Food Markets,  How to/ Basics,  Recipes

How to Make a Basic Vinaigrette

Saturday mornings there’s a decent-sized Farmer’s Market in Pasadena, CA. It’s been a while since I’ve been there, but I went this past weekend. I have to say it puts my local market (which is barely one step above mini swap meet) to shame. Really, the assortment of vegetables was impressive.

I ending up buying 4 different colors of tomatoes, strawberries, pea shoots, fresh eggs, fuji apples, and baby lettuces, all local, all farm fresh. It was hard not to buy more, but I really didn’t want anything to go to waste.

I’ve been thinking about doing a post on how to make a basic vinaigrette for a while. I always make my own dressings and can’t even remember the last time I bought a bottled dressing. It’s so easy, if you’ve never done it before, you’ll be surprised.

My “house” dressing is a Pesto Vinaigrette. This is my “go-to” dressing that works on almost any salad. I always have pesto on hand because I usually grow a lot of basil in the summer and then make batches of pesto and freeze it to use throughout the year. Usually, I make some without cheese and pine nuts to use in dressings and other things, choosing to add the nuts and cheese later if desired.

The basic vinaigrette ratio is 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar. Use more oil if you like a less tart/tangy vinaigrette.
Here is where you can have fun with it:
Choose any kind of oil you like (olive oil, canola, walnut, etc) and any kind of vinegar (champagne, red wine, blueberry, whatever) and go to town. Mix and match to your pleasure. You can also add other ingredients like pesto,  mustard, or fresh or dried herbs. The possibilities are endless.

Sliced shallot, left. Ingredients; pesto, shallots, oil and vinegar in jar, right.

I’ve found that the easiest way to mix up the vinaigrette is to put it in a small jar and shake it. That way, if you don’t use all of it, you can just put the lid on it, put it in the refrigerator and use the rest at another time. It’s likely so separate and solidify when cold, so take it out of the refrigerator a few minutes before you want to use it and let it loosen up.

Pesto Vinaigrette:

How to make basil pesto vinaigrette.
Prep Time10 minutes
Total Time10 minutes
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: American
Keyword: dressing, pesto, vinaigrette
Servings: 5 ounces


  • 3 oz Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 oz White Wine Vinegar I used a White Balsamic
  • 1/2 each sliced shallot
  • 1 Tbsp Pesto Sauce
  • salt and cracked black pepper to taste


  • Put all ingredients in a jar and screw the lid on tight. Shake. If you don't have a jar, put the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together.
Before shaking, and after.

After I got home from the Farmer’s Market I decided to make a simple salad of tomatoes and pea shoots. Chopped up the tomatoes, threw in a handful of pea shoots, and dressed it with a couple of tablespoons of vinaigrette. It was “Spring” on a plate (photo at top of page).


Make my day! Leave a comment.