Creamy Dressing Base & Simple Vinaigrette Techniques

Welcome to Vinaigrette 101!

Push your store bought dressings to the back of the shelf and make your own delicious vinaigrettes using these quick and easy base recipes, then try our suggested variations … or come up with your own!

Creamy Dressings

Lighten up even the most decadent creamy dressings with a simple combination of light mayo, Greek yogurt, and a few flavorful additions.  Try yours as a dip, or in chicken or potato salads.

Creamy Dressing Base Recipe


  • ¼ cup light mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup low-fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 TB warm water
  • 1 TB lemon juice or vinegar
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • pinch kosher salt


  1. Whisk together or process in a small food processor.  
  2. Yields ½ cup – 8, 1 TB servings

Try adding other ingredients to make these creamy dressing variations:


  • 1 tsp anchovy paste
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ tsp Dijon mustard

Garlic Ranch

  • swap lemon juice for cider vinegar
  • add 1 TB minced dill, 1 TB minced parsley

Parmesan Peppercorn

  • swap lemon juice for white balsamic vinegar
  • Add ¼ tsp coarse crushed peppercorns, 2 TB grated parmesan 

French Tarragon

  • swap lemon juice for champagne vinegar
  • Add 1 TB minced tarragon, 1 tsp Dijon vinegar

Classic Vinaigrettes

Just a little chicken or veggie broth is the trick to getting your vinaigrette to spread the flavor over every bite. Thickeners like honey or mustard give it a rich, smooth consistency. You can also use vinaigrettes as tenderizing marinades for chicken, pork, or steak.

Classic Red Wine Vinaigrette Base Recipe


  • 2 TB red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 3 TB low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tsp honey
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 2 ½ TB olive oil
  • 2 TB minced shallots


  1. Whisk together vinegar, mustard, water, honey, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl.  Slowly drizzle in olive oil, whisking constantly, until mixture is thick and creamy.  Stir in shallots.
  2. Yields ½ cup or 8, 1TB servings

To make Red Wine Vinaigrette variations, try adding different ingredient combinations.

Greek Red Wine Vinaigrette 

  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 TB minced fresh dill

Maple Balsamic

  • Swap balsamic vinegar for red wine vinegar, and maple syrup instead of honey
  • Add 1 TB chopped fresh basil

Chinese Rice Wine Vinaigrette

  • Swap rice vinegar instead of red wine vinegar and sesame oil instead of olive oil.  
  • Add 1 tsp minced garlic and 1 tsp minced ginger.

Champagne Vinaigrette

  • Swap champagne vinegar instead of red wine vinegar
  • Add 1 TB chopped fresh tarragon

Veggie or Fruit Based Vinaigrettes

Add amazing flavor and body to salad dressings with puréed veggies and fruit. These vinaigrettes are super tasty on all kinds of salads and are also delicious as a drizzle for simple grilled chicken or fish.

Base Roasted Pepper Vinaigrette Recipe


  • 1 cup roasted peppers, rinsed, drained, chopped (16 oz jar or homemade)
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 1 tsp sherry vinegar
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper


  1. Process in a small food processor or blender until smooth.
  2. Yields 1 cup – 8, 2 TB servings

Give these other variations a shot by adding the ingredients below.

Smoky Spanish Vinaigrette

  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp minced fresh oregano

Spicy Mango

  • swap chopped ripe mango for roasted peppers and lime juice for sherry vinegar
  • add 1 TB minced jalapeno and 1 TB chopped mint

Tomato Balsamic

  • swap seeded chopped ripe tomato for roasted peppers and balsamic for sherry vinegar
  • Add 1 TB chopped basil

Carrot Ginger

  • swap chopped cooked carrots for roasted peppers, rice vinegar for sherry vinegar, and sesame oil for olive oil
  • Add 1 TB minced cilantro