This citrus balsamic vinaigrette combines orange and lime with white balsamic for a quick, fresh salad dressing. The easy recipe mixes up in just five minutes.
How to Make a Vinaigrette
A vinaigrette is simply a combination of oil and vinegar. The general rule of thumb for the ratio of oil to vinegar is three parts oil to one part vinegar. So if you start with 3/4 cup oil you would use 1/4 cup vinegar. This is not a hard and fast rule. Depending on some of the other ingredients and your taste preference, this ratio can be adjusted.
If you’ve ever tried to make an oil and vinegar dressing you surely discovered that oil and vinegar do not like to stay combined. A few things that will help a vinaigrette stay emulsified (combined) are:
- Extra virgin olive oil, with its higher sediment level, keeps vinaigrettes more stable.
- Mustard powder can help to hold a vinaigrette together, but I find that it takes more than a few minutes before it’s effective. It also adds bitterness to vinaigrettes which I personally dislike.
- The best way to emulsify a vinaigrette is to use xanthan gum. If you’re gluten-free you may have heard of it. If not, it’s a powder that’s used as a binder in many food products including store-bought oil and vinegar dressings. It thickens them and holds the oil and vinegar together very well. Instructions for using xanthan gum are included in the recipe card below.
I kept this recipe and its ingredients super simple. I have left out a few ingredients that are usually included in a vinaigrette. Chopped shallot is pretty common, but I prefer to let the flavor of the citrus be more prominent and shallot would overpower it. Mustard powder or prepared mustard is also a common vinaigrette ingredient that I chose to exclude. Again I felt like it would overpower the citrus. So here are the simple ingredients included.
Extra virgin olive oil is the base for this vinaigrette. I recommend using a high quality oil because it’s flavor will be prominent in this dressing.
White balsamic vinegar adds a lovely sweet and tangy element to this vinaigrette. If you don’t have white balsamic, apple cider or white wine vinegar are good substitutes.
For the citrus, I chose orange and lime. Both add sweetness to the vinaigrette which balances the bitterness of the olive oil and the sour of the vinegar. The lime adds a little extra tartness and citrus flavor.
Dried oregano or Italian seasoning is a great pairing with citrus. Just a little bit adds another level of flavor to this vinaigrette.
Finally, salt and agave balance out and enhance the flavors. Salt has a way of bringing out all the flavors in a dish and making them stronger and more prominent to your taste buds. It’s essential in just about anything you cook. So don’t leave it out. It’s okay to reduce the amount or use more if you prefer.
Since the orange juice already brings a sweet element, there’s just a small amount of agave. I like liquid sweeteners because they incorporate quickly and easily. Maple syrup or honey can be used as well.
Quick and Easy Balsamic Citrus Vinaigrette
- xanthan gum optional
- ¼ c white balsamic vinegar
- 3 Tbsp lime juice (2 limes)
- 2 Tbsp orange juice
- 1 tsp agave, honey or maple syrup
- ¼ tsp dried oregano or Italian seasoning
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ c extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp oil – avocado, sunflower, canola or other neutral flavored vegetable oil
- ⅛ tsp xanthan gum to prevent separating (optional)*
- In a medium sized mixing bowl, beat the vinegar, lime juice, orange juice, agave, salt and oregano with a whisk until bubbly and combined.
- While whisking, slowly drizzle in the oils. Whisk for at least 15 seconds.
- Taste. Adjust to your preference. If it seems a little blah add 2 pinches salt and or ½ tsp sweetener. If you prefer it more sour, add more vinegar 2 teaspoons at a time. It it's too sour, add 1 Tbsp oil and/or 1 tsp agave.
- If using xanthan gum, sprinkle on the vinaigrette and whisk vogorouslyfor 15 seconds. Then transfer to a jar or bottle and shake until it thickens.
- Store at room temperature for 2 days or refrigerate for 10 days in a sealed bottle or jar. Shake well before using.