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Make Your French Vinaigrette Healthier With An Oil Melange

French Vinaigrette, Made Papie Style

C’mon Mom, try (pleeeeease) to make Papie’s vinaigrette.

I wish I could. Papie, my father-in-law and my children’s French grandfather had this secret vinaigrette recipe. I call it secret, but really he just had a special touch that is almost impossible to imitate. He made the most amazing tasting vinaigrette, my kids would devour his salads, steamed vegetables, rice; whatever that vinaigrette touched, they would eat. (not kidding).

He died two years ago this month, and we miss him. My kids still talk about that vinaigrette he used to make and I really regret not writing down his secret recipe. I do know two things: he used high quality organic oils and he mixed them together in the vinaigrette bottle. At the very top of the bottle, the finishing touch, was a small amount of Japanese Tamari organic soy sauce.

What I realized later (light bulb went off) was that because he made his vinaigrette with different oils, it was even healthier than a typical French vinaigrette, because each oil brought something nutritionally to the body. Perhaps I could call his recipe a healthy vinaigrette menage.

Thanks to Papie I now make my vinaigrette that also mixes different oils. It is not as good as his, but the kids like it. We eat salad twice a day, (also helps with my weight control and kids eating more vegetables ) and by dressing the salad with different oils and vinegar, I know we are protecting our health.

Here is how and why to make your own French vinaigrette, the ‘Papie’ way:

First, what is a vinaigrette?

You may think of vinaigrette as just a type of salad dressing that contains oil and vinegar, but official vinaigrette is a French Mother Sauce that has a proportion of three parts oil to one part vinegar. Most people I know use olive oil as their ‘oil of choice’ because as you know, olive oil is high in monounsaturated fats and is one of the healthiest oils to eat. Some cut the proportions of oil to vinegar to half and half (1:1) to cut the amount of fat and calories eaten. This is a good idea too, if you like the taste of this more acidic dressing.

The health reason to vary your vinaigrette oils: vegetable and nut oils contain different nutritional properties

Each vegetable and nut oil contain different types of fats and fatty acids:  ppolyunsaturated, monounsaturated, saturated, linolenic, linoleic, omega 6, omega 3 fatty acids. 

For the most health benefits, the objective is to increase your dietary intake of monounsaturated, omega-3 and linolenic fatty acids.  However, polyunsaturated and omega-6 fatty acids are also an essential part of a healthy diet because a human body can not synthesize these fatty acids and we must get them from our foods.

Mixing and matching your nut and vegetable oils in your vinaigrette dressing is an easy and tasty way to get these essential fatty acids into your diet.

A list of oils and what fatty acids they contain:

  • 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

How to decide on what oils to mix in your vinaigrette:

If you study the list of oils above, you can get an idea of what to mix together to get the highest health benefits. Buy a variety of good quality nut and vegetable oils to vary your vinaigrette melange.

Here are some examples of mixing three oils, one part each of each oil:

  1. olive, flax and walnut oils
  2. canola, walnut, sunflower oils
  3. soybean, oil and sunflower oils
  4. olive, canola and safflower oils

Finally, it is a great idea to sprinkle some different types of nuts and/or seeds on your salads which help add even more essential fats to your eating plan.

The oils I use are not limited to what is available. If you are interested in learning more about the other different nutritional compositions of oils, click on this link here.

Taste should be the main factor with your vinaigrette dressing

If it doesn’t taste good, no one will eat those healthy salads. Experiment with different oil mixes and use a high quality vinegar to add. We use balsamic vinegar because my four kids prefer this sweeter taste. I also like to use sherry and apple cider vinegar.

The finishing touches: the bottle and the soy sauce

To finish the vinaigrette mix like Papie would, you need a glass bottle (he used an empty oil or vinegar bottle) to fill up the oils and vinegar. You can measure the quantities and pour them in the bottle (3:1 oil to vinegar) and add about a tsp. of soy sauce. Shake well and serve on your salads. Papie made his sauce about once a week, and he would shake the bottle to emulsify the vinaigrette each time before serving on the greens. Note that you can add a teaspoon of mustard to the bottle as an emulsifier and for additional taste.

If you have a secret vinaigrette dressing that amazes the crowd, let us know your mix! Would love to try it and share your recipe.

Or if you have reached the end and want to see more, you can subscribe to BrightonYourHealth’s monthly newsletter and article updates. By subscribing, you can download your free 13 page E-report on “How to Eat Like the French Without the Food Snob Attitude.” Click on the link below and join us.

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Thanks for your support! For those following the weight loss series on the blog, (read more here), I would highly recommend you eating a daily or twice a day salad fix for losing weight or keep your weight stable. Don’t worry, these vinaigrettes are high in fat, but they are the type of good fats your body needs.

If you think this article could benefit someone, I greatly appreciate you sharing it using your favorite method below.


french vinaigrette

A salad with French vinaigrette, goat cheese and figs. Perfect first course.

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One Response to Make Your French Vinaigrette Healthier With An Oil Melange

  1. Angus January 8, 2017 at 12:02 #

    Oh, amazing. Trust me, I didn’t know clearly about vinaigrette. You told well that I thought vinaigrette is just a type of salad dressing. After reading this french vinaigrette making article, I knew that vinaigrette is one kind of sauce. O my goodness! I didn’t know it. :p

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