Oxbow Farm & Conservation Center

Basic Vinaigrette Dressing

This is a bare-bones recipe for the simple all-purpose vinaigrette, which you will vary as you wish. Its beauty lies solely in the quality of your ingredients. Note that you will so often see proportions of 1 part vinegar to 3 parts oil, but that can make very vinegary vinaigrette. I use the proportions of a very dry martini, since you can always add more vinegar or lemon but you can’t take it out. From Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom, by Julia Child


  • 1/2 T finely minced shallot or scallion (or spring garlic)
  • 1/2 T Dijon-type mustard
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 T wine vinegar
  • 1/3 - 1/2 C excellent olive oil (or other fine, fresh oil)
  • freshly ground pepper

  • Either shake all the ingredients together in a screw-topped jar, or mix them individually as follows: Stir the shallots or scallions together with the mustard and salt. Whisk in the lemon juice and vinegar, and when well blended start whisking in the oil by droplets to form a smooth emulsion. Beat in freshly ground pepper. Taste (dip a piece of the salad greens into the sauce) and correct seasoning with salt, pepper, and/or drops of lemon juice.

  • Yield: about 2/3 cup