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French Salad Dressing: A French Vinaigrette for Everyday Salad

french vinaigrette

The Everyday French Kitchen Staple: A Basic Vinaigrette

This recipe is inspired by the Recipe Redux Challenge for this month. If you follow the blog (you can do so here if you wish) you know that each month a bunch of dietitian foodies publish tasty and healthy recipes together on the same day, using the same theme.

I really like this month’s Recipe Redux theme because it is about making a ‘staple’ food with your own recipe, about having a simple DIY staple available in your kitchen, maybe one that you use often, or in the case of my French kitchen staple, one that you use everyday. Keep reading for how to make your own fast and furious salad dressing, rather than buying the store bought version and si te plait, check out my fellow dietitian’s ideas at the end of this article.

French Vinaigrette Salad Dressing


After living in France for more than 12 years, this DIY Kitchen Essential is my cultural addition because it is très French. We eat a ton of green salads, usually starting as the ‘first course’ before lunch and dinner. By starting a meal with healthy greens, everyone benefits, especially the kids!

I think that this DIY kitchen staple, the standard French vinaigrette, tastes better than premade store versions, is better for your health and costs less than the bottled versions. A French Vinaigrette is a 3 to 1 proportion: Three portions of oil to one portion of vinegar.

And if you try to change the proportions on this “Classic French Mother sauce” you are just not tasting real dressing (according to the adopted French in me).

At Our Busy House, Here is How We Make the 3 and 1 Vinaigrette in Less Than 3 Minutes

A trick: Use a tablespoon on top of the salad to measure the oil and vinegar and catch the drips.

french vinaigrette

  1. Have a bowl of salad ready to be dressed 
  2. Choose between 1-3 different oils to use in vinaigrette. (See below for the types of oils to use).
  3. Choose 1 vinegar.
  4.  Measure out 3 Tablespoons of oil directly on the salad.  (Mixing types of oils if you want). 
  5. Sprinkle a small amount of sea salt or salt onto the salad. 
  6. Measure out one Tablespoon of vinegar onto the salad. 
  7. Mix salad and serve immediately.

You can also make a larger portion of vinaigrette ahead and keep it in a bottle. Then when you are ready to ‘dress’ the salad, you shake up the bottle and put a portion onto the salad.

A few last words on oils:

By mixing and experimenting with taste using different oils you will ensure your health gets the best advantages!   For overall benefits, the ideal is to increase intake of monounsaturated, Omega-3 and linolenic fatty acids.  These oils are olive, canola, flax seed and walnut oils. But even polyunsaturated and Omega-6 fatty acids are also essential in our diet. Our bodies can not make these fatty acids on our own and weed to get it from our foods. 

Mixing and matching your nut and vegetable oils in your dressing is a great way to get these essential fatty acids.

Here are suggestions for a mix and match oils in your French style vinaigrette:

  • Safflower:  high in polyunsaturated and linoleic acids
  • Canola oil:  contains a good amount of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids
  • Soybean oil:  has both Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids
  • Walnut:  high in polyunsaturated and linolenic fatty acids
  • Olive oil:  high in monounsaturated fatty acids
  • Sunflower oil:  high in Omega-6 
  • Flax-seed oil:  best source of Omega-3 fatty acids

For taste and health reasons, we like to add three different oils to each mix.  Usually walnut oil is one basic we use often, as well as olive oil.  The taste of canola oil is one my kids like, so we also put this the mix.

Last word to you all: This is only my instinct, but I believe that eating our twice daily salads with a real French vinaigrette style dressing, mixing the oils and vinegars really has been one of the reasons that we all stay quite healthy. A diet high in vegetable and nut oils is the Mediterranean touch (and super healthy)!

I hope you enjoy this DIY kitchen staple for French vinaigrette. If you have reached the end and want to see more recipes like this, you can subscribe to BrightonYourHealth monthly newsletter and article updates by clicking on the button below. Your email will always remain private.

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Warmly, Mary


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2 Responses to French Salad Dressing: A French Vinaigrette for Everyday Salad

  1. Sonya May 24, 2015 at 18:36 #

    This is fantastic! I was going to make a vinaigrette for lunch today. I was doing a lot of research yesterday about fats (the good and the bad) and was really interested to read your education description of the different types of oils. Thanks!

    • mbrighton May 25, 2015 at 12:56 #

      Dear Sonya,
      Thanks so much for your comment and support. So appreciate it! Glad you found the fat research helpful, it is true that a diet higher in a good balance of fatty acids helps to stay healthy. Bisous!

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