You know what makes or breaks a salad? A really good salad dressing…and this fresh lemon dijon vinaigrette has a bright, zesty flavour that goes well with so many different salad combinations! It’s an easy dijon dressing that you’ll use again and again.

I never buy salad dressings. Making your own is SO easy and will save you A) a ton of cash and B) from having a graveyard of half used salad dressings. And the dietitian in me wants to tell you that making your own dressings means you can use extra virgin olive oil, my go-to oil, because commercial dressings never use the stuff.

Sauces and dressings are the stuff that brings so many plant-based recipes together, adding another layer of flavour.

Like the saying goes, “What’s a vegan’s favourite food? It’s sauce!”

Funny, but also true. You’ll notice that there are a lot of dressing and sauce recipes in Good For Your Gut cookbook…because, sauce…and so I thought it was time I start bulking up the selection here on the website, including this juicy, tangy fresh lemon dijon vinaigrette.

What’s a vinaigrette, you ask?

We use the words salad dressing and vinaigrette pretty interchangeably, but in technical terms, a vinaigrette is made from an oil and an acid. Often that’s a vinegar…but I make a lot of vinaigrettes with lime juice and lemon juice because I love the fresh taste. But/and/also, my oldest has this thing against vinegar. Can’t stand the smell of it…and therefore will not eat any dressing that smells like vinegar. Hence, I am now a fresh lemon vinaigrette kind of person.

Now, everybody has their own preferences, but I have a very strong bias towards more acid-forward vinaigrettes. Salad dressings that have more oil than vinegar? Nah, not for me…too oily and I just want more flavour!

However, that might not be you. And if it’s not, and you find this dressing tart, you can A) add another tablespoon or two of oil or B) up the sugar a bit to neutralize the acidity.

Make it yours!!!  

lemon dijon vinaigrette ingredients
just 4 basic ingredients: oil, lemon juice, dijon and a bit of sugar (plus salt and pepper!)

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Now, gather your ingredients for this lemon dijon vinaigrette

You’ll need just 4 core ingredients – dijon mustard, fresh lemon juice, olive oil, and sugar (plus salt and pepper) – to make this lemon dijon vinaigrette! Because this dressing has no garlic, it’s an awesome low FODMAP option. 

  • Dijon dressing: I’m a traditionalist here, and I favour Maille Dijon mustard, which I buy Costco-sized. Dijon works well as an emulsifer, creating a creamy texture with lots of flavour.
  • Fresh lemon juice: It’s fresh squeezed for me, but if you don’t have it on hand, buy undiluted lemon juice or substitute a light vinegar like white wine vinegar.
  • Extra virgin olive oil: my favourite everyday oil. Plenty of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and antioxidant phytochemicals.
  • Sugar: yes, I said sugar. Believe the dietitian when I say, using 1-2 teaspoons of sugar in a dressing that’s going to help you LOVE eating piles of fresh vegetables is a non-issue. I use plain cane sugar, which helps neutralize the acidity of the mustard and lemon. Diabetic? Try monk fruit, a great alternative sweetener.

FAQ: can you substitute yellow mustard for Dijon?

Not really, Dijon mustard has a totally different colour and flavour than typical yellow mustard. Made from ground mustard seeds, it’s got a bolder heat (similar to a mild wasabi) and a lot more flavour. It also has a creamier texture. Out of Dijon? Try tahini as it will also emulsify and has a wonderful nutty flavour.

How to make this fresh lemon dijon vinaigrette

It couldn’t be simpler to make your own salad dressing…which pretty much means you’ll never have to buy one again! This dressing makes enough to coat a generous, 4 serving salad, or about a half cup of dressing. It’s easy to double, so you can keep it in the fridge all week!

You can either shake up the ingredients in a mason or jam jar – or,  if you know you’re going to use it all, whisk the dressing in the bottom of your salad bowl before adding the salad ingredients!

  • Step One: Add your oil, lemon juice, sugar, Dijon, salt and pepper to a jar or bowl.
  • Step Two: Shake or whisk until well combined (phew! 2 minutes and done)

What to serve with this yummy dijon dressing recipe

I originally created this recipe for my Beet + Arugula Salad, but this dressing will go well with most greens, so why not try it with my Peach + Arugula Salad, Pasta Salad or Winter Pear + Kale Salad?

You could also drizzle lemon dijon dressing over roasted vegetables (try broccoli or cauliflower!) or grain bowls.

Tips, Tricks + Suggestions

  • This dijon dressing will easily keep – in a mason jar – for one week in the fridge, making it a great meal prep item. Because we’re using real olive oil, the oil may solidify, which will totally disappear once you bring it back to room temperature.
  • Try this maple dijon variation! Just swap the sugar for maple syrup for a luscious maple flavour.
  • No lemons on hand? Use a smaller amount of a milder vinegar here, like 3 tablespoons white wine or champagne vinegar. You could also use apple cider vinegar (perhaps 2 tablespoons to start) and adjust sugar as necessary to balance out the acidity.
hand holding lemon dijon dressing in jar

More deliciously simple salad dressings!

lemon dijon dressing in glass jar

Fresh Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette

This versatile fresh lemon dijon vinaigrette comes together in minutes and will quickly become a staple! Bright, tangy and super flavourful. Great for meal prep, and low FODMAP!
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Ingredients

  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, or avocado oil
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2-3 teaspoons cane sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • freshly cracked pepper, to taste

Instructions 

  • Add your oil, lemon juice, Dijon, sugar, salt and pepper to a jar or bowl.
  • Place lid on jar and shake (or whisk in bowl!) until well combined. Can be stored in fridge for up to one week.

Notes

Swap maple syrup for sugar for a delicious maple dijon dressing!