Simple vinaigrette

I love salad.

Love it.

It is crunchy, and full of veg and super delicious but one of the greatest food travesties of this country is that we put a shred of iceberg lettuce on a plate with half an overchilled cherry tomato and think that THAT is salad and to be honest, if that is salad, I don’t love it. I don’t even like it. In fact, I probably won’t even eat it.

And THEN the health brigade cottoned on to salad, and think that the only reason anybody would eat salad is because of the health, so they serve up a tragic bowl of limp leaves with some kind of sad tasteless chicken on top and an avocado because it needs to look good on social media. It might taste marginally better than the aforementioned iceberg, but also, it might not and you will be hungry 15 minutes later because you haven’t actually eaten anything nourishing and then you’ll inhale half the fridge. If THAT is salad, I don’t love it. I’d probably rather have a ham and cheese toastie.

But good salad, I do love. And good salad starts with good, seasonal vegetables and a really, really good dressing. A dressing that you actually toss the salad up in before serving, so that every leaf or sliver of red onion or crunchy grated carrot tastes delicious. 

So here is my recipe for a basic vinaigrette, which will turn your side salad into more of a main event. A big handful of leaves, some halved tomatoes, an avocado and a load of this will make for a very, tasty lunch. Just be sure to have it on the side of something that will actually fill you up. Like a ham and cheese toastie.


Listen, even I can’t wang on too much about this one, you grab your ingredients.

A big pinch of sugar.

Some salt.

Some dijon mustard (which thanks to world affairs is tricky enough to get your hands on at the minute but any brand is fine).

Decent olive oil (time to go mad and use the one in the pretty bottle you got at Christmas)…

A neutral vinegar. To me neutral vinegar usually means apple cider because we produce quite a lot of excellent quality apple cider vinegar in this here Northern Ireland, but sometimes life gets in the way and I am here to show you that it is still OK to give things a go when they aren’t perfect, so red or white wine vinegar will work, too.

Flip, given that there isn’t really much to chat about here, that got pretty deep, pretty quickly.

Whisk your ingredients together. Lots and lots and lots of recipes tell you to put it in a jar and shake but I am so lazy I cannot be bothered shaking long enough for lumps to come out. Some people are too lazy to wash a whisk or a fork We all make our decisions, and somehow, manage to live with them.

There is no absolute path.

Again, maybe a bit too deep.

Anyway, there is your vinaigrette. Just be sure to get your entire salad coated in the stuff, mmmkay?


Simple vinaigrette


  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon neutral vinegar (cider or wine are good)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Big pinch salt


  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Whisk well to combine.
  3. Use to dress a salad of your choice.

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