Balsamic Vinaigrette (with Grilled Romaine and Shrimp Salad)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

You see this?  

This is the best salad dressing I have ever tasted.  And I do mean evah.

If you were looking at the salad itself, you're doing it wrong.  You can just ignore the bright, colorful summertime salad with crispy bacon, crunchy veggies, lightly charred shrimp and romaine, and tangy blue cheese.  That salad is far from the star of this post; in fact, I'd argue that it is downright B-O-R-I-N-G as compared to the dressing.  A complete snooze fest.

This post is all about the balsamic vinaigrette. 

This balsamic vinaigrette is the type of salad dressing the makes you actually WANT to eat salads.  It will have you thinking "to hell with that juicy burger and fries, pass me the bowl of rabbit food".

And let's be honest, this time of year I need all the encouragement I can get to maintain a predominantly plant based diet for the sake of my waist-line.  

And don't give me the 'ole I don't have time to make homemade salad dressing excuse.  It literally takes five minutes from start to finish.  You'd spend more time choosing a dressing from the gazillion options they have in the grocery store. 

So go ahead and chuck that bottle(s) of preservative laden, uninspiring store bought dressing you have tucked away in the fridge and make this.  I guarantee a salad binge will result.

Balsamic Vinaigrette (with Grilled Romaine and Shrimp Salad)
Makes about 1 cup
Total Time: 5 minutes

1/2 cup of good balsamic vinegar (I used Kirkland brand)
1/3 cup olive oil 
2 tablespoons Dijon or whole grain mustard (I used a combination this time)
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 - 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise 
1 tablespoon of honey
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Salt to taste

Add all ingredients to a food processor or blender and blend until smooth, about 1 minute.  Store in fridge for up to one week. 

TIP:  For the mayonnaise haters, you can omit the mayonnaise; however, it aids in the emulsifying process (think creamy) and prevents the dressing from separating when you store it in fridge.  I used homemade mayonnaise that I made for burgers a few nights before using this method.  It was unbelievable easy and so much tastier than store bought.  I may never buy mayo again.

TIP 2:  This balsamic vinaigrette makes a terrific marinade too.  

And just in case you need a vehicle for your salad dressing...

Grilled Shrimp and Romaine Salad
Serves: 2
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time:  6 minutes
Total Time: about 20 minutes

1 head of Romaine lettuce
1 pound of shrimp peeled and deveined
1 red pepper, diced
1 cucumber, diced
2 slices of bacon
2-4 ounces of quality blue cheese, crumbled (I used Maytag)
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 tablespoon olive oil 
Salt and Pepper
Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing

Heat grill to high heat.  Slice head of romaine in half length wise leaving core in tact.  Chop off top inch or so of leaves (this is usually a little brown and dry looking).  Lightly brush with olive oil and sprinkle with ground pepper. Skewer shrimp and season with salt and pepper.  Grill shrimp about 3 minutes per side over high heat until pink and cooked through.  At the same time, grill romaine for about 1 to 2 minutes per side until slightly charred.  Assemble grilled romaine, shrimp, red pepper, cucumber, tomato, and bacon on a plate.  Top with blue cheese crumbles and balsamic vinaigrette.


  1. I love grilled romaine and balsamic vinaigrette and this salad looks delicious!

    1. Thank you Ashley! Grilled romaine is always a hit in this house.


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