Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Champagne Vinaigrette

I've been on the road a lot lately, and it's SO hard to eat healthy while traveling. Jim and I both have been very busy and I’ve settled for convenience foods instead of foods that fuel my body. This week, we have decided to get back on track so I started looking for ways to make dinner salad more interesting. There are some fabulous all natural salad dressings at the grocery store, but I often find myself getting bored with the same dressing three days in a row.

Today, because it's FAT TUESDAY, I'm posting about a delish homemade Champagne Vinaigrette dressing. To make salads more interesting, I’ve decided to start making my own when possible. There are endless variations on vinaigrettes, but it basically boils down to a vinegar, an oil, and some flavorings. I’ve discovered I like the tart/sweet balance in vinaigrettes so I pulled together ingredients that will give me a salad dressing that keeps me and the hubby both interested and satisfied.

Here are the ingredients that I gathered to make my HWM Champagne Vinaigrette:
1 clove garlic
1 shallot
1 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Honey mustard
1/4 cup champagne vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons honey
3 dashes Tabasco
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil


Using a food processor, I add all the ingredients except for the olive oil. Blend until the garlic and shallot have been minced. With the food processor running, slowly pour in the olive oil in a continuous stream until the dressing has emulsified.

Taste for seasoning and add a little more of whatever you think it needs. I don't think the Tabasco adds a real spiciness to the dressing, it just gives a subtle layer of flavoring. The honey is absolutely awesome here, balancing the tartness of the champagne vinaigrette.

If you don't have or can't find champagne vinaigrette, use another type of vinegar like apple cider vinegar, sherry vinegar, balsamic or red wine vinegar.

If you don't have or want to use honey, try agave nectar, apple juice or maple syrup.

If you don't have shallot, try red onions, or use garlic by itself.

I used an entire bag of a baby spinach medley to make two dinner size salad portions, and I still had enough salad dressing left over to dress a third and maybe fourth salad. Put the leftover dressing in a covered container and refrigerate for a couple of days. If needed, use a whisk to reincorporate the olive oil into the dressing.

Whipping this together took less than five minutes. From WebMD, here are four healthy reasons to eat a salad today:
  1. Eat Salads for the Fiber:   It's hard to believe that something we can't even digest can be so good for us! Eating a high-fiber diet can help lower cholesterol levels, help you feel fuller, eat less, and ultimately lose weight.
  2. Eat Salads for the Health Benefits of Fruits and Vegetables:  We need to eat more fruits and vegetables because there is plenty of evidence that nutrient-rich plant foods contribute to overall health. In addition to higher blood levels, there are a host of powerful antioxidants found in green salads (vitamin C and E, folic acid, lycopene, and alpha- and beta-carotene,) especially if your salad includes some raw vegetables.
  3. Eat Salads to Cut Calories and Increase Satisfaction:  If losing weight is your goal, you may want to start your meals with a green salad. Studies have shown that eating a low-calorie first course, like a green salad of 150 calories or less, enhances the feelings of fullness and reduces the total number of calories eaten during the meal.
  4. Eat Salads to Get Smart Fats:  Eating a little good fat (like the monounsaturated fat found in olive oil, avocado and nuts) with your vegetables appears to help your body absorb protective phytochemicals, like lycopene from tomatoes and lutein from dark green vegetables. If you dress your salad with a little olive oil, there may even be some additional years in it for you. Italian research on people aged 60 and older has suggested that a diet that includes plenty of olive oil and raw vegetables is linked to reduced mortality.

I topped my salad with croutons and some Texas pecans.

The NEXT day, I tossed the spring lettuce mix with the vinaigrette, topped with grilled spicy chicken (Bobby Flay Spiced Chicken Seasoning), diced Granny Smith apples, Texas pecans, crumbled blue cheese and a few won ton crisps. Believe it or not, I prepared this salad three days in a row for lunch - it is to die for!


  1. yummm- can't wait to make that! Looks dynamite! and I totally agree- blue cheese, fruit, and chicken would have been really good!

  2. That must have been one honking great garlic clove, if it equaled one whole tablespoon!

  3. Michele, thanks for pointing that out. You are right, I didn't "measure" I just added a garlic clove to my cuisinart and while retyping the recipe I guessed at the measurement. I removed that line and just left it at "one garlic clove." Much better!

  4. I love all of the flavour here Mandy. I have enjoyed exploring your blog so far, now I am off to discover more.

  5. Wowza. Loved it! Omitted the shallot and honey mustard, and used a dash of cayenne in place of the Tabasco. Thanks so much.

  6. Honey like in the picture, or honey mustard? :-)


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