Within the span of two days, I’d seen salads dressed with cilantro lime vinaigrette on two different restaurant menus. When I needed to make a vinaigrette for our salad, I checked my fridge and wouldn’t you know, I had cilantro and lime.
I tasted one of those restaurant vinaigrettes and thought I could do better — and I think I did. I love the bright, tanginess of this dressing.
My style of vinaigrette might not be your style. I like a very tart vinaigrette. Even though I was trained in the classic French style of a 3 to 1 ratio of oil to acid, I’ve never been a fan of that ratio. It’s too oily and has no “bite.”
I use a 2 to 1 ratio. So for 1/4 cup of acid, I’m using 1/2 cup of oil. This is especially important when using mild acids, like rice wine vinegar. And lime juice. I have a couple other tips for the perfect vinaigrette, regardless of the oil and acid you use.
Gwen’s vinaigrette tips:
- Add mustard (like Dijon) for flavor & binding.
- Add sweetness to balance the tart (like honey, sugar, or maple syrup).
- Use a blender or Vitamix for a rockstar emulsified vinaigrette.
- Fresh herbs are secret weapons, especially mint.
- Garlic and/or onion add layers of flavors.
- Always blend the acid with all the other ingredients EXCEPT the oil first.
- With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the oil (olive, canola, walnut, etc).
- Always, always taste the vinaigrette with something from the salad like a piece of lettuce. Otherwise you’ll think the vinaigrette is too tart. It will mellow when combined with salad ingredients.
The vinaigrette will keep, if refrigerated, for up to 5 days. It’s not just a dressing, though. Use it as a sauce for mild white fish or chicken. Or use it to brighten up a turkey sandwich. It’s a versatile condiment.
And if you’re feeling fancy, pour the vinaigrette in a cruet for serving.
- Zest of 1 lime
- 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh cilantro (leaves & stems)
- 1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh mint leaves
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 small scallion (white & light green parts) thinly sliced
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup olive or canola oil
- Place all ingredients (in the order listed) EXCEPT for the oil in a blender.
- Blend on medium high speed until smooth.
- With the motor running, slowly pour in the oil until it’s all incorporated.
- Taste and adjust seasonings.
- Will keep, refrigerated, for up to 5 days.