Are you tired of the same old bottled salad dressing? It’s time to elevate your salad game with this homemade apple cider vinaigrette. Nothing says fresh like a zesty vinaigrette made from scratch. According to a survey conducted by the National Restaurant Association, dressings and vinaigrettes are among the top condiments used in restaurants. Even Chick-fil-A has a “zesty apple cider vinaigrette dressing” and they’re selling it in grocery stores now. But why settle for store-bought dressings when you can easily whip up this amazing homemade dressing at home in 5 minutes? I’ll show you how easy it is to make your own apple cider vinaigrette salad dressing. Every time I make this dressing my husband acts like it’s brand new and says it’s the best salad dressing. So grab your apron and let’s get started!
What is Apple Cider Vinaigrette?
Vinaigrette is a dressing made with oil and vinegar and spices. It’s also the French word for “salad dressing.” In this case, raw apple cider vinegar is the star of the show, instead of red wine vinegar, etc…A vinaigrette is a healthier dressing since it’s base is usually extra-virgin olive oil which is so good for you! Raw apple cider vinegar is great for gut health, so that also makes this a healthy homemade salad dressing. This vinaigrette also has a unique flavor that makes it stand out from a red wine or balsamic vinaigrette. It’s a tangy acid with a touch of sweetness which goes really well with lots of salad toppings. It consists of simple ingredients that make the most delicious dressing you’ll keep going back for.
Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
Using apple cider vinegar in cooking has many benefits. Apple cider vinegar in dishes can benefit your body in more ways than one. Here’s a great article from Healthline, “6 Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar, Backed by Science.” It’s so versatile as well and can be used in many recipes in place of fresh lemon juice if you’re just wanting a change in flavor. It’s great for blood sugar, so drizzle it on almost any salad, from fall salads to everyday dinner salads, it’s that delicious and good for you!
Pairing Apple Cider Vinaigrette with Salads
This salad dressing usually makes people think of fall flavors, but it’s great on many salads any time of year. Don’t wait to enjoy it only as a fall salad. It pairs well with some salty soft cheeses like blue cheese or feta. It’s especially amazing on a kale salad or a bed of greens. I love red onion or paper thin sliced sweet onion with it as well. The tangy flavor of the dressing with salty and sweet add-ons will make your salad next level delicious! So, don’t just associate apple cider vinaigrette with fall or winter salads, it’s an any time of year kind of salad dressing.
Great Salad Toppings for Cider Vinaigrette
- Soft Cheeses– I love blue cheese, feta or goat cheese
- Bacon– salty, crispy bacon goes great with the apple flavor.
- Salad Crunchies– crispy fried onion, fried jalapenos (Costco or Trader Joe’s), or Crispy Dillies (Costco has it way cheaper usually-beware, highly addictive!)
- Apple– Yes, apple vinaigrette with crunchy thin sliced apple, dipped in lemon juice to keep them from browning. (The dressing will help as well, but I always pre-dip my apples for salads)
- Pomegranate Arils– If you’re making this as a fall or winter salad it’s really nice.
- Dried Cranberries– cranberry always pairs well with apple flavors.
Perfect Vinaigrette Ratio
I’m going to break the vinaigrette code here. I know that supposedly the perfect vinaigrette should have a ratio of 3 parts olive oil to 1 part vinegar, but to me, that’s too oily and doesn’t have enough of that delicious tartness that makes a vinaigrette extra tasty. I want to taste a little bit of that tart vinegar, it compliments the salad and sweet and salty toppings on the salad really well.
How To Make Apple Cider Vinaigrette
This is such a simple recipe you can practically make it in your sleep, or you can even wrangle up a kid to mix it up for you. That’s what I do when I’m in a rush. Add all of the dressing ingredients to a small bowl or mason jar with a lid. Whisk or shake it up and voila, your slightly sweet and tangy vinaigrette dressing is ready to pour and serve. Be sure to store the dressing in an airtight container if you do not use it all. If you made the dressing in a mason jar, you’re set to store it in there already.
Apple Cider Vinaigrette Ingredients
- APPLE CIDER VINEGAR– I like to use good quality ACV “with the mother” because it has all that great gut bacteria in it that’s really good for you.
- OLIVE OIL– Use your best olive oil. Anytime you make a salad dressing use the good stuff, not your cheapest. A good Italian extra virgin olive oil is best.
- HONEY– I think honey is the best natural sweetener for this dressing. If you need this dressing to be vegan, you can use real maple syrup instead, but I prefer the taste of honey for sure here.
- DIJON MUSTARD– A little goes a long way. You can of course use a different type of mustard if you prefer, but I like the tartness of Dijon mustard for this.
- GARLIC– 1 small clove, pressed. You can of course use minced garlic, but make sure you mince it extra fine. I find pressed garlic is just perfect for this and not over-power the dressing. In a pinch, you can use about a tsp of garlic powder or granulated garlic instead, but it won’t have the same distinctive zing.
- SALT & PEPPER– I just add 1/4 tsp of each to the dressing, but after you dress that salad add just a little pink sea salt to plated salads or to the final mix, just before serving. It helps bring out all the flavors.
Apple Cider Vinaigrette Salad Dressing Recipe
- 1/4 cup Apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 olive oil extra virgin
- 1 clove garlic pressed
- 2 Tbsp honey
- 1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- Just add all of your vinaigrette ingredients to a small mason glass jar with a lid or dressing jar.
- Give it a good shake until the honey is fully incorporated. If you don't have a jar with a lid, you can of course just make it all in a small bowl and whisk it.