Champagne Vinaigrette is a fresh, flavorful homemade salad dressing that’s easy to make, complements a variety of salads, and even makes a delicious marinade!
My family eats a lot of salads and, as a result, we love a good homemade salad dressing. That being said, we tend to enjoy different flavors in “waves.” When we’re overrun with fresh herbs, we make lots of Ranch. Then for a while, we might get on a Honey Mustard kick. After which, we’re likely to return to a zippier vinaigrette, like Italian. Well, lucky for us, this lovely Champagne Vinaigrette adds another delectable choice to that latter category!
If you’ve never experimented with champagne vinegar before, it’s a bit milder and more floral than regular white wine vinegar. Therefore, the resulting vinaigrette can be especially lovely on salads made with citrus, berries, candied nuts, or delicate greens. But hey, it’s also great on a good ol’ garden salad! If you’ve ever noticed that this dressing is often used to dress salads on restaurant menus, well, that’s a testament to how delicious and versatile it is.
So what goes into Champagne Vinaigrette?
- Garlic. Fresh, raw garlic is pretty potent, so one small clove — finely minced — is all ya need.
- Champagne vinegar. After all, it’s the ingredient that sets this dressing apart from other vinaigrettes! Yes, you can substitute white wine vinegar and your dressing will still be tasty. But it won’t be quite the same. 😉
- Dijon mustard. For flavor and emulsification.
- Honey. Its key purpose in this recipe is to curb the acidity. However, feel free to add more if you like a sweeter dressing.
- Lemon juice. Fresh is best! But the pure bottled stuff with no added ingredients will work just dandy as well.
- Salt. I prefer using fine sea salt. And don’t hesitate to add more if you need to! An under-seasoned dressing will lack flavor and oomph.
- Freshly ground black pepper. To taste.
- Extra-virgin olive oil. You may substitute another type of oil if you prefer, but a good quality, neutral-flavored oil is key. If your oil has a strong, heavy flavor, that’s going to translate to your dressing.
How to Make Champagne Vinaigrette
When I make a homemade vinaigrette, I typically do so in one of three ways:
- Mince or crush the garlic and add it to a bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients — except for the extra-virgin olive oil — and whisk together until well-combined. Then slowly pour in the olive oil while rapidly whisking, and keep whisking until the dressing is emulsified.
- Mince or crush the garlic and add it to a Mason jar (or other lidded jar). Add all of the other ingredients and screw on the lid. Then vigorously shake your jar until the dressing is well-combined and emulsified.
- Pulse the garlic clove in a mini food processor or blender until minced. Add the remaining ingredients and process until smooth and emulsified.
I feel like homemade vinaigrettes typically achieve the best emulsification when blended or pureed in a food processor, so that’s my favorite method.
However, when I don’t want to dirty any extra dishes, it works just fine to shake everything together in a jar. Plus, all I have to do is screw on the lid before popping any leftover dressing in the fridge.
How you choose to make your Champagne Vinaigrette really is a matter of personal preference. 🙂
To Refrigerate or Not to Refrigerate?
If you’re not going to enjoy your dressing right away (or if you end up with leftovers), transfer it to a sealed container and store it in the refrigerator. Even though oil and vinegar are fine at room temperature, the more delicate added ingredients (such as fresh garlic and lemon juice) should be refrigerated for food safety purposes.
However, keep in mind that extra-virgin olive oil will thicken/solidify in the fridge. Proper emulsification can sometimes inhibit this phenomenon, as can opting to use a different type of vegetable oil. But honestly, if your dressing thickens when chilled, it’s no big deal and it’s easy to remedy.
Simply remove it from the fridge 30 minutes to an hour before meal time and allow it come to room temperature. Or if you don’t remember ahead of time, you set the jar of dressing in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes to come to room temperature. Then just before serving, shake, shake shake!
If you’re a fan of homemade salad dressings, I recommend adding this Champagne Vinaigrette to your list! In fact, since champagne vinegar has an indefinite shelf life, I keep a bottle on hand specifically for this recipe. It’s versatile, it’s delicious, and it’s a relatively new favorite around here! Hope you love it, too. 🙂
More Homemade Vinaigrette Recipes
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/4 cup champagne vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Place garlic in a mini food processor or blender and pulse until finely minced. Add the champagne vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey, lemon juice, salt, and pepper, and process until blended. Scrape down the sides, pour in the extra-virgin olive oil, and process until emulsified. Taste and adjust the seasonings by adding more salt and pepper, if necessary. (Alternatively, finely mince the garlic, add all of the ingredients to a jar with a tight-fitting lid, and shake thoroughly until emulsified. OR, in a medium bowl, whisk the minced garlic with the vinegar, mustard, honey, lemon juice, salt, and pepper until combined, then pour in the EVOO while vigorously whisking until emulsified.)
- Store leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator. Allow to come to room temperature and shake well before using.