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  • Writer's pictureElissa Strassman

How to Make a Great Tasting Marinade or Vinaigrette

This blog post comes sponsored by, F. Oliver' s.

All photography and opinions are that of my own.

What do you do when you want to share with others just how easy, simple, delicious and fun it can be to make your own salad dressings and marinades from scratch?

You go to those who specialize in just that!

This past week I had the pleasure of connecting with my friends at F. Oliver’s, to learn, share and discuss all of what goes into making a great tasting marinade or vinaigrette.

Interestingly enough, we both agreed that the ingredients of both a marinade and a vinaigrette are practically the same(oil, acid, herbs and spices).and that it’s just the ratio of acid to oil that may be a little different.

So, what’s a marinade? What’s a vinaigrette? And, what’s the difference between a marinade and vinaigrette?

What is a marinade?

A marinade is a mixture that usually contains oil, acid, herbs and spices, and is poured over meat, seafood, poultry, fish,vegetables and other foods. The food is then soaked in the marinade before it is cooked in order to impart flavor and to help tenderize foods.

In addition, when soaked for 30 minutes or more, marinades can also help reduce the formation of HCAs (heterocyclic amines). A substance that has been found to be linked to cancer, when cooking meat, fish and poultry, at high temperatures (over 300 degrees Fahrenheit), with methods such as grilling, broiling, charbroiling, pan frying, or cooking directly over a flame.

What is a vinaigrette?

A vinaigrette is a sauce typically made of oil, acid, herbs and spices. Most often it is served on salads or as a finishing sauce.

In addition to enhancing a food's flavor, oil in a vinaigrette can help us to better absorb fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K and antioxidants alpha carotene, beta carotene, lutein and lycopene, when eaten with foods that contain those nutrients.

What’s the difference between a marinade and a vinaigrette?

I guess, it’s all in how you use it. Both marinades and vinaigrettes can be used interchangeably, however, some people may suggest the ratio of oil to acid may vary a little, depending on what you are making(marinade or vinaigrette).

Basic Blueprint for Both a Marinade and Vinaigrette:



​1 part acid, to 1 part oil

Salt, pepper, herbs and spices to taste

​​1 part acid, to 1-3 parts oil

Salt, pepper, herbs and spices to taste

Below you will find a basic marinade or vinaigrette recipe, however, remember this is just a blueprint, you can adjust the ratios and seasonings to your liking!

Basic Marinade or Vinaigrette Recipe:


½ c. Citrus juice/vinegar of choice/wine

½ c. Olive oil

4- 6 Garlic cloves, minced

1/4 c. Chopped fresh herbs, like parsley, oregano, and rosemary

Salt and pepper to taste


Mix all of the ingredients together, taste and adjust ingredients as needed.

Use for a marinade over meat, poultry, seafood or vegetables, or a vinaigrette to top salads or other things.


  • For a creamier texture, try mixing in a little bit of mustard, for a little sweetness, maple syrup or honey, might be a nice addition.

  • For a creamy dressing: consider adding one part plain yogurt/Greek yogurt or mayonnaise to your one part vinegar, and one to three parts olive oil.

Now that you have this basics down, guess what? The fun can begin! Try changing up the flavors by using different combinations of herbs and spices.

Using different flavored infused vinegars or single varietal, fused and infused oils, can make it easy to play around with tastes too! Click here for some flavor combination ideas.

Bonus: With the use of infused oil and flavored-infused vinegars, sometimes all you need is a little salt and pepper and you are good to go!

What are the benefits to making your own marinade or vinaigrette:

  • Easy

  • Customizable: you have more control of the ingredients and the flavor profile.

  • Comes together quick

  • Can be cost effective if using ingredients you already keep and have on hand. It may also help to reduce food waste in that we can make and use only the amounts that we need.

  • But, above all…it tastes great…give it a try and see for yourself!

Still need some help in coming up with ideas?

The F. Oliver’s team is dedicated to continued learning, love educating others and guiding people through a tasting of their oil and balsamic vinegars and spices. Stop in sometime, they will welcome you with open arms, a warm smile, and offer the assistance and guidance you need to feel confident in getting your flavor combos just right!

A big thank you goes out to the F. Oliver's team for a wonderful learning and tasting experience and for sponsorship of this blog post.


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