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Recipe for all-purpose agave-balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing

Agave balsamic vinaigrette

Last week, my friend Mary and I met for lunch at Bob & Timmy's, a bar at the edge of Federal Hill in Providence. I ordered a garden salad, and when it arrived, we both laughed; though billed as a side, this garden salad was the size of an actual garden! The best part was the dressing, very much like this agave-balsamic vinaigrette that's one of my own "house" dressings. For this recipe, you really shouldn't use your fanciest balsamic and extra-virgin olive oil. You want more neutral ingredients that will blend happily and equally. I buy Trader Joe's olive oil (not extra-virgin) and the least expensive TJ's balsamic vinegar, and I find large bottles of agave nectar on the bargain shelf at TJ Maxx. Three inexpensive ingredients combine to make a vinaigrette that's equally at home on green salad or roasted vegetables, drizzled on grilled chicken or strawberries. If you prefer honey, cut down slightly on the amount, as honey is a bit sweeter than agave nectar.

Agave balsamic vinaigrette

All-purpose agave-balsamic vinaigrette

From the pantry, you'll need: balsamic vinegar, olive oil, agave nectar, Dijon mustard, kosher salt, fresh black pepper.

Makes 1 cup.


1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup mild agave nectar
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 cup olive oil (not fruity)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp fresh black pepper


Combine all ingredients in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid, and shake until the dressing emulsifies; or, process in a stand blender.

Store in a jar in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Shake the jar before using.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Bread salad with roasted tomato vinaigrette
Black bean, quinoa and red pepper salad with honey-lime vinaigrette
Roasted potatoes with lemon thyme vinaigrette
Chickpea, quinoa and spinach salad with preserved lemon vinaigrette
Cannellini vinaigrette

Other recipes that use these ingredients:
Asparagus salad with raspberry almond vinaigrette, from Gluten Free Mommy
Summer chicken salad with green apple vinaigrette, from A Dash of Sass
Winter fruit salad with persimmons, pears, grapes, and agave-pomegranate vinaigrette, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Strawberry hazelnut balsamic vinaigrette salad, from Use Real Butter
Agave-sweetened chocolate ice cream, from David Lebovitz

Need more ideas for how to create salads with pizzazz? Get Dress Up Your Salad, my e-book packed with easy mix-and-match recipes, full-color photos and a few fun videos. Exciting salad recipes from everyday ingredients can be just one click away, on any computer, tablet or smart phone, with the FREE Kindle Reading app. Click here to learn more.

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I love simple vinaigrettes like this one, Lydia! I made one this weekend and it was good, but I know this one will be much better with the addition of Dijon. :-)

Thanks so much!

My family makes a very similar dressing, but instead of Dijon, we add unsweetened cocoa. It's great on a spinach and strawberry salad.

Sounds lovely. I make something very similar with maple syrup instead of agave syrup. I'd like to give it a try and see the difference.

This sounds delicious. I have been saving all of my old jars and love to have them on hand for dressings and other goodies :-)

I have a theory that folks are either "vinaigrette" types or "creamy dressing" types.
Personally- I love all things vinegar and this one looks spectacular!

That sounds very tasty! Love balsamic!

Shirley, the mustard helps emulsify the dressing, the same way it does when you make mayonnaise.

Erica, cocoa? I've never tried that but it sounds intriguing.

France, maple syrup sounds divine, and my Canadian husband would love that.

Michelle, it's great to make vinaigrette in mustard jars when you have just the last bit of mustard left in the jar. I think Dorie Greenspan wrote about that.

Carol, I agree, though I like both types, depending on the salad.

Jenn, I love balsamic, too. Can't imagine how we all lived without it!

I love a good balsamic and actually have never found my absolute favorite home version. I will have to try this out!

Sounds wonderful. I find myself craving the salad from an area restaurant that has a very similar dressing (and strips of salami and lots of olives). Delish.

Great post. I am always looking for a great balsamic recipe or bottle. Every weekend I go to my favorite italian deli and pick up some mozzerella and Bread with some fresh tomato. The balsamic is a must on your sandwich in my family so I'm gonna make some for this weekend.

I'm lovin' agave right now -- just made a cherry agave jam. I love making vinaigrettes and yours sounds really tasty!

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