This simple lemon herb vinaigrette is the perfect homemade salad dressing, but it's also great for marinades! It's light and bright and perfect for summer.
As my Prep Dish subscribers know, I often turn to balsamic vinaigrette as my go-to. It's classic, delicious and super versatile, what can I say?
However, summer is the season of salads and I don't mind spending a few extra minutes to prep a bright lemon herb vinaigrette that tastes amazing when salad is the star of the show. (And I literally mean a few extra minutes – this comes together in just 3 minutes, promise.)
Lemon herb vinaigrette is the perfect way to use up some of those herbs that might be growing a little too fast in your garden. While it calls for basil and parsley, this is definitely a recipe where you can get creative. Dill or rosemary would also be delicious!
And don't feel limited to salads, lemon vinaigrette makes an excellent marinade as well.
I love this recipe so much I made a video on it as well – check it out for more tips!
Want more homemade salad dressings? Check out this post for my favorites.
Lemon Herb Vinaigrette
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- handful fresh parsley & basil
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- juice of 2 lemons
- 1 tsp honey (optional)
- sea salt to taste
- Add all ingredients to blender or food processor.
- Blend until smooth.*
How can I use this lemon herb vinaigrette?
The most obvious way to use this homemade salad dressing is of course on salad. It would pair well with my Superfood Salad in place of the balsamic vinaigrette or with my Massaged Kale Salad. I also share 10 of my favorite salad combos in this post so make sure to check it out for some serious salad inspiration!
This lemon herb vinaigrette goes way beyond salad though. It also makes a great marinade, particularly for chicken or seafood. Marinate chicken from 2-24 hours but make sure to only marinate salmon or shrimp for about 30 minutes as they can start to break down from the acid in the lemon juice.
You can also use the vinaigrette to flavor cooked vegetables! It would be particularly delicious on roasted carrots or grilled zucchini.
I love making a double batch and using it as both a salad dressing and a marinade in my meal plan.
How can I vary this lemon herb dressing?
The best way to vary this lemon dressing recipe is to switch up the herbs! Fresh dill would be so flavorful and rosemary or tarragon would be lovely as well. You really can't go wrong!
You could also add a touch of dijon if you want a little more bite to the vinaigrette or some black pepper for a bit of spice.
The honey is totally optional, so add more or less to suit your taste. Or, try pure maple syrup instead for a slightly different flavor.
If you prefer a creamy salad dressing, whisk in 1/4 cup plain Green yogurt. This also results in a more mellow flavor if super strong lemon isn't your thing.
Is it worth it to make homemade salad dressing?
While I do love cooking and have built my business around prepping homemade, quality food, I'm also human. I get that people simply don't have time to make everything from scratch and there are certain things I don't think are always worth making homemade.
In my opinion, though, salad dressing is pretty much always worth the effort.
First of all, it's super simple to make from scratch. We're talking just a few minutes.
Second of all, you almost always have the ingredients on hand for a basic vinaigrette.
And lastly, there are just some plain weird ingredients in a lot of bottled salad dressings. In addition to the preservatives and ingredients you can't pronounce, bottled dressings are often loaded with low quality oils, excess sodium and sugar. These are not things I want to pour onto a beautiful healthy salad!
Even if you do find a pre-made dressing with decent ingredients, I think homemade just tastes better. And if it tastes better, you'll find yourself eating more salads, so it's a win-win!
What are the nutritional highlights of lemon vinaigrette?
This bright lemon vinaigrette is not just full of flavor, it's full of nutritional goodness! Check out some of the stats:
- Olive Oil: Due to the type of fat it contains, olive oil may reduce inflammation. It also reduces the risk of Alzheimer's, stroke, and heart disease. Make sure to get high quality extra virgin olive oil, as it retains more antioxidants and nutrients.
- Lemon Juice: Just one lemon provides 51% of the daily recommended vitamin C. This is important not only to fight colds, but for long term health as studies show consuming produce with vitamin C helps prevent heart disease and stroke. Consuming lemons can also help protect against anemia and kidney stones.
- Garlic: Garlic has been used in homeopathic remedies for thousands of years and is thought to reduce the risk of heart disease, high cholesterol, and some types of cancer.
- Basil: A significant source of vitamin K, basil also may reduce memory loss, blood pressure, and depression. Smelling basil also may help you feel more alert so consider growing some in a kitchen garden to smell whenever you need a boost!
- Parsley: Parsley is packed with calcium, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K. This herb is great for your immune system, eye health, bone health, heart health, and blood sugar levels – pretty much everything!
FAQ – Everything You Want to Know about Lemon Herb Vinaigrette
What is lemon vinaigrette made of?
Lemon vinaigrette's essential ingredients are simply lemon juice and olive oil. I love adding a touch of honey and garlic to add depth of flavor. And, of course, this lemon herb vinaigrette includes plenty of fresh herbs as well.
What does lemon herb vinaigrette taste like?
Lemon herb vinaigrette tastes bright and fresh and, if properly balanced, not overly sour or acidic.
Why is my lemon vinaigrette bitter?
If your lemon vinaigrette is bitter, you may have over-blended the herbs. Just do a few quick pulses in the blender or food processor to avoid bitterness.
What if lemon vinaigrette is too lemony?
Lemons of course vary in size and quantity of juice so you should definitely taste your lemon herb vinaigrette and adjust as needed. If it tastes too lemony for your liking, you can either add a bit more honey or more olive oil. Just add a little at a time and keep tasting until you love it.
Do you have to refrigerate lemon vinaigrette?
Yes, you should store lemon vinaigrette in the fridge. Let it come to room temperature before using.