Serve Sweet Red Wine Vinegar Dressing with strawberry salad or your favorite greens. Either way, you'll love this easy homemade recipe that takes minutes to make!
I’ve never met anyone that did not truly like this fresh red wine vinaigrette dressing which is sweet and a little bit tangy too! It's a bold claim. But, we've tested it on many people.
It was always offered as part of our special occasion packages at our make-ahead meal kitchen. I only logged compliments.
I often use it on our “house” strawberry salad with walnuts. If you visit, you're probably going to have it as a side salad with dinner or turned into a meal by topping it with Baked Blackened Chicken or Crab Cakes. It perfectly pairs with strawberries or other berries that are in season, so that's always part of the plan.
It’s festive but does not require much work to prepare and it’s healthy too. Perfection!
This sweet red wine vinegar dressing is made with canola oil, red wine vinegar, sugar, fresh garlic, salt, paprika, and white pepper. Over time I’ve played with the formula and here are my notes:
- Don't replace the canola with olive oil. The taste is too strong. But, you can use avocado oil instead.
- It's just not the same without fresh garlic. Garlic powder doesn't offer the contrast in flavors.
- Be sure to use sweet paprika. Smoked paprika will not work!
And...it needs sugar. Sigh. I wish I could use less or eliminate it altogether. But, ¼ cup is the perfect amount of sweetness. However, 3 Tablespoons will work if you don't want it too sweet.
Here are some sugar alternatives we've tried:
- Stevia sweetener blend. I linked to the brand we use in the recipe card.
- A combination of half sugar and half stevia. This is a great compromise that still delivers the sweetness, but with less sugar.
- Honey results in a completely different taste, but can be used if this is your preferred sweetener.
I’ve come to accept that this is one the foods I cherish (kind of like cheesecake and dark chocolate) and try to make the rest of the salad healthy!
The recipe yields about ½ cup or 8 Tablespoons. It delivers plenty of flavor, so you can often cut down on the amount used per serving.
How to Make It
Beware! Once you make your own dressing, it is very hard to alternate between store-bought and homemade. You'll be hooked on the freshness of this Red Wine Vinaigrette Dressing.
To make it, just add all the ingredients to a jar with a tight fitting lid and shake. You can use an immersion blender. However, I don't find it necessary. It will settle in the jar over time so be sure to whisk everything together again before you pour it out.
Below is my favorite container for homemade salad dressing. No measuring cups required because the markings are right on the container. Mason jars work great too.
Build the Perfect Salad
Here's a breakdown of our typical salad using this sweet red wine vinaigrette along with some suggestions to make it your own. Having a go-to, tried and true dish like this makes meal planning so much easier!
- Fill a bowl with butter lettuce. Butter lettuce is tender and delicious And, I’m convinced I use less dressing with this type of lettuce because I can eat a plain leaf and enjoy it! Sometimes I toss in baby spinach leaves. A mix of any spring greens is good.
- Top the salad with toasted walnuts, pecans, or sesame seeds. Something crunchy. Toasting the walnuts adds a nice touch and only takes about 5 minutes in the oven.
- Sprinkle shredded Monterey Jack cheese over the top. Crumbled goat cheese, feta cheese, mozzarella cheese are good too.
- Add sliced strawberries, blueberries, or dried cranberries. Pick a fruity topping.
Store salad dressing in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about a week. The time it will stay good is reduced compared to other dressings because it has fresh garlic!
More Salad Dressings
Sweet Red Wine Vinegar Dressing
Red Wine Vinaigrette Dressing
- ½ cup Canola oil or avocado oil
- ¼ cup Red wine vinegar
- ¼ cup Stevia Blend Or sweetener to equal ¼ cup sugar
- 1 Garlic clove Pressed or finely miced
- ¼ teaspoon Salt
- ¼ teaspoon Paprika
- ⅛ teaspoon White pepper
- Add all of the ingredients to jar with a tight lid and shake well to combine.
This recipe was originally published 12/26/2013. It was updated to improve the reader experience.