Step into a world of delightful flavors with our latest creation - a spinach salad dressing that's as flavorful as it is nutritious. This easy-to-make vinaigrette is the perfect blend of tangy, sweet, and savory elements that will take your salads to a whole new level. Bursting with the goodness of fresh, seasonal raspberries and heart-healthy balsamic, it's a surefire way to elevate your plant-based meals.
This vinaigrette sauce is a winner because of its vibrant taste, effortless preparation, and incredible nutritional profile, much more than regular store-bought salad dressings. With frozen or fresh raspberries at its core, every spoonful is brimming with potent antioxidants and essential nutrients.
Raspberries are particularly high in fiber and vitamin C, making them an excellent addition to your diet. Their bright, slightly tart flavor profile lends a unique depth to salad dressings, adding the flavor you never knew your salads needed. We especially love how it pairs with our spinach apple walnut salad.
The beauty of this recipe lies in its versatility - drizzle it over your favorite greens, use it as a dip, or even as a marinade for your plant-based proteins.
💚 Why you will love it
- Utterly Simple Prep
- Naturally Sweetened
- Health-Boosting Ingredients
- Versatile Dressing
- No oil
- Fresh, Bold Flavors
This raspberry vinaigrette salad dressing is made with just a few delicious ingredients:
- Fresh or frozen raspberries: These ruby gems are not just for their sweet-tart flavor; they're also packed with antioxidants and fiber, supporting overall health while adding a vibrant punch to the dressing.
- Balsamic vinegar: Besides lending a rich, tangy undertone, this vinegar also has a hint of sweetness and is full of beneficial polyphenols, adding depth and health benefits to the mix.
- Red onion: A small quantity of this pungent vegetable imparts a mild spicy kick and essential nutrients, including quercetin, which has anti-inflammatory properties.
- Garlic powder: An effortless way to infuse the dressing with a warming, earthy taste, it also carries allicin, known for its immunity-boosting properties.
- Dijon Mustard: This adds a beautiful hint of spice and complexity, and mustard seeds, from which it's made, are rich in selenium, which can aid in reducing inflammation.
- Maple Syrup: This natural sweetener balances the acidity of vinegar and the tartness of raspberries. It's a healthier sugar alternative, rich in antioxidants and minerals like zinc and manganese.
- Dried thyme: A sprinkle of this herb adds an aromatic, earthy note that complements the other flavors while also contributing a dose of beneficial antioxidants.
- Salt and black pepper.
See the recipe card for quantities.
- Balsamic Vinegar: If you find yourself out of balsamic vinegar, don't worry! Here are some options:
- White wine vinegar: This will give your dressing a sharp, clean tang. However, it's more acidic than balsamic, so you might want to add a bit more sweetener to balance it out.
- Red Wine Vinegar: Another excellent option, red wine vinegar offers a fruity, tangy taste. It's less sweet than balsamic, so consider adjusting the quantity of maple syrup accordingly.
- Raspberry Vinegar: Raspberry vinegar is a great choice for a stronger flavor. It also brings a lovely color to the dressing!
- Lemon Juice: While this might change the flavor profile, lemon juice or other citrus juice can provide the needed acidity in a pinch. It's zesty and refreshing, adding brightness to your dressing.
- Apple cider vinegar is also a great sub.
- Maple Syrup: If maple syrup isn't your thing or you don't have it on hand, agave nectar is a fantastic substitute. It's also plant-based and has a similar level of sweetness. Another option could be date syrup, which adds a rich, caramel-like sweetness, but keep in mind it may darken the color of your dressing.
- Dijon Mustard: Yellow mustard can work as a substitute, but it's a bit more pungent than Dijon, so adjust the quantity to your liking. You could also use a small amount of wasabi or horseradish for a spicier kick.
- Dried Thyme: If you don't have dried thyme, use other herbs like oregano or marjoram.
- Red Onion: If red onions aren't available, you can swap them out with several other options.
- Shallots are a great substitute as they offer a mild, slightly sweet flavor similar to red onions.
- Leeks: Leeks can also work. They have a more subtle flavor than red onions and are especially delicious when sautéed or caramelized before adding to the dressing.
- Garlic Powder: Fresh minced garlic is an excellent alternative if you run out of garlic powder. You can also sub for onion powder.
Immersion or regular blender or food processor.
This raspberry vinaigrette recipe involves one simple step: measuring and blending!
Step 1: Place all the chopped ingredients in the blender or food processor's vase.
