This Updated Vinaigrette Formula Will Take Salad To The Next Level

We could all use more salad. It doesn't matter if you're trying to eat healthier, or you're prepping for bathing suit season — salads are a classically quick way to feed and nourish a crowd. According to Piedmont Healthcare dietitian Shayna Komar, the benefits of eating raw vegetables are enormous. "You will likely have more energy, better skin, improved digestion and a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease once you get used to eating raw food,," said Komar.

The best part is that salads don't have to taste boring or bland. They're simply a blank template for whatever good stuff you want. Adding some flavor to the mix with some fat is also key in getting the most nutrition out of your vegetables. NPR reports that an Iowa State University study found better nutrient absorption from vegetables in participant's that ate a salad with some fat added to it.

One of the best ways to add that fat, along with tons of flavor, is by making a vinaigrette dressing. Yes, you can buy them at the store, but just like the salad they are a blank template for deliciousness. According to classic food encyclopedia "Larousse Gastronomique," a vinaigrette is a mixture of vinegar, oil, pepper, and salt, to which various flavorings may be added (via Serious Eats). 

That's one starting point, but the old ways of the vinaigrette are dead, and their new tangier counterpart is ready to take center stage.

Add more acid to spice up a classic dressing

Bon Appétit notes that the old culinary school wisdom was to have a ratio of three parts fat to one part acid in a vinaigrette. Meaning if you start with a cup of oil, you should have one third of a cup of vinegar. They say that modern chefs have thrown that practice out the window, and now prefer to have a two parts fat, one part acid ratio for their vinaigrettes.

Bon Appétit says that some of their favorite combinations for a vinaigrette base are yogurt with lime and harissa, olive oil with apple cider vinegar and maple syrup, and a neutral oil with rice vinegar, miso, and grated ginger. With these bases you can add any herbs, spices, peppers, crushed nuts, or other ingredients you'd like. Bobby Flay apparently prefers pomegranate molasses as his secret show stopper.

Bon Appétit stresses that a good salad is all about balance and the same should go for your vinaigrette. This updated method gives a slight edge to the fats so that they aren't dominated by the sharp, bright flavors of an acid. Instead, they counter each other. The same should go for your additional flavors in the vinaigrette, and in your salad. Serious Eats recommends including a surfactant, such as egg yolks, mustard, or honey, that will help those elements emulsify and bind together.