This recipe for a lemon oregano vinaigrette started as an experiment a number of years ago, after eating at a Greek restaurant. Olive oil and vinegar has always been my go-to for Italian salad dressings, but that night I was inspired to see how I could spruce up my own Italian vinaigrette.
The answer? Lemon and oregano… and a few healthy other things too!
This tangy homemade Italian dressing recipe has a wide variety of uses. However, my main goal was to create my own Italian dressing that would be healthier and tastier than anything I’d buy at the store. The result? This recipe I’m sharing with you below.
What is a Lemon Oregano Vinaigrette?
An oregano lemon vinaigrette is a dressing that can have many uses. The vinaigrette can be used for marinating chicken, rubbing on freshly grilled steaks, or my favorite – adding to a fresh salad.
This dressing is very easy to make and although you can use fresh lemon juice, I like using lemon juice concentrate for a variety of reasons which I’ll explain later. The big reason however is convenience!
All you need for making your own healthy homemade Italian dressing are the following.
Extra virgin olive oil. Always use a good quality extra virgin olive oil for your dressing.
Apple cider vinegar. Are you surprised I didn’t say red wine vinegar? I think a red wine vinegar would also taste good, but apple cider vinegar is loaded with health benefits. We use it in many of our recipes that require vinegar.
Lemon juice concentrate. Don’t be afraid to use concentrated lemon juice, it’s a big time saver!
Dried oregano. You can use either dried or fresh oregano. This is, in my opinion, the key ingredient that I love. You want to achieve just a hint of the oregano so it doesn’t overpower the rest of the dressing.
Garlic. We’ll mince the garlic in this recipe, so a garlic press will come in handy. Otherwise just chop it small and fine.
How to Make an Oregano Lemon Vinaigrette
To make a lemon oregano dressing, you’ve got to be sure that there is a good balance between the olive oil and the acidity of the vinegar and lemon juice. I work with a ratio of 2:1 with the olive oil and vinegar. And then another 2:1 ratio between the vinegar and the lemon juice.
So regardless how much you make, that’s the general rule of thumb I follow. Keep in mind however, that apple cider vinegar is fairly strong, so a little goes a long way.
Your Personal Preferences for the Acidity of a Vinaigrette
Personal preferences also play a big part. For example, my husband loves a lot of vinegar in his salad while I tend to be the opposite way.
So adjust measurements as you see fit. Remember that while you can always add more of an ingredient whether olive oil, lemon or vinegar, you can’t remove it without adding more of everything else to dilute it down again.
- Add the olive oil to a small mason jar or other container for blending.
- Mince the garlic using a garlic press AFF LINK and add to the jar.
- Add in the vinegar, lemon juice and oregano.
- Add a dash of salt and pepper (optional).
- Screw the top of the lid on and shake until it is all blended.
That’s really how easy it is.
Here are some helpful tips for your oregano lemon vinaigrette.
Emulsification occurs when the ingredients are blended together creating a thicker unified substance or consistency. However emulsification doesn’t last. The oregano lemon vinaigrette will separate after a few minutes.
This is normal and nothing to be concerned about. Simply give it a quick shake before using and you’re ready to go,
Solidifying in the fridge
You can store the vinaigrette in the fridge just like any Italian dressing, but unlike store brands, yours will harden in the colder temperature. This is a little annoying but you only need to let it sit out for a bit before using, warm it up quickly in the microwave, or run it under hot water.
Storing your Lemon Oregano Vinaigrette
If you’re wondering how long you can store your homemade healthy Italian dressing, the answer depends on who you ask. According to OXO, it’s 3-4 days. According to other food bloggers, it’s anywhere from 1 week to 3 weeks.
So from personal experience, I’ve kept mine for about 2 weeks in the fridge. It’s loaded with acidity so I highly doubt anything will spoil in that time. Typically I have used up the dressing within that time frame anyway.
