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Expert Guide

4 Excellent Oils for Vinaigrettes

Sesame Vinaigrette © Sneh Roy

A basic vinaigrette consists simply of oil and vinegar. There are lots of ways to change the flavors—add mustard or garlic or soy sauce—but switching to a different oil can be a brilliant way to alter a vinaigrette’s essence. Here, four oil options and the best vinaigrettes to make with them. 

Olive Oil
Everyone’s go-to oil is a go-to for a reason. Opt for a flavorful extra-virgin olive oil.

Dead–Simple Balsamic Vinaigrette 
This easy vinaigrette, made with fresh oregano and minced garlic, is great on any and all salad greens.

Dijon Vinaigrette 
Start with this basic dressing, then customize it by adding fresh herbs or lemon juice and zest.

Hazelnut Oil
Nutty, toasty hazelnut oil gives vinaigrettes incredible richness.

Sherry-Hazelnut Vinaigrette 
This fall-flavored vinaigrette is delicious on tender cranberry beans.

Hazelnut Vinaigrette 
Here’s a full-bodied vinaigrette that can stand up to heartier salads like those made with lentils.

Sesame Oil
Just a little bit of sesame oil goes a long way. It’s best in Asian-inflected dressings.

Ginger Vinaigrette 
This super-simple dressing made with ginger and fresh lemon juice is perfect on stir-fries.

Sesame Vinaigrette 
Creamy and packed with umami flavors, this vinaigrette is good on anything from salads to grains to meat.

Walnut Oil
Walnuts are a classic topping for salads, but their buttery nuttiness is also great concentrated in a oil and mixed into a vinaigrette.

Lemon Vinaigrette 
This vinaigrette gets a double-dose of walnuts from the walnut oil and coarsely chopped toasted walnuts.

Creamy Walnut Vinaigrette 
It’s the perfect dressing for a smoked trout salad.

Video: Watch how cookbook author Melissa Clark makes the perfect vinaigrette

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