This Lemon + Shallot Vinaigrette is a staple in my kitchen. It’s bright, versatile, and adds a punch of flavor to endless savory dishes. Homemade salad dressing is simpler to make than you’d think, and once you try it you’ll never go back to the store bought stuff. I make this recipe once a week and enjoy it on salads, grain bowls, roasted vegetables, grilled proteins, poached eggs and toast, and even as a marinade. Plus, if I have this dressing and greens in my fridge, I’m about two minutes away from a healthyish and flavorful dish without having to think about it. Scale this recipe up or down depending on what you plan to use it for. As is, this recipe yields enough dressing for a salad with 8-12oz of greens, depending on how heavy handed you are with additional toppings. My go-to way to enjoy this dressing is on top of crunchy romaine or little gem lettuce with leftover roasted chicken, roasted cherry tomatoes, and goat cheese.
I prefer a punchier and more acidic dressing for added flavor, and particularly using fresh citrus so I can use the citrus zest. Here, the first step of the recipe is to let diced shallots, lemon zest and juice, Dijon mustard, and salt sit together for 10 minutes. This step, also known as “macerating”, mellows out the raw bite of the shallot and almost pickles them, which makes every bite so delicious. As always, I’m sharing tons of ways you can riff and swap in this recipe to make it work for you. Be sure to check out the riffs section underneath the recipe for these tips!
- 2 tablespoons finely diced shallot (about 1 small shallot, use less if you want a subtler flavor)
- 2 ½ teaspoons lemon zest (about the zest of 1 small lemon)
- 3 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (about the juice of 1 small lemon)
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- optional: 1 teaspoon honey
- optional: 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar for added punchiness (add this in first step if going that route)
- Kosher salt
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- Combine diced shallot, lemon zest and juice, dijon and a generous pinch of kosher salt in a medium sized mixing bowl. Whisk to combine, and let sit for 10 minutes to macerate.
- Gradually whisk in olive oil until combined (aka: emulsified). You can also do this by shaking up all ingredients in a jar with a tight seal, though whisking is my preferred method!
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
A FEW NOTES ON RIFFS:
- The Oil: Extra virgin olive oil is your friend in this recipe – it lends a welcome grassy and fresh note. If you want to switch it up, the toasted walnut oil from La Tourangelle is also insanely delicious. Steer clear of more neutral tasting oils, such as avocado oil, canola oil, or grape seed oil, since we do want flavor from the oil here.
- The Citrus + Acid: Swap in orange or grapefruit zest and juice in place of lemon. If you don’t have citrus on hand, use vinegar! Red wine vinegar, balsamic, apple cider vinegar, and champagne vinegar are all fabulous.
- The Shallot: Don’t like shallots? Leave ’em out! Don’t have shallots but have red onion? Use that instead! I also love swapping garlic grated on a microplane in place of shallot here.
- The Sweetness: Swap in date syrup, pomegranate molasses, or maple syrup in place of honey.
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