As temperatures drop and snow flies, I crave colorful food. A favorite source this time of year is frost kissed, tender, baby greens. Their bright leaves are a welcome relief on grey days and their candy-like sweetness keeps me wanting to eat my vegetables. Usually, I eat these winter treats unencumbered with seasonings or dressings so their own flavors shine. However, a good, simple vinaigrette can bring out their more complex flavor, pair down any bitterness, and (bonus!) help us absorb more vitamins.
Making your own vinaigrette is simple and allows you to avoid preservatives, sugar, and thickeners you might find in store bought counterparts. To make, combine your favorite oil (i.e. olive oil), an acid (i.e. lemon juice or vinegar), and seasonings (salt, herbs and/or spices). Homemade vinaigrette will keep for 1-2 weeks in the fridge.
While most commonly used as salad dressings, you can also use vinaigrettes as marinades for roasted veggies or meat. If you’re cooking with a vinaigrette, make sure the oil has the right smoke point for the temperature at which you’ll be cooking.
Tried and True Vinaigrette Combinations
|Oil||Acid||Herbs + Spices||Flavorings|
|Olive Oil||Lemon Juice||Garlic, Salt, Pepper, Savory Herbs (rosemary, sage, etc.)||Dijon Mustard|
|Olive Oil||White Wine Vinegar||Garlic, Salt, Pepper||Dijon Mustard, Honey|
|Olive Oil||Apple Cider Vinegar||Salt||Ginger|
|Avocado or Sesame oil||Rice Wine Vinegar||Soy sauce or GF equivalent, Garlic (to taste)||Honey|
Kelly Wilson, RDN is a registered dietitian and Taste the Local Difference’s Director of Community Partners. Her favorite winter green is baby spinach. Share your favorite winter vegetable tips with her at [email protected].