties.

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If you don’t have extra virgin olive oil on hand, you can use other oils such as avocado oil or walnut oil as substitutes. However, keep in mind that the flavor profile will be slightly different.

Late-summer vinaigrette


Vinegar provides the acid component in the vinaigrette, which gives it a tangy and bright taste. There are various types of vinegar to choose from, including white wine vinegar, red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, and balsamic vinegar.

Each type of vinegar has its own unique flavor profile. For a more delicate and subtle taste, white wine vinegar is a great option. If you prefer a deeper and richer flavor, you can go for balsamic vinegar. Experiment with different vinegars to find the one that suits your preference.

If you don’t have vinegar available, you can also use alternative acids such as lemon juice or lime juice. These citrus juices will add a refreshing and zesty touch to your vinaigrette.

Honey or maple syrup

To balance out the tanginess of the vinegar, a touch of sweetness is needed. Honey or maple syrup are excellent options for achieving this balance. Both ingredients provide a natural sweetness that enhances the overall flavor of the vinaigrette.

If you prefer a milder and more floral sweetness, honey is the way to go. On the other hand, maple syrup offers a richer and more robust sweetness that pairs well with savory ingredients. You can adjust the amount of honey or maple syrup based on your personal taste preference.

Late-summer vinaigrette

Dijon mustard

Dijon mustard plays a crucial role in creating a creamy and emulsified vinaigrette. It acts as an emulsifier, helping to bind the oil and vinegar together. Additionally, Dijon mustard adds a hint of tanginess and complexity to the dressing.

If you do not have Dijon mustard available, you can use other types of mustard as substitutes. However, keep in mind that the flavor might differ slightly. Yellow mustard or stone-ground mustard can be good alternatives.


Adding garlic to the vinaigrette gives it a bold and aromatic flavor. Garlic adds a savory element to the dressing and complements the other ingredients perfectly. You can use minced garlic or garlic paste to infuse the vinaigrette with its distinctive taste.

If you prefer a milder garlic flavor, you can lightly toast the garlic before adding it to the dressing. This will mellow out the sharpness and create a more subtle garlic taste.

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Alternatively, if you do not enjoy the taste of raw garlic, you can use garlic powder or roasted garlic as alternatives. These options provide a different flavor profile while still adding a touch of garlic goodness.

Late-summer vinaigrette

Fresh herbs

Fresh herbs are an excellent way to add brightness and freshness to your vinaigrette. You can choose herbs like basil, parsley, cilantro, or dill, depending on your preference. Finely chop the herbs and fold them into the vinaigrette to infuse it with their fragrant flavors.

Experiment with different combinations of herbs to create unique and personalized vinaigrettes. Herbs not only add flavor but also bring a vibrant green color to your dressing, making it visually appealing.


Salt is an essential component of any good dressing. It enhances the flavors of the other ingredients and adds depth to the vinaigrette. Use a pinch of salt to season your dressing, and be sure to taste and adjust as needed. Sea salt or kosher salt works well in vinaigrettes, but you can use table salt if that’s what you have on hand.

Late-summer vinaigrette


Freshly ground black pepper adds a subtle kick and complexity to the vinaigrette. It balances the flavors and enhances the overall taste. Use a mill or grinder to grind the peppercorns just before adding them to the dressing, as this ensures maximum freshness and potency.

Now that we have covered all the ingredients, let’s move on to the instructions for making the late-summer vinaigrette.


To make the late-summer vinaigrette, follow these step-by-step instructions:

Mixing the base

In a small bowl or jar, combine 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil and 2 tablespoons of vinegar. This forms the base of the vinaigrette. Whisk or shake vigorously to blend the oil and vinegar together.

Adding the acid

Next, add 1 tablespoon of honey or maple syrup to the mixture. This balances out the acid from the vinegar and adds a touch of sweetness. Whisk or shake again to incorporate the sweetener into the base.

Incorporating sweetener

Now it’s time to add 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard. This not only adds creaminess but also acts as an emulsifier to bind the oil and vinegar together. Whisk or shake once more to ensure everything is well combined.

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Emulsifying the dressing

To achieve a smooth and well-emulsified dressing, continue whisking or shaking until the vinaigrette has a consistent texture. This ensures that all the ingredients meld together to create a cohesive and flavorful dressing.

Enhancing with herbs

Add 1-2 tablespoons of freshly chopped herbs to the dressing. This adds a burst of freshness and aromatic notes. Stir gently to distribute the herbs throughout the vinaigrette.

Seasoning with salt and pepper

Finally, season the vinaigrette with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Taste the dressing and adjust the seasoning as needed. Remember, you can always add more salt or pepper, but it’s best to start with a little and increase gradually.

Congratulations! You’ve successfully made a delicious late-summer vinaigrette. Now, let’s explore some variations that you can try to personalize your dressing even further.

Late-summer vinaigrette


Citrus vinaigrette

For a refreshing and tangy twist, substitute the vinegar with fresh citrus juice, such as lemon or lime. This adds a bright and zesty flavor that pairs well with salads containing fruits or seafood.

Balsamic vinaigrette

If you prefer a deeper and richer flavor, replace the vinegar with balsamic vinegar. Balsamic vinaigrette is slightly sweeter and has a more pronounced taste. It complements salads that feature ingredients like roasted vegetables, goat cheese, or nuts.

Herb-infused vinaigrette

To take the herbaceous notes to another level, infuse the vinaigrette with even more fresh herbs. Place a handful of herbs, such as basil or parsley, in a blender or food processor with the other vinaigrette ingredients. Blend until smooth and strain if desired.

Fruit-based vinaigrette

Add a fruity twist to your vinaigrette by incorporating pureed fruits. Choose fruits like berries, peaches, or even mangoes. Puree the fruits and blend them with the other dressing ingredients for a sweet and tangy dressing that complements salads with a hint of sweetness.

Creamy vinaigrette

For a luscious and creamy dressing, whisk in 1-2 tablespoons of Greek yogurt or mayonnaise into the vinaigrette. This adds a velvety texture and brings a rich and indulgent taste to your salads. Be sure to adjust the other ingredients to maintain the balance of flavors.

With these variations, you can get creative and customize your vinaigrette to suit your taste preferences and the ingredients in your salad.

In conclusion, making a late-summer vinaigrette is a simple and rewarding process that elevates any salad to a whole new level of deliciousness. With the right combination of ingredients and a dash of creativity, you can create a dressing that perfectly complements the flavors of your salad. So grab your favorite salad ingredients, whip up a batch of vinaigrette, and enjoy the fresh and vibrant flavors of late summer.