Tomatoes are among the most commonly wasted salad toppers. But, here at That Salad Lady, we aim to avoid food waste! Whipping up our “Tangy Tomato Vinaigrette Dressing” is a great way to use a good batch of tomatoes before they go bad. An intensely rich combination of freshly ripened tomato, red wine vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), our recipe is gluten- and dairy-free, vegan-friendly and can amp up the flavor of practically any salad bowl.
THE BALANCING ACT
As you’ve probably already guessed, our tomato vinaigrette dressing starts with a tomato. A good combination of very ripe tomato, vinegar, sugar and salt is the key to a flavorfully balanced tomato vinaigrette. Any additional seasonings are totally up to you. From oregano to parsley to marjoram your options are virtually endless.
Our recipe calls for basil, which is the most classic flavor pairing for tomatoes. With its vibrant, aromatic properties, this herb really brings out the best flavor in the fruit – and it’s so much more than just a flavor enhancer. If you have a garden, turns out that growing basil and tomatoes together can actually help repel certain pests.
With the sweet, tart and peppery notes of tomato and basil, balanced by the rich, fruity flavors of EVOO, honey and other ingredients, our recipe delivers restaurant-quality taste and a good dose of nutrition – and it’s on your salad in five minutes.
Let’s talk more about what’s in our Tangy Tomato Vinaigrette dressing recipe and why.
The Most Essential Ingredient
Once again, it goes without saying that our recipe starts with a tomato. We love the tangy-sweet, juicy flavor vine-ripe tomatoes bring to the blend, but feel free to use whatever you have – all red tomatoes are equally nutritious and rich in lycopene. Lycopene is a type of carotenoid that’s been linked to health benefits ranging from heart health to protection against various forms of cancer (study up in our Nutrition Glossary to learn more).
Though our recipe calls for freshly ripened tomato, you can use an overripe tomato too. In this case we suggest roasting or sautéing them over high heat before preparing the dressing. Believe it or not, adding a little vinegar with some salt and other seasonings as per our recipe can lift the whole taste of an overripe tomato. You’ll lose some of the nutritional value, but the lycopene content is well-maintained.
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil for “Good” Fat
Our recipe also calls for EVOO. With its distinctly fruity and pepper taste, it delivers sweet and savory flavors that both elevate and balance out the overall taste profile of the tomato and vinegar. In and of itself, EVOO is naturally rich in disease-fighting antioxidants and monounsaturated fats, which are generally referred to as “good” fats (study up in our Nutrition Glossary to learn more about EVOO).
As our recipe calls for a good amount of EVOO, you’ll want to choose a good quality brand. Look for cold-pressed varieties, as these undergo minimal processing without the use of heat or chemicals. They’re generally packed in dark glass bottles as opposed to plastic. The resulting EVOO has a golden-yellow appearance. It also delivers a rich pungent flavor with just enough fruitiness to complement all the other ingredients.
Red Wine Vinegar for a Clean Flavor Zing
For a good, clean zing, our recipe calls for red wine vinegar. Derived from red wine grapes, like vinegar in general, this one brings that classic sour taste to the mix. Owing to the presence of antioxidants, red wine vinegar comes with health-promoting effects ranging from blood sugar control to heart health. Like a quality red wine, a good red wine vinegar will have fruity sweetness complemented by a nice sharp bite.
If you don’t have any red wine vinegar in the house, you can also use white wine or even balsamic vinegars, however, these deliver more mellow sweetness. Sherry vinegar is another possible option as its fruity flavor is a closer match to that of red wine vinegar.
A Perfect Combo of Honey and Mustard
Honey and mustard go together like peas and carrots and they’re classic vinaigrette ingredients. The natural sweetness and mild flavor of honey perfectly offsets the sharp and tangy taste of mustard. We suggest using a grainy-style mustard which, as implied by the description, has a “gritty” texture. Wholegrain mustard is a perfect choice as its rich spiciness adds great bite to the blend. You can use regular Dijon mustard too, as it’s a slightly more flavorful alternative.
Then there’s honey for the sugary notes. Unlike refined sugars and artificial sweeteners, honey contains a unique combination of phytonutrients that function as powerful antioxidants.
We suggest using 100% pure honey for our dressing, as most phytonutrients are lost when it’s overly processed. As honey is not vegan, you can substitute it for agave nectar or even cane sugar if you follow a vegan diet. While these aren’t the “healthiest” replacements for honey, they won’t change the flavor profile of the dressing like say maple syrup. We encourage you to experiment with different vegan-friendly sweeteners to see what you like.
Basil and Garlic for a Savory Finish
We finish off our balsamic vinaigrette dressing recipe with a simple seasoning blend of minced garlic and dried basil. A unique combination of sweet, savory flavors and aromatic qualities, these seasonings really bring the dressing to life. While you can use jarred minced garlic as a “shortcut,” we don’t recommend doing this. Jarred versions tend to have “off” flavors, which’ll be detectable in your finished dressing.
GET YOUR CHOP ON
Our recipe calls for chopping up the tomato in quarters. Simply remove any stems (if present) and use a serrated knife to cut the tomato in half and then cut them again to make quarters. While any sharp knife will cut a tomato, a serrated knife will prevent the juices from escaping.
Once you’ve chopped up your tomato and gathered all the other ingredients for the dressing the hard work is pretty much done. At this point, you’ll simply add the ingredients to a blender or food processor and start mixing.
With variable speed units, start with a low speed and then gradually increase it to a higher speed until the mixture is perfectly smooth. That’s it!
The Versatility of Tangy Tomato Vinaigrette Dressing
Our Tangy Tomato Vinaigrette dressing recipe makes about 10-12 flavor-packed servings (2-3 tablespoons per serving). In addition to elevating the taste and nutritional profile of practically any salad bowl, it also makes a great marinade for meats, poultry and seafood. Try it on That Salad Lady’s “No-Cook Chickpea Salad” or “Light and Easy Cucumber Tomato Salad.”
We recommend transferring any leftover dressing to an airtight sealed container and then storing it in the fridge. It’ll last for up to five days.
SHOW US YOUR WORK
That Salad Lady wants to see all your great work. If you enjoy our Tangy Tomato Vinaigrette dressing, which we are sure you will, drop a comment below and tag pics on Instagram with @thatsaladlady, #thatsaladlady and #buildyourbowl. If you love it, pin it on Pinterest and share it on Facebook and Twitter using #thatsaladlady.
This information is provided as a courtesy and is only an estimate. Please review our full disclaimer to get a clear understanding of the nutrition and health information and resources presented and written on our website.