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how to make a french vinaigrette

How to Make a French Vinaigrette: Mixing Oils For Extra Health

How to Make a French Vinaigrette (Even Healthier!): The 3:1 Proportion

 how to make a french vinaigrette

 This picture above is just for fun. Here is what a real vinaigrette looks like:

French vinaigrette

Basic rules on preparing a French vinaigrette:

A French vinaigrette is a oil/vinegar salad dressing or topping for crudités that has ‘rules’ on how it is prepared.

  • First you find something to mix your vinaigrette in. Most French have a bottle they use (an empty oil bottle), or mix the vinaigrette in a small bowl before using.
  • In a time crunch, the super quick method is to add the vinaigrette ingredients directly onto the salad and mix well (but gently) covering all the salad.

The French 3:1 Way: 3 parts oil to 1 parts vinegar

The proportions are 3:1, with oil being the dominate ingredient. Three parts of oil to one part vinegar and a small part (such as one teaspoon) of mustard which is used as the emulsifying agent. The mustard ‘holds’ the oil to the vinegar after it is mixed, because oil and vinegar separate.

For one large green salad prepare three tablespoons of oil to one tablespoon of vinegar.

For a larger batch of vinaigrette to use over a few days prepare 3/4 cup oil to 1/4 cup vinegar.

Add some extras: mustard, shallots, salt, pepper, herbs.

Whisk away and dress your salad. french vinaigrette

Here’s how to add that punch of extra health and taste: mix and match your vinaigrette oils:

Back twenty years ago when I was in grad school, health and media messages were about not eating fat (although olive oil was still back then the #1 health oil). Now eating healthy fat is ‘in’ and accepted.
Don’t be ‘scared’ about the amount of oil that is in a French vinaigrette. Vinaigrette is high in fat, but these are good fats for your body. Substituting vegetable and seed oils for animal fats in your diet is beneficial for overall health.
And by varying the type of vegetable and nut oils you consume, you get that extra punch of good health and nutrition.

Vegetable and Nut Oils Contain Different Nutritional Properties That Our Bodies Need

Vegetable and nut oils contain fatty acids. These essential fatty acids have different chemistry structures and are called polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, saturated, linolenic, linoleic, omega 6, omega 3s.

Depending on the plant or seed, a vegetable or nut oils contain different proportions of different types of fatty acids.

These fatty acids are essential to human health and taken in the right proportions, can bring real health benefits.

What is the right dietary combination for these fatty acids?

The best health move is to increase intake of monounsaturated, omega-3 and linolenic fatty acids.  Polyunsaturated and omega-6 fatty acids are also essential in our diet but a typical diet gets more than sufficient amounts of polyunsatured and omega-6 fatty acids. By mixing and varying an oil that is high in one type of essential fatty acid with one that is high in another type, you pump up your health benefits.

The List of Fatty Acids in Vegetable and Nut Oils

Safflower Oil: high in polyunsaturated and linoleic acids


how to make a french vinaigrette

Canola Oil: contains a good amount of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids

how to make a french vinaigrette

Soybean Oil: has both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids

how to make a french vinaigrette

Walnut Oil:high in polyunsaturated and linolenic fatty acids

how to make a french vinaigrette

Olive Oil:high in monounsaturated fatty acids

how to make a french vinaigrette

Sunflower Oil:high in omega-6

how to make a french vinaigrette

Flaxseed Oil:best source of omega-3 fatty acids

how to make a french vinaigrette

My suggestions on how to mix and match your French vinaigrette oils

By looking at the list above, you can mix oils that are high in one type of fatty acids with one that high in another. I would not mix canola oil with soybean oil or mix walnut with safflower oil, because these oils ‘match’ with each other. Here are my favorite mixes:

  • Olive oil and walnut oil
  • Canola oil and olive oil
  • Flaxseed oil and sunflower oil
  • Soybean oil, safflower oil and olive oil
  • Olive oil, canola and walnut oil (my personal favorite)

Key points to make the healthiest and tastiest French vinaigrette

  • Use a mix of oils and make your vinaigrette in a separate bowl or bottle before dressing the salad
  • Use high quality oils and keep these oils out of direct light
  • A salad is dressed with a vinaigrette. Do not overdose the dose on your salad so that the leaves limp and are too heavy with vinaigrette
  • Try changing or not using the same type of vinegar. My kids like balsamic vinegar because it is sweeter and less acidic than other vinegars, but there is sherry, apple cider and wine vinegars that taste good too.

Last words:

Enjoy your salad with a French 3:1 vinaigrette, like we do here twice a day, we eat salads before lunch and dinner. A twice-a-day salad will help you find satiety and will slow down how much you eat for the main meal, if you are trying to lose weight. A one a day salad is great too! See here for more details: “Eating Salad Before or After a Meal, What is Better for Weight Control?”
Eating a salad or crudités with a French vinaigrette is the way to go!

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7 Responses to How to Make a French Vinaigrette: Mixing Oils For Extra Health

  1. Rocky Valens February 8, 2015 at 16:49 #

    I would like to see more of your recipes for salad dressings to help lose weight and keep it off.

  2. Cassie @ Almost Getting it Together February 4, 2015 at 15:32 #

    I have never mixed oils together but you’ve definitely inspired me to try… French Vinaigrettes are the best!
    Cassie @ Almost Getting it Together recently posted..Uforia Studios Review

    • mbrighton February 4, 2015 at 16:06 #

      Thanks Cassie!

  3. Deanna Segrave-Daly February 4, 2015 at 13:28 #

    I’ve never thought to mix the oils in vinaigrette – great idea for a nutrition and flavor boost. I’m all about the homemade dressing 🙂 (btw – love your new blog header – Jersey Shore??)

    • mbrighton February 4, 2015 at 16:03 #

      Thanks Deanna, I am in the process of retweaking the blog but some of the codes to change colors,etc…are not working! I am not sure it is the Jersey Shore,but it reminds me of it. I love your Wednesday Kitchen Hacks, fantastic idea. I need a new kitchen before I can start hacking! ahah. Take care over there and stay warm.

  4. mbrighton February 3, 2015 at 21:09 #

    Oh Bala! What a great idea, I LOVE that! Thanks for your comment.

  5. Bala February 3, 2015 at 14:07 #

    I like the idea of mixing oils, and am going to try it, Mary – thank you.

    Your “just for fun” picture looks very nice to look at, and I’m thinking if one could just leave it as is on the table for the guests to see, before whipping it in front of them to dress the salad.

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