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My “Secret” Balsamic Salad Dressing

February 15, 2011

Every time we entertain (translate: never) or we’re invited to someone’s home for dinner, I always bring a salad with balsamic dressing. People love this dressing and insist on the recipe.

Here’s the secret. … Are you ready?

There’s really no secret to this dressing. It’s loosely based off Ina Garten’s balsamic dressing, and it’s so simple and easy.

So for the first time in print, I am giving out my “secret” balsamic salad dressing. Before I go any further, I must warn you that I never measure these ingredients. These are approximations. But just try it and you’ll be able to quickly adjust your ingredient measurements.

Make it now – people will go crazy!

Balsamic Salad Dressing

1 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard (I tend to use the grain grain mustard)

2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar (I use Costco’s Kirkland variety)

Pinch of salt (Kosher) and pepper

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (again, Costco Kirkland)

In the bottom of a large salad bowl, whisk together the mustard, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Add the olive oil and whisk together. Ina uses a lot of olive oil; I don’t use as much as her.

Taste the dressing with a lettuce leaf (that’s the only way to truly taste a salad dressing). If it’s too bitter, add some more olive oil or mustard. Really — it’s that simple!

Then layer the lettuce on top with your favorite salad fixings. I like to add tomatoes, cucumber and avocados. Toss the salad together when you’re ready to eat.

Here’s a little trick (courtesy of the Barefoot Contessa herself): You can make the salad in advance as long as the dressing is at the bottom and the lettuce and everything is not tossed together yet. So leave it in the fridge and then toss it before you eat. I do this every time we bring it to someone’s house. Hosts think it’s magic. Isn’t Ina smart?!

Balsamic Dressing Salad

8 Comments leave one →
  1. February 16, 2011 6:38 am

    I, like you, think Ina is amazingly smart and talented. Plus… her kitchen! Sigh…

    Looks delish, and I’m always looking for a new way to dress up my plain old green lettuce.

  2. Lorena permalink
    February 16, 2011 9:12 am

    Oh, this looks delish! I was thinking soup and salad for dinner tonight — looks like I’ve got a dressing winner.

  3. February 16, 2011 9:50 am

    I, too, love your balsamic dressing. My regards to Ina the uh . . .

  4. February 18, 2011 4:37 pm

    Yum–will try! We always mean to entertain, to0, but always postpone to the ‘near’ future!

  5. June Robbs permalink
    November 8, 2015 6:52 am

    I have been measuring dressing for individual salads (1 T per salad) and mixing in a separate bowl for my husband and I for years. When I see anyone just pouring on tons of dressing I cringe. ..not to mention all those calories and taking away from the good taste of the salad items. I make homemade dressings all the time and have yet to find a balsamic one that I like. Kirkland was recommended to me by my Italian friend as being the best one she has tried next to the homemade balsamic she and her dad make! I will try your recipe and let you know how it goes if you would like to know.

  6. Lizette permalink
    March 29, 2018 11:19 pm

    Just made it. Delish!!!


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