In many grocery stores, bottled salad dressings take up the most shelf space after salsa. In the time it takes to browse the numerous choices, you can make your own dressing; it takes less than two minutes!
Many variations can be made when beginning with a basic vinaigrette recipe. That said, if you find a favorite, there’s no reason you shouldn’t stick with it; use the dressing you and your family love. After all, not every salad needs a customized dressing.
Mustard, oil and vinegar are the foundation of most vinaigrettes. Which variety of each of those ingredients you use is up to you. You can use a whisk to blend the ingredients by hand, or emulsify them with a blender, food processor or immersion blender. Again, the choice is yours. The only real key to making a good dressing is finding the proper ratio of acid (usually vinegar or citrus juice) to oil. The other ingredients--shallots, garlic, herbs, spices, dried fruit--should take a backseat to the oil and vinegar, offering complementary flavor and texture to the vinaigrette without dominating.