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Easy Red Wine Vinaigrette

Red wine vinaigrette is a type of salad dressing made with red wine vinegar, olive oil, and various seasonings. It is used as a flavorful and tangy dressing to enhance the taste of salads. The vinaigrette adds a balanced combination of acidity, sweetness (usually from honey or maple syrup), and savory notes from the seasonings. It is a versatile dressing that pairs well with a variety of salads, and its acidic nature helps to brighten and complement the flavors of the ingredients in the salad.

What is red wine vinaigrette made of?

Red wine vinaigrette is made of a few simple ingredients that come together to create a flavorful and tangy salad dressing. Here’s a breakdown of each ingredient:

  1. Red Wine Vinegar: Red wine vinegar is the key acidic component in this dressing. It is made from fermenting red wine until it turns into vinegar. Red wine vinegar has a tangy and slightly fruity flavor that adds brightness to the vinaigrette.
  2. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil: Olive oil is used as the primary oil in the vinaigrette. Extra-virgin olive oil is preferred because of its rich flavor and health benefits. It adds a smooth and rich texture to the dressing and helps balance the acidity of the vinegar.
  3. Honey or Maple Syrup: To balance the tangy acidity of the vinegar, a touch of sweetness is added to the vinaigrette. Honey or maple syrup is used as a natural sweetener. This ingredient also contributes to the overall complexity of flavors in the dressing.
  4. Dijon Mustard (optional): Dijon mustard is an optional ingredient, but it adds depth and a subtle spiciness to the vinaigrette. It also helps emulsify the dressing, creating a more stable and well-blended mixture.
  5. Salt and Pepper: These basic seasonings are added to enhance the overall taste of the dressing and bring out the flavors of the other ingredients.

Is red wine vinegar dressing healthy?

Red wine vinaigrette dressing can be a healthier option compared to some other salad dressings, especially when compared to creamy dressings like ranch or Caesar, which tend to be higher in calories and saturated fat. Here are some reasons why red wine vinaigrette can be considered a healthier choice:

  1. Lower in Saturated Fat: Red wine vinaigrette is made with olive oil, which is a healthier source of fat compared to creamy dressings that often contain mayonnaise or sour cream. Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats, which are known to be heart-healthy and can help reduce bad cholesterol levels.
  2. No Artificial Additives: When making your own red wine vinaigrette at home, you have control over the ingredients, and you can avoid using artificial additives, preservatives, and excessive amounts of sugar that are often found in store-bought dressings.
  3. Contains Antioxidants: Red wine vinegar, one of the main ingredients in the vinaigrette, contains antioxidants that can have health benefits. Antioxidants help protect the body’s cells from damage caused by free radicals and may contribute to overall well-being.
  4. Provides Flavor with Less Quantity: Due to the tangy and robust flavors of red wine vinegar, you may find that you need less dressing to add flavor to your salad, compared to creamy dressings, which are often poured in larger quantities.
  5. Versatility: Red wine vinaigrette can be used in moderation to dress a variety of salads and dishes, adding flavor and zest to your meals without overwhelming them with unhealthy fats or sugars.

Is Balsamic the same as red wine vinegar?

No, balsamic vinegar and red wine vinegar are not the same; they are two different types of vinegar with distinct flavors and characteristics.

Balsamic Vinegar:
Balsamic vinegar is made from the juice of freshly crushed white grapes, which are cooked and then aged in wooden barrels for an extended period. The aging process imparts a rich, dark color, syrupy texture, and complex flavor profile to balsamic vinegar. It has a sweet and tangy taste with notes of caramel and fruitiness. Authentic traditional balsamic vinegar is expensive and has a distinct Denominazione di Origine Protetta (DOP) certification from Modena, Italy.

Red Wine Vinegar:
Red wine vinegar, as the name suggests, is made from red wine. It is fermented from the natural sugars found in the wine and then aged for a shorter period compared to balsamic vinegar. Red wine vinegar has a more straightforward and sharper taste with a pronounced tanginess, as it retains the acidity from the wine. Its flavor profile is more straightforward, and it lacks the sweetness and complexity found in balsamic vinegar.

In summary, balsamic vinegar is sweeter, darker, and more complex, while red wine vinegar is tangier and has a more straightforward taste. Both vinegars are commonly used in cooking, salad dressings, marinades, and sauces, but they provide distinct flavor profiles to dishes. It’s essential to choose the vinegar that best complements the specific recipe or your personal taste preferences.

How to make Red Wine Vinaigrette?

Combine the red wine vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil, honey (or maple syrup), and Dijon mustard (if using) in a small bowl. Whisk the ingredients together until they are well combined. Taste the dressing and make any necessary adjustments to the seasonings according to your taste. Set the red wine vinaigrette aside while you proceed to prepare the other components of the salad.

What do you use Red Wine Vinaigrette for?

Here are some common uses for red wine vinaigrette:

  1. Fruit and Cheese Salads: Red wine vinaigrette pairs wonderfully with salads featuring fruits like cherries, strawberries, or berries, along with creamy cheeses like Brie. The dressing’s tangy and slightly sweet flavors enhance the natural sweetness of the fruits and provide a delightful contrast to the creamy richness of the cheese. Here is good Brie and Cherry Salad recipe.
  2. Tomato and Mozzarella Salad: Red wine vinaigrette pairs well with tomato and mozzarella salads. The dressing complements the sweetness of ripe tomatoes and the creaminess of fresh mozzarella cheese.
  3. Mediterranean Salads: Red wine vinaigrette is often used in Mediterranean-style salads that feature ingredients like cucumbers, red onions, olives, and feta cheese. The dressing enhances the Mediterranean flavors of the salad components. Here is a nice recipe for Panzanella Salad which red wine vinegarette would complement well!
  4. Grain Salads: This dressing is suitable for grain-based salads like quinoa salad, couscous salad, or farro salad. It adds a tangy element to the grains and other ingredients.
  5. Roasted Vegetable Salads: When drizzled over roasted vegetables like beets, carrots, or butternut squash, the vinaigrette enhances the natural sweetness of the vegetables.
  6. Pasta Salads: Red wine vinaigrette can be incorporated into pasta salads, complementing the pasta and various vegetables or other ingredients in the dish.

Red wine vinaigrette is easy to make and can be adjusted to suit personal preferences by varying the amounts of vinegar, oil, and other seasonings. It’s a healthier alternative to creamy dressings, as it contains less fat and calories while providing a burst of flavors to the salad.

Easy Red Wine Vinaigrette

Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Course Dressing
Cuisine American, Italian


  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp honey or maple syrup
  • ½ tsp Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • In a small bowl, whisk together the red wine vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil, honey (or maple syrup), Dijon mustard (if using), salt, and pepper until the ingredients are well combined.
  • Taste the dressing and adjust the seasonings as needed to suit your preferences. Set the red wine vinaigrette aside while you prepare the rest of the salad.
Keyword red wine vinegar

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