Parmesan Vinaigrette is the perfect light and fresh dressing. I love it on a fresh cut salad or a bowl of pasta for a light dressing instead of heavy sauce.
I love a fresh cut salad with crisp romaine lettuce, sliced cucumbers, and ripe juicy tomatoes. Ranch dressing will always be a favorite of mine, but this Parmesan Vinaigrette is a close second. Parmesan Vinaigrette is the perfect light and fresh dressing that lightly covers your salad and adds just enough flavor.
I make this Parmesan Vinaigrette with canola oil, but you can absolutely use olive oil or vegetable oil. I think I am one of the only people that I know that just doesn’t really like the taste of olive oil. Even the light tasting olive oil, is still too flavorful. I will sauté meat in it, or some veggies, but for the most part I don’t use it much. I choose canola oil, because there is zero flavor to it. The oil is needed (combined with the vinegar) to help carry the dressing over whatever you are pouring it on. Without the oil, the vinegar would slide right off whatever you are dressing. I just don’t want the oil to add too much flavor to the dressing. So in my opinion, canola oil is the perfect oil.
For a vinaigrette, in addition to the oil you need a vinegar. You can use balsamic vinegar (super popular for vinaigrettes), white vinegar, cider vinegar, or white wine vinegar. Basically any vinegar will work, it just depends on what flavor you like best. They all give it the “bite” you need from the acid, so use what you like. I prefer cider vinegar.
Now every vinaigrette needs more than just oil and vinegar. You will need something to make it all stick together (the fancy name for this is an emulsifier). Oil and vinegar will separate naturally, but that binder will help it stick to whatever you are pouring it over. They both help carry the flavor evenly throughout the dressing. I like to use Dijon mustard for my binder. Some other options that are commonly used are honey, egg yolks, mayonnaise, and tomato paste. It just depends on the flavor profile you are going for as to what you would want to use. I love the tangy, slight kick that Dijon Mustard gives the vinaigrette but honey is my next choice if I want it a bit sweeter.
For my additional seasonings for my Parmesan Vinaigrette I use obviously Parmesan cheese. I don’t grate it, I use the simple pre-grated bottle. I love the texture it gives the dressing. The bits of parmesan cheese are small enough it blends well in the dressing and covers the salad (or pasta perfectly). I also use minced garlic. I love the pre-minced garlic that comes in the plastic bottle that you can find near the fresh garlic at most grocery stores. It saves time and brings the taste you need. I add some sugar to sweeten it a bit, then salt and pepper to taste.
I throw all of the ingredients together and give it a good whisk. You will need to whisk it for a good 5 minutes or so to help everything come together. This recipe makes about 1/2 cup which I have found is perfect for about 4 side salads. It can easily be doubled and any leftovers can be stored in the fridge for later. This will last for about 7 days in the fridge. The dressing will naturally separate like any vinaigrette. I just give it a shake or whisk it again before using it.
I know you will love this dressing. Parmesan Vinaigrette is the perfect light and fresh dressing. It is even tasty over a bowl of pasta for a lighter pasta dish (but I think I will always prefer my Alfredo sauce!).
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese I use the pre-grated, bottled kind
- 3 tbsp canola oil or olive oil, see notes
- 3 tbsp cider vinegar see notes
- 1 1/2 tsp white sugar
- 1 tsp minced garlic see notes
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- salt and pepper to taste
- Whisk all ingredients together until well combined.Pour over a fresh cut salad or even a bowl of pasta.This dressing can be stored for up to a week in the fridge. The dressing will separtate and will need to be whisked or shaken in the container before using again.