The method of combining oil and vinegar with salt and spices to flavor and preserve foods goes back to ancient Greek and Roman times
Vinaigrettes aren’t just for salads – they have unbound potential with a little kitchen creativity! They are incredibly easy to make and add vibrant life to your everyday meals. Plus, the traditional ingredients in vinaigrettes (olive oil and vinegar) are full of health benefits.
Olive oil provides a substantial source of healthy unsaturated fats. These nourish the brain, support the skin and protect your gut lining. Vinegar, on the other hand, helps the body maintain a healthy pH balance, blood sugar balance, and boosts the immune system. Other ingredients like lemon and garlic are packed with potent antioxidants that fight issues like inflammation and aging. Sign me up!
Let’s learn how to incorporate these healthy, flavorful vinaigrettes into your culinary toolbox – the Piemontese way, of course!
Vinaigrettes and Italian Cooking
The Italians are well-known for their abundant use of olive oil and vinegar. While the word “vinaigrette” is actually French, the method of combining oil and vinegar with salt and spices to flavor and preserve foods goes back to ancient Greek and Roman times.
If the thought of an Italian vinaigrette brings the image of plastic bottles of yellow-orange salad dressing to mind, think again! Traditional Italian dressings are much simpler and fresher than what our American supermarket shelves boast.
Want to try a true Italian dressing? Make my simple Almond-Apricot go-to vinaigrette. It’s packed with healthy ingredients like our low-sugar Anna Maria’s Jam and Mind Your Manna’s incredible immune-boosting vinegar.
Healthy Almond-Apricot Vinaigrette Recipe
- ¼ cup Anna Maria’s Almond Apricot Jam
- 3-4 TBSP Mind Your Manna’s Fire Brew Vinegar*
- 1 tsp dried mustard
- Himalayan pink sea salt to taste
- ½ cup to ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Add jam and vinegar to a medium bowl and mix until combined.
- Add olive oil and salt and mix until dressing is emulsified.
- Use with your favorite recipes (like my Immune-Boosting Kale Slaw) or store in the refrigerator.
*Note: You could swap apple cider vinegar for the Mind Your Manna Fire Brew, but this Fire Brew will change your life! It is made from vinegar that has been infused with nutrient-rich herbs and spices. It tastes amazing, of course, but it also offers tons of amazing benefits for your body.
Red Pepper Balsamic Vinaigrette Recipe
- 2 TBS Bell Pepper Vinaigrette
- 1 TBS Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 tsp Soy Sauce
- ½ tsp Mustard Powder
- 5 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
In a bowl whisk the first 4 ingredients together then add olive oil while whisking.
4 Unique Ways to Enjoy Healthy Vinaigrettes
Before I send you off to make your own vinaigrettes, I wanted to share a few different ways to enjoy your creations outside of a big bowl of salad:
- Enliven your vegetables with the Piemontese bagna cauda.
Bagna Cauda, a Piemontese favorite, is a warm, punchy “vinaigrette” used to brighten up vegetables, potatoes, meats and bread. It is made with olive oil, garlic, and anchovies steeped in vinegar and kept warm. I share my traditional Piemontese bagna cauda recipe, enjoy! And, if you hate anchovies, I have a vegan bagna cauda recipe as well.
- Make a healthier chicken salad or coleslaw.
I love to use my Almond Apricot Vinaigrette or left-over bagna cauda instead of mayonnaise in dishes like chicken salad or coleslaw. It’s not only a leaner option, but it really gives these recipes a new, vibrant life.
- Spice up crudités. Take the traditional Piemontese route and enjoy your favorite veggies, bread, and meat with a yummy bagna cauda. Some of my favorite items to include are Einkorn bread, endive, roasted Jerusalem artichokes or potatoes, broccolini, and shrimp.
- Sautee greens in vinaigrette. Getting your greens has never tasted so good! I love to cut up fresh kale, spinach, and mustard greens, then sauté over medium heat in a couple of tablespoons of bagna cauda or immune-boosting vinaigrette.