Bistro-Style Mustard Vinaigrette

I don’t typically buy bottled salad dressings. Simple vinaigrettes take only a few minutes to throw together, and even slightly more complicated dressings like ranch or blue cheese are pretty easy. Plus, if you make them yourself you don’t have to worry about excessive sugar or high fructose corn syrup or any other strange ingredients. This recipe originally came from Cook’s Illustrated and is officially called Bistro-Style Mustard Vinaigrette, but we just call it salad crack. If you’ve never made salad dressing from scratch, this is a good place to start – it’s so easy and unbelievably good.

Salad with Bistro-Style Mustard Vinaigrette

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

Below is the original recipe from Cook’s Illustrated. I’ve made this so many times that I don’t use the recipe anymore, and I’ve tweaked it a bit over time to suit my own tastes. I like an oil to vinegar ratio that’s a little heavier on the vinegar side, and tend to use 3 parts oil for every 1 part vinegar and 1 part mustard. For two salads I usually use 6 tablespoons of oil and two each of vinegar and mustard, and leave the amounts of the rest of the ingredients about the same as in the original recipe. This is enough for two nice sized salads with a little leftover. I’ve used both fresh and dried thyme with equal success.

For Vinaigrette

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons whole-grain Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 1 small shallot , minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 small clove garlic , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

For Salad

  • 2 quarts mixed greens, washed and dried


1. For Vinaigrette: Shake all the vinaigrette ingredients together in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. The dressing can be refrigerated for up to 2 days; bring to room temperature, then shake vigorously to recombine before using.

2. For Salad: Just before serving, toss vinaigrette with prepared greens.

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