This easy homemade Lemon Herb Vinaigrette tastes so much better than store-bought and is loaded with tons of fresh ingredients. Even better, it comes together in just 5 minutes and will last a long while in the fridge!
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Lighten Up Your Salads with This Homemade Vinaigrette
This fresh lemon vinaigrette recipe is perfect for salads, vegetables, or even a marinade for meat or seafood. It is also a great way to use up the herbs from your garden. (Which I’d bet most of us will have a lot of during the upcoming months!) It is so much better than store-bought and is bursting with bright citrus flavor. It will amplify any salad recipe!
Making your own dressing is so easy and a whole lot healthier. There are no added preservatives and things like mono-sodium hidden in your dressing (what the heck is that) ?!? Homemade dressings use quality ingredients like extra virgin olive oil versus flavorless oils like canola or vegetable oil typically found in store bought dressings.
So give this one a try when you are in need of a quick and fresh homemade salad dressing.
Lemon Vinaigrette Ingredients
You only need 7 ingredients — most of which I’d bet you have in your fridge or pantry right now — to make this easy lemon herb vinaigrette:
- Garlic: Just two cloves, minced finely, will add a great bite of heat and spice to brighten up this homemade vinaigrette.
- Lemon Juice: You’ll need the juice from an entire lemon for this recipe, roughly 4-5 tablespoons depending on its size.
- Olive Oil: I like using extra-virgin olive oil in this salad dressing, but you could also use another light-tasting oil like avocado oil or grape seed oil.
- Fresh Herbs: I used fresh parsley, thyme and oregano in this dressing. I usually just use whatever herbs I have around or in the garden. I’ve also added in chives and basil before. Use what you have on hand! To substitute dried herbs for fresh use 1 teaspoon of dried herbs for every tablespoon of fresh.
- Salt: Kosher or sea salt will work here, but be careful to not add too much. Start with a little, then taste and add more as needed in small increments.
- Honey: Adds the perfect amount of sweetness to balance the acidity of the lemon juice.
- Dijon Mustard: Adds a sharp tangy flavor to the dressing.
- Black Pepper: The freshly cracked black pepper makes this vinaigrette slightly spicy, and it compliments the salt and lemon juice quite well.
How To Make Lemon Vinaigrette
This lemon vinaigrette dressing is very simple to make! Just follow these simples steps:
- First, combine your garlic and lemon juice in a mason jar or small bowl.
- Once those ingredients are incorporated, vigorously whisk in the olive in a slow steady stream to emulsify it with the lemon juice and garlic.
- Next, whisk in your herbs, salt, and pepper until well-incorporated.
- Allow dressing to sit at least 30 minutes before serving to allow flavors to develop. Shake vigorously again before serving, and enjoy!
Note: Adding the olive oil slowly into the mixture is important. It wont cause the dressing to “break” (aka separate from the oil). The dressing should end up being smooth, and thick.
- Toss this Lemon Vinaigrette Dressing with some fresh greens like arugula, romaine, spinach, kale, or chard to make a simple salad. Garnish with desired toppings like shredded carrots, thinly sliced radishes, diced onion or chopped scallions, shredded purple cabbage, and some grated cheese.
- Use this as a marinade for baking, grilling, or sautéing chicken, steak, fish, shrimp, tofu, or hearty vegetables like asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts.
- Or toss it with cooked pasta or quinoa and fresh veggies for a light, refreshing sauce!
Tips and Variations
- Change the herbs you use. Rosemary, thyme, basil, oregano, cilantro, dill chives … really any herb would be delicious in this recipe!
- Spice it up with some crushed red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, paprika, or diced peppers like jalapeños or serranos.
- If you’re already cooking some bacon or pancetta, reserve some of that oil from the skillet to add in place of some of the olive oil. This will impart a great, smokey flavor.
- Out of garlic? Swap it for some diced shallots or onion!
- Change up the citrus! Grapefruit, orange, or lime juice would also work here in place of the lemon juice.
- And add some zest from your lemon (or whichever citrus fruit you’re using) to make this homemade vinaigrette more bright and flavorful.
How To Store Lemon Vinaigrette
Store this prepared lemon vinaigrette in a sealed container, like a mason jar, for up to 3 weeks in your fridge.
Note that after the dressing has been refrigerated, it may become gelatinous. Just take it out a couple minutes before serving, and shake vigorously or whisk until smooth again.
More Recipes To Try
If you like making your own homemade essentials like this honey lemon vinaigrette, then skip the store-bought stuff and try these other recipes:
- Homemade Pesto
- Bourbon Barbecue Sauce
- Slow Cooker Tomato Sauce
- Homemade Cranberry Sauce
- Easy Homemade Chocolate Sauce
- Add garlic, lemon juice, parsley, thyme, oregano, honey and dijon mustard to a small jar or bowl. In a slow steady stream pour in olive oil whisking vigorously. You will begin to see your dressing thicken up and become smooth and glossy. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve with your favorite salad recipe and enjoy!