This red wine vinaigrette recipe takes less time to make than dashing to the supermarket by a long shot. All you need are a few simple ingredients—like extra-virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, and maple syrup—plus a mason jar or airtight container. In minutes, the players will coalesce, ready to turn literally any salad into your favorite salad, whether it’s a simple green salad (romaine, radicchio, endive, spinach—anything works), something more substantial (like a veggie-loaded chopped salad, grain salad, or pasta salad), or even a heap of chopped cucumbers or tomatoes.
While a more traditional vinaigrette calls for three parts oil to one part acid, this version tips the ratio to two-to-one for more brightness and contrast. If you are a member of Team Tangy, like me and many of my coworkers, you could even push it one step further: Drop the extra-virgin olive oil from ½ cup to ⅓ cup, and leave everything else the same. While some homemade salad dressing recipes call for additions like minced shallot or fresh herbs, this no-prep approach is just as flavorful. The result is confident in its minimalism.
It’s also a trusty template for other types of salad dressings: Instead of smooth Dijon, swap in whole grain mustard for added texture. Replace the maple syrup with granulated sugar or honey. Add a dash of dried oregano, za’atar, an Italian seasoning blend, or other Mediterranean-leaning dried herbs. And, if you’re not in a red wine vinegar mood, the acid is interchangeable, be it white wine vinegar, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, or apple cider vinegar. Whatever you do, do not reduce the salt. That’s the difference between salad feeling like a chore and a revelation.
Leftover red wine vinaigrette is a thing that rarely exists, but if you do have a jar you want to use up, deploy it as a marinade for tofu or chicken skewers to imbue them with tangy flavor before taking them out to the grill.