Best Balsamic Vinaigrette

Best Balsamic Vinaigrette

I felt sorry for them. The (mostly) women, (often) of a certain age, who ordered their baby lettuce salads, “hold the dressing”. I was working the cold station at Jerry’s, a restaurant in Manhattan that had the best balsamic vinaigrette I’d ever tasted. This was back when balsamic dressing was a revelation and the one at Jerry’s was so good, I spooned, tossed, or slathered it onto something I ate during every shift I ever worked. And so, when the orders for unadorned salads came through my station, I felt both pity and curiosity, sometimes peeking out from behind the kitchen door just to see who these “hold the dressing” people were.

Best Balsamic Vinaigrette

Truth? I don’t remember the exact ratio of what went into that dressing, but I do remember the taste … and this recipe seems about right. I also remember that it had a secret ingredient: soy sauce. The soy adds the requisite hit of salt as well as lip smacking umami that makes you want to go back for seconds. The original Jerry’s version had either shallot or garlic, I can’t remember which. Feel free to add either if you happen to have it on hand. A teaspoon of minced garlic or tablespoon of minced shallot will do.

It’s a good everyday dressing that won’t overwhelm delicate greens but can also stand up to sturdier ones, such as Romaine or Little Gems. However you choose to serve your salad, though, just be sure not to hold the dressing.

Looking for more salad inspiration? You might also like this Easy Everyday Vinaigrette or this Lighter Green Goddess dressing. This Spicy Soy Vinaigrette on Cooking Light looks pretty tasty, too.


Best Balsamic Vinaigrette
5 from 3 votes

Best Balsamic Vinaigrette

There's no need to buy bottled dressing when homemade is as simple as this recipe. The secret ingredient here is a splash of soy sauce, which adds a big bump of flavor. The dressing is tangy, so feel free to add an additional splash of olive oil if you want to tone down the acidity. 

Course Salad
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 1 minute
Total Time 3 minutes
Author katiemorford


  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 ½ teaspoons coarse/whole grain Dijon mustard (such as Maille or Grey Poupon)
  • cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic or 2 teaspoons minced shallot (optional)


  1. Put all of the ingredients into a jar with a lid. Shake vigorously to blend. Store in the fridge until ready to use.

Best Balsamic Vinaigrett


05.15.2017 at 9:06 AM #


Never thought of adding soy sauce before this post— thank you😊

05.15.2017 at 9:22 AM #

Cynthia Jones

This makes sense! Another trick someone taught me that sounds so strange but is actually really good is to add to a basic vinaigrette just a very small amount of maple syrup – adds a touch of sweet and a little thickener.
A totally healthy dressing that is surprisingly good is 1/3 cup plain Keifer, 1/3 of an avocado and 1 teasp Dijon mustard – blend it smooth to make a creamy alternative to oil and vinegar.

05.15.2017 at 9:22 AM #


I’m making your salad dressing tonight! Great tips.

05.15.2017 at 9:22 AM #


Ha, I came to post my “secret” vinaigrette ingredient — a splash of maple syrup — but I guess it’s not so secret! Delicious though!

05.15.2017 at 12:19 PM #

Alison Thompson

Thank you! I have been trying to find the right dressing for a smoked trout, mache and fingerling potato salad that I had at an SF restaurant and am recreating at home. This might be it!

05.15.2017 at 12:19 PM #


Yum….that sounds like a delicious combo. Let me know how it goes.

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