The best vinaigrette recipe for wine with salad


The best vinaigrette recipe ever – and, your perfect base for delicious wine with salad!

Alright, every good salad needs a good dressing, so here we are with The Castello’s House vinaigrette. Think of it as your primer. With this amazing vinaigrette recipe, you are ready to make any number of salads with endless wine pairings. Like we said from the beginning of all this wine with salad talk, it doesn’t have to be just whites!

With this, you end up with about a pint of dressing, so you can play around with flavors and can expect to have a dressing on hand for about 10 days. Denise does stress that she always uses two kinds of acid because it makes a more complex vinaigrette and also lessens the bite a bit of red wine vinegar, which better helps you pair your salad with wine.

best vinaigrette recipe
How to Make a Wine-friendly Salad
You often hear that you cannot have your salad and your important wine, too! Well, this is because the acid in the vinegar of a simple salad destroys your palate for the wine. 
Sure, certain acidic foods make pairing difficult and of course, you want to put your top wines with dishes that showcase them the best. But by following a few simple rules, great wines pair with salad beautifully.
With salads being both an important part of our cuisine and popular, there is no reason to give them up just because you don't think you can pair your wine with salad. 
Check out this recipe

One of my favorite tips I’ve learned in all my cooking with Denise adventures was her instruction of dressing the lettuce before topping with the rest of your ingredients. Doing this ensures the lettuce is properly – and evenly – coated before putting the rest of the crowds comes to the party.

The Castello's House Vinaigrette (maybe the best vinaigrette recipe EVER)

This makes a pint and a half or so of vinaigrette - a perfect amount to always be ready when you are in the mood for a salad. Make different variations and flavors by simply taking the amount you need, then adding any variety of flavors. 
Add a couple of tablespoons of finely chopped fresh herbs, or pesto, a little soy, and sesame oil. One of my favorites: pureè a quarter of a fresh mango and a little more dijon with shrimp or lobster. 
Having the base vinaigrette makes things fast, easy, and convenient. The base lasts up to 10 days without separating. It is still perfectly good when it separates -- bring it back to a creamy emulsion by blending again with the emersion blender and adding another teaspoon or so of dijon mustard.
One last note, I always add two kinds of acid because it makes a more complex vinaigrette and also lessens the bite a bit of red wine vinegar, which better helps you pair your salad with wine.
Author: Denise Pardini, Hotel Castello di Sinio


  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup sherry vinegar or cider vinegar, yuzu, mirin, lemon or even orange juice
  • 1 shallot placed whole is fine (essential ingredient)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 TBS granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ cup dijon mustard
  • cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (and maybe a splash more or less depending on your taste.)


  • Blend all ingredients together EXCEPT the olive oil until the shallots and garlic disappear. 
  • Next, add the oil in a slow and steady stream while the blender is going.
  • With the motor of the blender going slowly (about medium speed), stream in the oil. The emulsion will get quite thick and in order to add all the oil, you may have to turn off the blender to allow the emulsion to fall back on to the blades then turn it back on ON LOW. Then, continue adding the oil, turning up the speed.
  • Remember that it is better to taste the vinaigrette with a lettuce leaf to judge whether to add less or more oil.

Variation ideas:

  • Pesto
  • Mango mustard
  • Soy, green onion, and toasted sesame oil
  • Fresh herbs
  • Ceasar (anchovy, Worcestershire, and lemon zest)


Copyright Denise Pardini 2008 - 2020,

Try some of our wine-friendly salad recipes – all start with this vinaigrette!

best vinaigrette recipe
Red, White, and Green Salad
My perfect salad. I could eat this every day in one form or another. There are many forms it could take and easy variations depending on what you have or what you need to use. Just make sure you start with the red, white, and greens, a crispy crunchy fruit, a stronger cheese, and nuts. 
For instance, apple or fig would be a perfect substitute for the pear but it could even be strawberries or blueberries. Gruyere could replace gorgonzola if you are not crazy about blue cheese and really, any nut works. A nut oil for the salad dressing adds an important dimension and helps it pair even better with wine. But, a basic vinegar and olive oil dressing works just fine, too.
Check out this recipe
bistrot salad with wine
Bistrot Salad
Garden greens, vegetables with bacon, 6-minute egg, garlic whole-grain croutons, and parmesan shards. Dressing: Red Wine Shallot Vinaigrette.
My personal riff on the famous french bistrot salad of Frissè lettuce, poached egg, and lardons. The salad's pedigree intends it to be drunk with a hearty red wine. Be sure you use heartier but not too delicate, lettuces. The 6-minute egg replaces the poached egg. Fast, easy, and every bit as wonderful. Be sure to use thick meaty bacon, but regular old slices work nicely, too. I love the chew and heft of whole-grain croutons but use whatever you have, just make sure you make them yourself, the boxed kind just don’t cut it here.
Check out this recipe

Let us know what you think!

If you try this recipe out and find some fun dressing variations, drop us a note here or let us know on social media! We definitely believe this is the best vinaigrette recipe, but that’s because it is so versatile. So, share your variations!

Follow our cooking adventures on social media – #cookingwithdenise!

Girl’s Gotta Drink

Chef Denise Pardini, Hotel Castello di Sinio:

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