This homemade Lemon Balsamic Vinaigrette is a vibrant, tangy, and super flavorful salad dressing. So quick and simple to make with only a handful of basic ingredients, it adds zing to leafy greens, wakes up roasted veggies, and adds a punch of zestiness to grain bowls, and more. There's a creamy version too!
We eat A LOT of salad bowls and Buddha bowls at our house so we appreciate a flavorful vegan salad dressing or sauce. Because I'm always mixing potions together (mad kitchen scientist!) for the family to drizzle over their bowls, we naturally have a bottle (or two) of dressing in our fridge at all times. Afterall, everyone knows a killer salad dressing is everything!
Today’s dressing recipe, Lemon Balsamic Vinaigrette, doesn't disappoint. It's an extraordinary, all purpose salad dressing that just happens to be my go-to weekday dressing. Vibrant, zippy, and flavorful, it's ready in under 5 minutes and is super customizable - make it extra garlicky, creamy, sweet or spicy.
Lemon Balsamic Vinaigrette Ingredients
With only a few basic ingredients and 5 minutes, you can make a bottle of homemade balsamic dressing to enjoy all week. Here's what you'll need:
- Balsamic vinegar: Use an everyday dark balsamic vinegar from your grocery store for this dressing - not an expensive, aged or reduced balsamic.
- Lemon juice: Fresh lemon juice adds the perfect zesty citrus brightness.
- Olive oil: I use extra virgin olive oil for richness and flavor. It smooths out the sharp edges of the vinegar. Use canola, vegetable, sunflower or any oil of choice.
- Dijon mustard: I use dijon mustard (not yellow mustard) for its mellow but distinct savory, peppery flavor that pairs perfectly with the lemon and vinegar.
- Maple syrup: A kiss of sweetness balances the bold vinegar and mustard in this recipe. Feel free to use sugar, honey (vegan) or another sweetener of choice.
- Fresh garlic: Mince some fresh garlic to add pungent flavors to the dressing.
- Salt & coarse ground black pepper: So all the flavors pop!
- For a richer balsamic vinaigrette: This vinaigrette is definitely on the light side 'oil wise'. A typical vinaigrette ratio is ~3:1 oil:vinegar. If this dressing is too tart or light for your taste, simply add more olive oil a tablespoonful at a time.
- Creamy balsamic vinaigrette dressing: For a creamy version, swap half or all the olive oil for mayonnaise (I use Vegenaise). Keep the oil in too if you want the dressing richer.
- Play with herbs: I like the flavor from a pinch or two of dry oregano which is optional but I always add it. I've also used fresh or dry thyme, basil or cilantro which pair well with the flavor of balsamic vinegar as well.
- Spicy balsamic vinaigrette dressing: Add a pinch or two of red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper for a spicy kick to the dressing.
How to Make Lemon Balsamic Vinaigrette
This tasty lemon balsamic dressing recipe couldn’t be simpler to make:
- Measure all the ingredients directly into a jar or large measuring cup.
- Shake or whisk the ingredients together.
- Taste and adjust the ingredients as needed.
- Add a label to the jar (or airtight container) and store in the fridge for up to a week.
Make Ahead & Storage Tips
Lemon balsamic dressing keeps well for up to 7 days in the fridge so you can make it ahead then store until ready to use (great for meal prep!).
Pour the dressing into a jar (or airtight container), add a label, and store in the fridge. Give it a shake before using to blend the ingredients if they’ve separated or settled.
Ways to Use
Once you make a bottle of this homemade balsamic and lemon dressing, you'll find a million ways to use it up. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Garden salads: This lemony balsamic dressing adds plenty of flavor and zing to side salads, dinner salads, pasta salads and more!
- Fruit salad: Everyone loves the flavor of balsamic dressing with fresh strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, watermelon, and red grapes so why not make a fresh fruit salad Don't forget a sprig mint!
- Power bowls: A delicious drizzle to add a punch of flavor to grain bowls. I like the creamy balsamic dressing version here!
- Marinades: Makes a great tofu marinade.
- Roasted or grilled veggies: Tangy citrus balsamic dressing pairs well with the natural sweetness of roasted or grilled veggies!
More Homemade Salad Dressings
Everyone knows the secret to elevating an ordinary salad is an extraordinary dressing! Here's a few quick and easy homemade vegan dressings I think you'll love:
- Vegan Caesar Dressing
- Vegan Ranch Dressing
- 5 Minute Lemon Vinaigrette
- Pomegranate Balsamic Dressing (on Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad)
- Tex Mex Dressing (on Chopped Salad)
- Spicy Ginger Peanut Dressing (on Thai Crunch Salad)
- Chinese Chicken Salad Dressing (on Asian Crunch Salad)
- Dairy Free Coleslaw Dressing
- Vegan Honey Mustard Sauce
If you tried this Lemon Balsamic Vinaigrette recipe, please let me know how you liked it by leaving a rating and review below! Be sure to follow along on Instagram and Pinterest for more delicious vegan recipes.
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Lemon Balsamic Vinaigrette
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- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (more to taste)
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup (more or less to taste)
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ - ½ teaspoon black pepper, coarse ground
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano (optional)
- ½ teaspoon hot pepper flakes (optional)
- Measure all the ingredients* into a jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake to combine and emulsify the ingredients. Season to taste.
- This dressing can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge until ready to use! Just shake the jar of dressing before using.
- Lemon Balsamic dressing can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.
- Start with the lower amount of each ingredient and then add more to taste.
- For a richer salad dressing, add more oil. This salad dressing is definitely on the light side.
- For a creamy balsamic dressing, sub 2 tablespoons of Vegenaise (mayonnaise) for the oil. If you like a richer dressing, leave the olive oil in as well.
- Sweeter: If you prefer a sweeter balsamic dressing, add more maple (or sweetener of choice a teaspoonful at a time).
- Tangier: Add more Dijon mustard for a rich tanginess. As well, mustard acts as an emulsifier (like oil does) to make the dressing thicker.
- The flavors of each ingredient will intensify over the time it is stored. The garlic in particular will get stronger each day.
- Storage: Dressing will keep for up to 7 days in the fridge.
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