Homemade salad dressing is almost always in my refrigerator. Not because I am snooty about store-bought dressings (though maybe a little?), but because making your own salad dressings is so easy to do. I can easily whip up a delicious vinaigrette on a moment’s notice—and one without the preservatives and hard-to-pronounce ingredients you find in most store-bought dressings. I have a few go-to recipes, and this Apple Cider Vinegar Salad Dressing recipe is one of my favorites. It’s perfect for fall because it pairs beautifully with salads packed with apples, pears, or fall vegetables. And, apple cider vinegar is healthy for you—read on to find out why.
How to make Apple Cider Vinegar Salad Dressing
Making salad dressing is very easy—the key is to first whisk together all ingredients except for the oil. Then, slowly whisk in the oil. This gives you the best chance for an emulsified dressing.
For this recipe, whisk together 1 T. chopped shallots, 2 T. cider vinegar, 1 t. dijon mustard, and 1 t. maple syrup in a small bowl. The dijon mustard adds flavor but also helps emulsify the vinegar and oil together. Once those are combined, drizzle the 6 T. olive oil slowly into the bowl while whisking. Add salt and pepper, to taste, and whisk again. Now dressing is ready to serve, though it will separate quite quickly as it sits. Just whisk again right before serving.
Quick note on making your perfect vinaigrette. The classic ratio for a vinaigrette is 1 part vinegar (or lemon/lime juice) to 3 parts oil. But some people prefer anywhere from a 1:2 to a 1:5 ratio, in part depending on taste, and in part depending on the rest of the ingredients in the dressing and salad itself. So when you add the oil in this apple cider vinaigrette, taste as you go. That way you can control exactly how tart the dressing is. You might prefer yours silky rather than sharp. Or you might find that one or the other is a better fit for the salad you are making that day.
What are the health benefits of apple cider vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar has been getting lots of attention lately for its health benefits, although it has been used throughout history as a folk remedy. According to the Bragg website, Hippocrates (father of modern medicine) used apple cider vinegar for wound cleaning back in 400 B.C.! In more modern studies, apple cider vinegar has been shown to help with digestion and with building a healthy immune system. Some evidence suggests it can lower blood sugar and insulin levels and help relieve heartburn and bloating.
Why is apple cider vinegar good for you? Well, it’s made by the fermentation of the sugar in apples or apple cider into alcohol. Next, bacteria are added, and the alcohol ferments again into acetic acid. Interestingly, the word vinegar derives from the French: vin (wine) and aigre (sour).
The main reason behind its health benefits is that like other fermented foods, apple cider vinegar includes healthy bacteria (probiotics) that help promote gut health. That said, to get the full benefits of cider vinegar, you’ll need to choose an unpasteurized vinegar, like Bragg’s. This vinegar is organic, unfiltered, and not heat-processed. You’ll see the “mother” (or the starter) floating in it, which looks like cloudy strands or sediment. These strands are actually connected protein molecules. They don’t look appetizing, but don’t worry, they’re supposed to be there.
Which apple cider vinegar should I use?
If you want the full benefits of the probiotics created by fermentation, choose a raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar like Bragg’s. Unfortunately, pasteurization of vinegar will kill both good and bad bacteria, reducing a pasteurized vinegar’s probiotic health benefits. However, if you are just looking for cider vinegar that tastes great, I also recommend Maille’s Cider Vinegar (Vinagre de Cidre here in France) for its clean, apple-y flavor.
Do you need to refrigerate Apple Cider Vinaigrette?
Yes, because it has dijon mustard in it, you’ll need to store it in the refrigerator. I recommend an old jam jar or mason jar with a lid to store your dressing. Keep it in the fridge, and take out a half hour or so before you want to use it. Olive oil has a tendency to solidify a bit in very cold refrigerators. When you’re ready to serve, just shake vigorously in the jar with the lid on to re-emulsify the dressing.
What should I serve with this Apple Cider Vinegar Salad Dressing?
This dressing goes with all sorts of salads. Try it with a fall salad with apples or pears, walnuts, and blue cheese. Or an arugula salad with roasted butternut squash. It’s also delicious when tossed with cooked quinoa, farro, or barley along with roasted vegetables. Apple Cider Vinegar Salad Dressing also makes a great marinade for fish and chicken. Grill them along with bell peppers, and drizzle remaining vinaigrette on top to serve. This dressing is gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegetarian, so it’s a great recipe for almost any diet.
If you’re looking for other great salad dressing recipes, don’t miss my Meyer Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette. If you love all things salad, you may want to check out my Fig Salad with Blue Cheese, Salade de Tomates, Green Bean Salad with Baked Goat Cheese, or my Spinach Beet Salad.
- 1 T. chopped shallots
- 2 T. apple cider vinegar
- 1 t. dijon mustard
- 1 t. maple syrup
- 6 T. olive oil
- 1/4 t. salt
- 1/8 t. pepper
- Whisk together chopped shallots, apple cider vinegar, dijon mustard, and maple syrup in a small bowl.
- Drizzle olive oil slowly into bowl while whisking until dressing emulsifies.
- Add salt and pepper, and whisk again. Taste, and add additional seasoning if necessary.
- Dressing will separate as it sits, so whisk again right before serving.
You can also make and store salad dressing in a covered mason jar; shake vigorously before serving. Store in refrigerator for up to one week.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 5 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 150 Total Fat: 16g Saturated Fat: 2g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 14g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 144mg Carbohydrates: 1g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 0g Sugar: 1g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 0g