I have my vinaigrette formula locked down. Equal parts acid and fat, with a bit of Dijon mustard, a spoonful of some sort of liquid sweetener, and a pinch of salt is all I need. Add everything to a jar, shake it up to emulsify, and pour it on a pile of vegetables. Salad is served. I like my dressings on the punchy side, but sometimes I long for a touch of creaminess, and that’s when I reach for the mayo.
A mayonnaise-based vinaigrette might sound off-putting, particularly if you’re a little condiment-avoidant, but read the ingredients to any creamy dressing, and you’ll find a lot of overlap in oil, vinegar, eggs, and sugar. Using store-bought mayo is just a shortcut, and a stabilizing one at that.
Combining an already emulsified condiment (mayo) with another emulsifying condiment (mustard) creates a super stable dressing that sat out on my kitchen counter without breaking for over an hour, which is pretty impressive.
Flavour-wise, mayo doesn’t add a whole lot. Depending on the brand, it may add a little sweetness from the sugar, a subtle tang from the vinegar, or — if you use Kewpie — a savoury note from MSG, but it mostly provides body. A mayo-based vinaigrette is creamy without being thick or heavy, and it can be customised with herbs and spices as little or as much as you want. You can also play around with the core ingredients. I used a standard Dijon mustard, but a spicy one would be fun, and you can use pretty much any vinegar or liquid sweetener you like.
Makes enough for 2 small or 1 large salad
What you’ll need:
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon apple cider or champagne vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons liquid sweetener, such as honey, simple syrup, or maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 pinch salt
- Fresh pepper to taste
Add everything to a jar and shake to emulsify. The dressing will keep in the fridge for up to five days.
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