There are many salad dressings you can make at home ... like ranch, Green Goddess, blue cheese ... really any dressing you like! Our house favorite is a vinaigrette recipe. I come by this honestly having spent my childhood in France and having eaten salads with homemade French red wine vinaigrette ever since I can remember! There are lots of variations on vinaigrette depending on what oil, vinegar, mustard, aromatics, or herbs are used. While I never had tomato vinaigrette in France, I don't think they would be opposed to the idea.
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The case for homemade salad dressing
Salad dressing is a staple in many households, but it is often premade in bottles or jars, or is mixed at home with a packet of seasonings and a bit of oil and vinegar, mayonnaise, or sour cream. Salad dressing is easy to make from scratch and you know exactly what's in it. No preservatives, no added sugars, no fake seasonings!
What kind of tomatoes should I use?
The best answer is ... "Use the most flavorful tomato you can find!"
The summer is a great time to make the best tomato vinaigrette because tomatoes are in season and so full of flavor. You can use plum tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, or standard slicing tomatoes.
How to prepare the tomato
I've seen some tomato vinaigrette recipes suggest to simply chop the tomatoes small. I always think "Why don't you just put chopped tomatoes on your salad and make a simple vinaigrette besides?!"
So my version of tomato vinaigrette recipe calls for grating the flesh of the tomato so that the resulting dressing is smooth. The peel won't grate so I cut the tomato in half and start grating until the peel is the only thing left. A hand-held grater is the only way to go with this. It can be a flat one like this one that was my grandmother's or a box grater will work, too.
Aromatics and herbs
Every classic vinaigrette needs some aromatics and herbs. Usually, garlic, finely diced onion, scallions, or shallots are used as aromatics. In this vinaigrette, I particularly like shallots.
HOT TIP: to take some of the bite out of the shallots, chop them first and put them in very cold water while you mix the other ingredients.
As far as herbs go, I add herbs that would complement the salad or the dinner that I'm serving the salad with. Those herbs can range from dill to cilantro, basil, oregano, thyme, or any combination my imagination comes up with!
What is the best vinaigrette recipe ratio?
The best oil to vinegar ratio in a classic vinaigrette is 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar. However, in this tomato vinaigrette, that much oil would overpower the tomato and we want that to be the star! I use less oil than vinegar in this recipe, add in some Dijon mustard, the shallots, and then season with salt and pepper.
How to serve Tomato Vinaigrette
Tomato Vinaigrette is especially tasty on Cumin Glazed Salmon Salad, but I love it with any collection of summer lettuces. It's worth trying as a marinade for chicken as well! Here are some other recipes using tomatoes that you might like as well.
- Cod with Tomato Wine Sauce
- Italian Chopped Salad
- Crostini with Pomodori al Forno
- Caprese Bites on Picks
- 1 cup fresh tomato grated
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 Tablespoon shallot minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Chop the shallots and put them in a small bowl of very cold water while you prepare the rest of the vinaigrette. This will take some of the bite out of the shallot. When you are ready to add them to the vinaigrette, drain them well.
- Cut the tomatoes in half, then use a flat grater or a box grater to grate the flesh into a bowl. Add the oil, vinegar, Dijon mustard, and the drained shallots. Stir to combine, then season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
- Change up the flavors by adding various chopped herbs such as basil, tarragon, dill, thyme, cilantro, oregano ... YUM!
- This is delicious as a salad dressing, but can also be used as a marinade for chicken or pork.