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From Your Table to Your Health: Versatile Vinaigrette

Registered dietitian Becky Varner has a recipe for versatile vinaigrettes that will add flavor without adding calories to your meals.
BY BECKY VARNER Published: June 5, 2013

June is known as wedding season, but it's also fresh salad season. Brides might appreciate ideas for preparing healthy recipes that are tasty, quick-to-fix and budget-friendly.

But you need not be a bride to enjoy the simple but profound benefits of a fresh, seasonal salad. I love taking a simple recipe that can be used in multiple ways. Once you find a recipe you really like, there are often a variety of ways it can be combined with other foods to create several recipes.

A basic vinaigrette recipe is a must with summer salads. A vinaigrette is all about simplicity and can easily be prepared just before serving since all of the ingredients are staples and readily available. It adds a gourmet touch to many different types of salads and is so simple to prepare.

Vinaigrette is a mixture of oil and vinegar or other acid such as lemon or lime juice. Fresh or dried herbs and spices are often added for additional flavor. Many vinaigrette recipes use three or four parts oil to one part acid, but I prefer to use equal amounts of oil and acid or more acid than oil to maximize a salad's health benefits.

Vinaigrettes can be prepared by stirring or whisking in a bowl, by shaking in a jar with a tightfitting lid or blended in a food processor or blender.

The secret to a good vinaigrette is quality ingredients. Once you learn to mix and match fresh ingredients with quality vinegar and oil, let your creativity do the rest.

For instance, your vinaigrette can evolve into a fruit salad dressing. To make a mixed fruit salad, choose three or more different colored fruits in bite-size pieces such as quartered strawberries, diced mango and purple or green grapes. Pour desired amount of fruit salad dressing over fruit and toss gently to coat all fruit. It can be drizzled over an individual fruit salad such as a fresh pineapple ring topped with raspberries and blueberries. It could even be drizzled over a cut grapefruit half. The recipe follows.

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Simple Vinaigrette Recipe

Makes a ½ cup or 8 tablespoons

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

¼ cup white balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

½ tablespoon minced garlic

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon sugar

• Combine ingredients in a small bowl and stir or whisk to blend. If preferred the ingredients can be placed in a small jar with tight fitting lid and shaken or placed in a blender or food processor and blended.

Nutrition Information: This recipe makes 8 tablespoons. Each tablespoon contains approximately 64 calories and 7 grams fat.

Fruit Salad Dressing

Makes a ¼ cup or 4 tablespoons

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

2 tablespoons orange juice

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint

• Combine ingredients in a small bowl and stir or whisk to blend. Or the ingredients can be placed in small jar with tight fitting lid and shaken.

Nutrition Information: This recipe makes 4 tablespoons. Each tablespoon contains approximately 21 calories and no fat.

Orange Glaze Recipe

Makes 1 cup of glaze

2 cups orange juice

Fresh herbs such as tarragon, dill or rosemary if desired

• Pour orange juice in a skillet or saucepan and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, to reduce the volume by half. For a thicker glaze simmer a little longer.

Nutrition Information: This recipe makes 8 tablespoons. Each tablespoon contains approximately 14 calories and no fat.


and Learn

Becky will teach Learn with Lunch classes featuring Chilled White Gazpacho, Caramelized Orange Chicken and Fresh Fruit Compote with Basil at noon Tuesday in the Gourmet Grille inside Buy For Less at 3501 NW Expressway; at noon June 18 at the 10011 SE 15th location in Midwest City; and at 9:30 a.m .June 19 at Uptown Grocery Co., 1230 W Covell in Edmond. Class size is limited, call 302-6273, ext. 332, for reservations.


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