How to Make a French Vinaigrette (Even Healthier!): The 3:1 Proportion
This picture above is just for fun. Here is what a real vinaigrette looks like:
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.
Here’s how to add that punch of extra health and taste: mix and match your vinaigrette oils:
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
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 Oil:high in polyunsaturated and linolenic fatty acids
Olive Oil:high in monounsaturated fatty acids
Sunflower Oil:high in omega-6
Flaxseed Oil:best source of omega-3 fatty acids
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.
If you have reached the end and want to read more stories like this, why not subscribe to BrightonYourHealth’s monthly newsletter and article updates? By subscribing, you can download your free E-report on “How to Eat Like the French Without a Food Snob Attitude.”