Healthy Balsamic Vinaigrette

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A lightened up version of classic Balsamic Vinaigrette that tastes amazing on salads, as a marinade, drizzled over veggies, and more.


This healthy homemade balsamic vinegar salad dressing comes together in less than 5 minutes but tastes just like your favorite version from restaurants or the grocery store. 

I have a thing for making my own salad dressings. A lot of the store-bought ones have unnecessary ingredients in them to keep them shelf-stable. Even the ones in the refrigerated section can have a laundry list of ingredients I can't even pronounce. Also it's sooooo very easy to make your own salad dressings, and much more budget-friendly. I promise you, once you start making your own dressings, you'll never go back to the grocery store brands.

This Balsamic Vinaigrette is one of the dressings that's in constant rotation at my house. I almost always have it on hand as it works great as a salad dressing of course, but also works as a marinade, a topper for roasted veggies, and more (see below for all the ideas). Plus, it's easy to double (or even triple) the recipe and make up enough to last weeks in the fridge.

Balsamic vinegar salad dressing ingredients including balsamic vinegar, olive oil, honey, garlic, mustard, and spices.

Ways to Use Balsamic Salad Dressing

  • I know I'm stating the obvious here, but this is my go-to for almost every salad ever, from greens-based ones to salads with heartier greens like kale.
  • This dressing is great as a marinade for grilled chicken, pork, or steak.
  • Okay so, I mentioned this is great as a marinade on meat, but it's also great to marinate veggies in and then roast them. Too. A little goes a long way! And that balsamic gets a bit sweeter while it cooks — the best!
  • Add a tablespoon or two of this balsamic dressing to chickpeas before roasting them. (I like to roast mine at 400 degrees for about 15-20 minutes — be sure to turn them once.)
  • Pasta salad needs a dressing right? And this balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing is perfect for pasta. Warm or cold — it works great!
  • Just like this dressing works great on chickpeas and veggies, it is also super yummy on roasted potatoes too. Cut your potatoes into wedges, add the dressing, and roast. Delish!

Is Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing good for you?

Yes, this dressing is very healthy and good for you. First of all, you're making this from scratch, so no additives to worry about. Second, the main ingredient — balsamic vinegar — has many health benefits, such as:

  • Fat free, and contains almost zero sugar.
  • Balsamic can help lower your cholesterol and maintain a healthy blood pressure.
  • The antimicrobial compounds, acetic acid, and antioxidants balsamic contains have been shown to help your skin and contribute to a healthy complexion.
  • Balsamic can help regulate your blood sugar.
  • Probiotics in vinegar can keep you feeling fuller, longer and help you consume fewer calories during the day, thus helping you lose weight.

What makes Balsamic Vinegar "Balsamic"?

Balsamic vinegar (or "aceto balsamico" in the Italian language) is made from the juice of Trebbiano white grapes. This juice is boiled down to become thicker. This thick juice will have some older balsamic added to it (kind of like how sourdough needs a starter) to make sure the right bacteria are in it to turn the sugar of the grape juice into alcohol and then into acetic acid as the vinegar ages for up to 12 years before its bottled.,/p>

What does Balsamic Vinegar taste like?

Balsamic vinegar is tangy, tart, acidic, yet slightly sweet. The tastes can vary depending on the quality of the vinegar you purchase, though darker vinegars will tend to be sweeter.

Balsamic vinegar dressing drizzled on a tomato and mozzarella salad with tomatoes and Parmesan cheese in the background.

Tips and Tricks

  • It's important to follow the directions in order. In whisking together the balsamic, Dijon, garlic, honey, salt and pepper first, you can more easily whisk in the olive oil and get it to emulsify.
  • For quicker and longer-lasting emulsification, you can mix this dressing together in a blender.
  • Store the dressing in a container with a tight-fitting lid so that you can easily shake the dressing back up without the lid flying off and also to avoid any messy spills in your fridge, should a different container's lid not seal correctly.
  • Store vinaigrette for up to 2 weeks in the fridge.

More healthy salad dressing recipes

The Recipe
Balsamic vinaigrette in a glass jar with a tomato and basil salad.

Healthy Balsamic Vinaigrette

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  • 1/3 cup low sodium chicken broth (or vegetable)
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

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Whisk together broth, balsamic vinegar, honey, Dijon mustard, garlic, salt, and pepper until well combined.

Whisking ingredients for balsamic vinaigrette.

Slowly pour in olive oil, whisking continuously until dressing is completely emulsified

Oil being whisked and emulsified in balsamic vinegar dressing.

Taste and season with salt and pepper. Pour into jar, seal and store in refrigerator. Serve over salad, grilled vegetables or meat . Shake well before serving

Fully mixed balsamic vinegar dressing in a bowl.
Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 2 tbsp
Amount Per Serving
Calories 98
Calories from Fat 82
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 9g
Saturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 183mg
Total Carbohydrate 4g
Dietary Fiber 0g
Sugars 3g
Protein 0g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
On Healthy Balsamic Vinaigrette
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Elizabeth Bentl...
September 17, 2020 - 17:28
How long will this dressing last in the refridgerator?
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September 17, 2020 - 18:21
It will keep for about 2 weeks in a closed container.
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