Step 2: Blend and scrape with a spatula if needed. Check the texture and adjust if needed, adding more water for a more liquid dressing or raspberries for a thicker version.
Hint: we like making our summer vinaigrettes oil-free, especially if they already have a thickening agent like blended berries. However, you can add two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil or grapeseed oil if you want the oil's flavor to be less overpowering.
💡 Expert tips
Balance is Key: Achieving the perfect balance between sweet and tart is crucial for this dressing. Start with a measured amount of sweetener, then adjust to taste. If your raspberries are extra tart, you might need more sweetener than the recipe calls for. Conversely, you might want to dial back a bit if they're very sweet.
Quality Ingredients Matter: Since this dressing has so few ingredients, each must shine. Opt for high-quality balsamic vinegar and fresh, ripe raspberries for the best flavor. The difference in taste between top-notch balsamic vinegar and the regular stuff can be pretty significant, making it worth the splurge.
Blend Until Smooth: Blend the dressing thoroughly to achieve that silky, smooth texture. Any standard blender should do the trick, but if you're using a less powerful model, you might need to blend for a little longer. Don't rush this step; the smoothness of the dressing makes it more appealing and easier to mix with your salad.
If you want to make the raspberry vinaigrette super thin, you can pass it through a fine mesh strainer before bottling it.
Taste and Adjust: After blending, taste your dressing and adjust the seasonings as necessary. Sometimes, a little extra pinch of salt or a few more drops of apple cider vinegar can make the flavors pop. Remember, the dressing will taste slightly stronger on its own than on a salad, so aim for a bolder flavor.
Storage Smarts: This dressing can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. If it separates or thickens in the fridge, just give it a good shake or a quick blend to restore consistency. Making a batch ahead of time saves you preparation time and allows the flavors to meld beautifully.
🥢 How to serve
This balsamic raspberry dressing shines in its versatility, transforming your salad recipes into something extra special with its vibrant flavor profile.
One classic way to serve it is by drizzling it over a Walnut and baby spinach Salad. The dressing brings a pleasantly sweet, tangy contrast to the nutty, crunchy walnuts, pumpkin seeds, candied pecans, and fresh, earthy spinach. Toss in some juicy sliced pears or apples for a fruity touch or vegan feta cheese to add some extra complexity, and you've got a gourmet salad!
But why stop at salads? The options are only limited by your creativity. This homemade dressing is a delightful dip for freshly cut veggies or even grilled tofu skewers. The tart-sweet profile of the dressing makes it a wonderful pairing for various plant-based proteins.
You could also use it as a marinade for roasted vegetables. Picture a tray of roasted Brussels sprouts, carrots, and sweet potatoes, all caramelized and flavorful, further enhanced by this bright and zesty dressing.
And let's not forget grain bowls. A hearty bowl of quinoa or farro topped with assorted veggies, chickpeas, and a generous drizzle of this raspberry vinaigrette is a feast for the eyes and the palate.
Yes, this raspberry vinaigrette can be a suitable choice for diabetics, especially with a small modification. Maple syrup, while a healthier sweetener, does contain natural sugars which can affect blood glucose levels. To make the dressing more diabetic-friendly, consider eliminating the maple syrup from the recipe. The natural sweetness from the raspberries should provide a subtle sweetness. As always, it's recommended that individuals with diabetes consult their healthcare provider or a dietitian when incorporating new foods into their diet.
Proper storage is crucial to maintain the freshness and flavor of your homemade dressings. Follow these simple steps:
- Choose the Right Container: For best results, store your dressing in an airtight container, glass jar, or bottle. This will keep your vinaigrette fresh and protect it from absorbing any odors in your fridge.
- Refrigerate Immediately: After preparation, allow the dressing to cool to room temperature. Once cooled, close the container tightly and place it in the refrigerator.
- Shake Before Use: As with most vinaigrettes, the ingredients may separate when stored. This is completely normal. Simply give the bottle a good shake before each use to re-emulsify the dressing.
- Check the Freshness: it can be kept in the fridge for up to a week. Remember to always check for freshness before use. If it smells off, or you see any signs of mold, discard the remaining dressing.
By following these steps, you'll be able to savor this vibrant, flavorful dressing throughout the week, adding a pop of flavor to your favorite dishes!
📚 More vinaigrette recipes
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Spinach Salad Dressing
- Measure your ingredients.
- Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend for 30 seconds.
- Enjoy with your favorite salad.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice. See our full Nutritional Disclosure here.
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