Looking for something to make your spring mix or spinach salad amazing? Try our favorite balsamic vinaigrette. Homemade salad dressing is budget-friendly and this one is made with simple ingredients that take 2 minutes to whirr together!

balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing pingraphic

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It took me way too long to learn why my spring mix and spinach salads always tasted weird. Because I grew up in the ’90s, Ranch dressing was our go-to salad topper. While it might make kids eat broccoli, ranch dressing does not taste good on dark green leafy veggies – specifically spinach, spring mix, and kale.

But you know what does makes them taste amazing? Balsamic vinaigrette.

Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette

This sweet and tangy dressing is the perfect flavor companion for dark leafy salads. Greens like spinach, baby greens, and red leaf lettuce have a very different flavor than romaine or green leaf lettuce, and using the right salad dressing with them take your salad from “Meh, I like Caesar salad,” to “Wow! Glad I made extra!”

We use balsamic vinaigrette when we get tubs of marked down spring mix salad from Kroger – there’s a lot of it, and I wonder if it’s because people simply don’t know how to dress it properly.

markdown greens

Always use balsamic vinaigrette with dark leafy greens. It’s just better.

Specifically, we use this salad dressing in our Simple Autumn Spring Mix Salad. It’s the perfect salad for cooler weather when we aren’t eating tomatoes and cucumbers anymore. Instead, we use seasonal veggies to make awesome salads for the rest of the year.

My favorite recipe is this one from Barefeet in the Kitchen, but I simplified it using ingredients we keep on hand and that fit our budget.

balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing ingredients

Homemade Balsamic Salad Dressing

We have dealt with dairy and gluten issues over the years, and recently, one of our kids was diagnosed with corn and egg sensitivities. Our go-to salad dressings have to address that.

This Balsamic Vinaigrette is:

  • Dairy-free
  • Gluten-free
  • Nut-free
  • Egg-free
  • Paleo
  • Easy salad dressing for spinach
  • Homemade salad dressing for spring mix
  • Homemade salad dressing for arugula salad
  • Easy salad dressing for kale

But is Making Your Own Salad Dressing Worth It?

I know making your own salad dressing might sound over the top, but hear me out. Pick up a jar of salad dressing from the store and read the ingredients. Do you even know what those all those things are? Homemade salad dressing takes about 2 minutes to make, and you know exactly what’s going in it.

Your time is precious, and you probably don’t want to make everything from scratch if you can help it. For that same reason, we are very particular about what we make from scratch. Only the most important items make the cut.

balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing

Here is why salad dressing makes the cut for me: When we decide to eat healthy, most of us look to salad. But when you learn about real food and the power of clean ingredients, conventional salad dressing doesn’t fit. I want to eat food that I can pronounce, that isn’t full of oils that might be bad for me, added sugar, or food allergens.

So instead of taking my fairly healthy salad and drizzling it with a bunch of questionable ingredients, I want a salad dressing that tastes good and is made with simple, powerful ingredients.

Since so many of us look to salads to help us eat better, let’s make sure our salad dressings help us eat better too.

green leafy salad

Budget-Friendly Balsamic Vinaigrette

Some stores carry salad dressings made with clean ingredients. But they cost a lot more. When you’re on a tight budget, you can’t afford to spend a lot of money on condiments.

Instead, we buy a few quality ingredients in bulk or at inexpensive stores, then combine to make amazing salad dressings we feel good about.

This salad dressing is made with simple ingredients you probably already have on hand already – no fancy mustard, garlic powder is an option instead of fresh garlic, etc.

Homemade Salad Dressing for Spinach, Spring Mix, & Kale

When we get giant boxes of markdown spring mix from Kroger (this happens a lot. Spring Mix is not everyone’s favorite – maybe because they don’t eat it with balsamic vinaigrette!), we need a salad dressing that makes them taste amazing.

If you’re looking for a simple, versatile, budget-friendly balsamic salad dressing, look no further. This is it.

balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing

Easy Salad Dressing for Quinoa

If you want to take your quinoa up a notch, drizzle a little if this over the top. If you like and your budget allows for it, crumble a little feta cheese or goat cheese on the top. Amazing.

Easy Salad Dressing to Make

One of the first ways we started eating healthier on a tiny budget involved condiments. We wanted to nourish our bodies with ingredients we could pronounce, and we didn’t have a lot of money to spend on expensive oils and vinegars.

In fact, we could barely afford any vinegar or oils. Only the really versatile and frugal ingredients made it into the kitchen.

Salad dressing takes just a few seconds to mix together, and you can store it in the fridge and use it as needed, just like store-bought – except now you know exactly what is in it.

balsamic vinaigrette salad
balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing in the blender

Equipment for Making Balsamic Vinaigrette

All you need are some measuring spoons, cups, and a pint-size jar. I prefer wide mouth for easier cleaning.

However, to prevent messes, spills, and children who pour out too much dressing, we use a salad dressing bottle we found at a thrift store. It works great, but I like this one or this one because they look less like a 90’s kitchen thrift store find.

We blend our dressings in a small blender. It’s faster, and I like the thick creamy consistency you get with blended dressings. You can use a Magic Bullet or Nutribullet (which is what we have). If you have a small-mouth canning jar, you can use them in your standard-size blender base! Or simply use a spoon, whisk, or tight-fitting lid and vigorous shake.

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and tag a photo #cheapskatecook and @cheapskatecook on Instagram. 

Simple, Budget-Friendly Balsamic Vinaigrette

Simple, Budget-Friendly Balsamic Vinaigrette

Yield: 1 cup
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

A delicious, tangy recipe that's perfect with dark leafy salad greens and made with ingredients you probably already have.


  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar , (or more balsamic)
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, (or 1/4 tsp garlic powder)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper


  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender. Turn on for a few seconds, until the garlic clove is completely blended. Alternatively, you can use garlic powder (or minced garlic clove) and whisk the ingredients together by hand.
  2. Pour the balsamic vinaigrette into a pint-size jar or salad dressing bottle. Store in the refrigerator. Because olive oil hardens at cooler temperatures, either warm the dressing on the counter for 30 minutes - 1 hour before use, or microwave it for 15 seconds.

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Nutrition Information
Yield 16 Serving Size 2 tbsp
Amount Per Serving Calories 101Total Fat 10gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 8gCholesterol 0mgSodium 84mgCarbohydrates 3gFiber .1gSugar 3gProtein 0g

Please note: The actual calories and nutrition of this dish will change depending on what ingredients you use. Nutrition information is not always accurate.

Did you make this recipe?

If you try this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, and tag your photo @cheapskatecook on Instagram.

Delicious & Versatile Balsamic Vinaigrette

Use balsamic vinaigrette as a marinade, on Autumn Spring Mix Salad, spinach salad, kale salad, quinoa, and more.

Every family is unique, but in our house, we keep this, Greek dressing, and sometimes Creamy Caesar and Kate’s famous Ranch in our kitchen, and that’s it.

What You Can Do Now:

Have you ever made balsamic vinaigrette before?

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