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Basic Balsamic Vinaigrette

Growing up I absolutely hated vinegar and greens. I didn’t like the bitterness of the greens and the well, vinegar-yness of vinegar were not my favorite. I think perhaps in the vinegar’s case it was because of the fact that my Grandmother couldn’t bring herself to buy the good stuff. Now I am an absolute vinegar and balsamic addict. My favorite happens to be from Trader Joes but any of your favorite balsamic will work in this basic vinaigrette.

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Salad dressing in a bottle is a sham. I mean, yes, it’s easy. . . but how hard is it to mix up some vinegar and olive oil in a bowl? I shocked some co-workers recently when I brought some homemade vinegarette in a nifty Pampered Chef Vinegarette mixer/pourer (thanks Mom!)  and everyone went crazy! I guess they thought that making your own salad dressing was difficult, but it really takes no more time then breaking the seal on your favorite bottle of Kraft.

This is my favorite dressing for any kind of salad. I could probably eat it over pasta or bread it is THAT delicious. You will have to determin how much sweetness you want to your dressing depending on what’s in your salad. This is fabulous over beets, with goat cheese, with greens, etc. etc. It even dresses up plain jane iceberg!

Generally we are advised that a vinegarette should be 3/1 oil to vinegar. I prefer mine a little more tangy (and save on calories) but making it more 2/1. You can make as much of this dressing as you like–TASTE AS YOU GO! It should be to your tastes. Also, as Ina Garten always says, keep in mind that you are seasoning a lot of greens/salad toppings to season generously.

Balsamic Vinegarette

2 TBS extra virgin olive oil (your favorite!)

1 TBS balsamic vinegar

1 tsp dijon mustard

1 pinch sugar (or 1 tsp honey)

salt and pepper to taste

1. Place balsamic, sugar or honey in the bottom of your bowl with mustard.

2. Get your favorite fork, whisk, spoon, etc and begin mixing as you drizzle in your olive oil. This should become a cohesive thick mixture.

4. Season with salt and pepper.  Dress your favorite salad!

Makes enough for 1 big salad. Stores beautifully covered in the fridge.

Variation: You can substitute the vinegar with whatever you like. This is delicious with lemon juice, red wine vinegar (more of an Italian style dressing), or even lime juice. The sugar/honey is really essential to balance out the flavors. You can also add things like minced garlic, shallot, etc. Have fun with it!

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