Using Fresh Lemon instead of Lemon Juice in the Vinaigrette
There are a few reasons I prefer using concentrated lemon juice in my vinaigrette instead of fresh juice from a lemon. While I love the idea of a freshly squeezed lemon, there are some issues.
- Stores don’t always have organic lemons on hand. I always buy organic.
- Lemons can get expensive.
- Lemon concentrate offers consistency in flavor while lemons do not. I just bought some lemons from Walmart this week for homemade lemonade and the lemons have barely any flavor at all!
- Lemon concentrate lasts longer in the fridge and is convenient. I’m all about easy Italian recipes, and although I usually recommend using fresh ingredients in my recipes, this is one exception to the rule. I can have this dressing anytime of the year I want it and I don’t have to worry about old lemons, flavorless lemons or even if they are available.
About the Oregano
A quick note about the oregano in the vinaigrette dressing. I am using dried oregano, but fresh oregano can be used too. Chop it up finely and let it marinate with the dressing. Give it a taste test to make sure the oregano has enough flavor.
I enjoy using Greek oregano because I find it has more flavor and a stronger kick to it. That’s just me, you may prefer the milder Italian oregano in combination with the lemon and vinegar.
What to use this Oregano and Lemon Vinaigrette with?
There are lots of options, but here are a few ideas.
- Marinate some chicken breasts in it overnight. Then cook them on the grill or in the oven.
- Grill some steak and then brush the vinaigrette on top. You can actually omit the vinegar if you want.
- As a healthy Italian dressing recipe, you can add this to green salads, whether a simple Italian salad, or one with lots of freshly chopped vegetables.
- Use for grilling vegetables such as sliced eggplant, zucchini, or peppers.
Ways to Modify this Healthy Homemade Italian Dressing
This salad is already healthy with the apple cider vinegar, but you can get creative and make modifications in the following ways.
- Reduce the olive oil and add some flax seed oil.
- Remove the garlic for a garlic-free Italian dressing.
- Use red or white wine vinegar instead of the apple cider vinegar.
- Add more oregano for a stronger oregano vinaigrette.
- Omit the lemon for a simpler olive oil and vinegar dressing.
How is My Italian Oregano Lemon Dressing Different from a Greek Dressing?
The truth is everyone will have a different answer. All the ingredients I use are very common in Mediterranean cooking, so it’s no wonder there is overlap. However, I have found that many Greek recipes will add some Dijon mustard to their dressings. Mine doesn’t use mustard.
I also believe that it comes down to what we are serving it with. If I served it as a dressing with a salad with lots of Greek olives and feta cheese, then I think it would easily pass as a Greek dressing. My salads contain Italian cheeses and I love how the flavors mingle together.
Which ever side you’re on, it’s one heck of good dressing – Italian or otherwise!
I hope you enjoy this recipe for an easy to make lemon and oregano vinaigrette. Let me know your comments below and if you made any modifications to make it your own! I’d love to hear from you!
Additional Recipes You May Enjoy
Use this recipe with some grilled Italian chicken in the summertime.
If you like lemons, try this easy chicken piccata recipe.
Lemon Oregano Vinaigrette
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1.5 oz apple cider vinager this is a little less than 1/4 cup, about half of the extra virgin olive oil.
- 1/8 cup lemon juice concentrate
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 minced garlic clove
- dash salt and pepper optional
- Mince the garlic and add it to a jar with a lid or other container for mixing.
- Add in the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, oregano, and garlic.
- Optional: add a dash of salt and crushed black pepper
- Mix well until blended together and use.
- It’s common for the vinegar and olive oil to separate as the dressing sits. This is normal, just give it a shake to mix it up again.
- Use for salads, steaks, or marinated chicken.
- Adjust quantities to your preference. If you don’t like a lot of vinegar then reduce the vinegar by a little. I like to serve my salads with a bottle of vinegar on the side so my husband can add extra since he likes more vinegar than I do.
- For a larger quantity, double the recipe, but reduce the vinegar and lemon a little.