Basic Vinaigrette Recipe

Hi there, Mamas!  As I have been working out of the house more often these past few months, I’ve been needing to pack a lunch.  It’s so cliche for a dietitian, but salads are one of my go-to to-go lunches.  I will justify this with several reasons:

  1. Such an easy way to get {or use up} veggies!  We all know veggies are important, but sometimes getting our 5+ servings can feel like such a drag.  My to-go salad container is about 5 cups.  One cup of raw veggies is considered a serving.  For those of you not in a math mood right now: I can completely fulfill my daily veggie quota by eating one large salad.  Plus, that 1/4 onion or leftover bell pepper that you know you won’t use for anything else can make a much appreciated appearance.
  2. It enforces mindfulness!  My hubby always jokes about how long it takes me to make a salad (“I’m done eating before you’ve even started!”), but what’s actually happening is I am carefully considering each ingredient and flavor that I’m adding to the mix.  {It can save time to pre-chop your veggies, though.  I highly encourage that.}  Do I want a Grecian experience with cucumbers, tomatoes, and feta?  Maybe a little south-of-the-border flare with salsa, black beans, and corn?  Should I swap one serving of veggies for fruit?  Add nuts?  Meat?  Also, because of the high fiber content, it can take a while to eat.  This allows me to appreciate all of the flavors, enjoy my meal, and appropriately assess my hunger afterward – as opposed to scarfing down something quickly.
  3. It can be a complete meal!  Regular readers know what a stickler I am for compete meals.  Here’s my rule:  At least three food groups per meal.  Ideally, one will be a protein or healthy fat for satiety, and one will be a fruit or VEGETABLE.  So, we have veggies down.  Next, your pick: proteins could be lean meat, low fat cheese, beans, edamame, tofu… The list is endless.  Perhaps you’d like a healthy fat?  Try olive oil (like this vinaigrette), olives, avocado, or nuts.  {For other RDN Mama Complete Meal Recipes, check out this one or this one.}
  4. So customizable!  Like #3 mentioned, you can pretty much add in whatever you want and skip what you don’t!  I love recipes that can be customized!  Not everyone likes the same things, and that is perfectly fine.  {For more RDN Mama Customizable Meal Ideas, check out this one or this one.}basic vinaigrette pin

One thing that’s not so great about salads?  For me, it’s usually the dressing.  They’re usually high calorie, loaded with fat and salt, and jam packed with fillers.  You know what they say:  If you want something done right, you’ve got to do it yourself.  So I have been for a few years.

Enter my basic vinaigrette.  So easy to make, I know exactly what’s in it, and I use spices to create a very strong flavor, which means that I don’t need to use very much.  With the smaller serving size, you’re losing calories, but gaining a TON of flavor!

Basic Vinaigrette Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 16 tablespoons

Serving Size: 1 tablespoon

60 calories per tablespoon

Basic Vinaigrette Recipe

Basic Vinaigrette


  • 1/2 cup olive or canola oil
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon basil


  1. Add all ingredients to taste.
  2. Whisk or shake very well before serving.


This is a great recipe to customize to whatever you're eating! I love lemon juice for a clean, fresh flavor. But, if you're making a Tex-Mex salad, switch the basil out to cilantro. Going Greek? Change the lemon juice to balsamic vinegar. The options are endless! Just note- the spices are very strong in this, so I've found that I don't usually need two tablespoons like the typical serving size is for salad dressings. One tablespoon is usually quite sufficient for my 5 cup Tupperware dish full of salad. Enjoy!

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What’s your favorite salad dressing recipe, Mamas?  I’d love to hear what variations you’d add to this recipe, too.


  1. Esther says:

    Your recipe sounds yummy. I usually use 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp dijon mustard, 1 clove garlic crushed, and a few grinds of black pepper. Sometimes I add lemon juice for added zing.

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