Learning About Vinaigrette: Its Ingredients and How to Use It

People who have become enthusiastic about supporting small, responsible commercial food producers may have Hampton Creek on the list of companies they buy from. They look forward to the upcoming release of new items to include salad dressings, plant-based scrambled eggs to fry up in a pan, and Hampton Creek Vinaigrette. Not everyone is entirely clear on what vinaigrette is. If someone likes to blend olive oil and vinegar and keep a small container on the counter to add to salad, that’s someone who likes vinaigrette. These simple dressings are common in Italian restaurants as a traditional favorite.

The substance fundamentally is an oil mixed with an acidic substance. Numerous variations in vinaigrette recipes can be found online and in cookbooks. They might include ingredients such as garlic, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, basil, salt and black pepper. Mustard will hold the oil and vinegar together in a process known as emulsifying, but it also adds a distinct flavor. Otherwise the two components must always be whisked into a blended state before use. Fruity versions can be created as well; raspberry and balsamic vinaigrettes are cases in point.

Hampton Creek succeeded at emulsifying oil and water in its mayonnaise-like sandwich spread by using yellow pea protein instead of eggs. It’ll be interesting to see whether it includes an emulsifier in its vinaigrette or whether it allows the oil and vinegar to separate. That’s common in commercial brands of vinaigrette; people typically shake the bottle vigorously before using to blend the components together temporarily. Even with mustard, vinaigrette tends to separate into oil and vinegar, but it does so more slowly than a product without an emulsifier.

Now, what does someone do with vinaigrette if this person doesn’t really care for it on salads? It can be used as a marinade for chicken, salmon, tuna steak or vegetables. If the individual isn’t that excited about the vinegar flavor, adding other ingredients can tone that taste down until the vinegar is more of a hint than an explosion. A creamy version could be concocted by adding a bit of Hampton Creek’s Just Mayo sandwich spread or Just Ranch dressing.