Lemon Vinaigrette

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

Drew and I are lucky to have Meyer lemons growing in our backyard, so they are a main ingredient in our family’s everyday “house dressing,” which we enjoy on any type of salad green. Because Meyers are a little sweeter than regular lemons, they make an especially delicious dressing, but regular lemons will be good, too. The fresh-squeezed juice from either variety turns a basic vinaigrette into one that sparkles with bright flavors. (For more about Meyer lemons, see the Notes.)

No one knows for sure, but Meyer lemons are believed to be a cross between a lemon and a mandarin orange. They are not as sour as the typical supermarket lemon and are less acidic. Meyer lemons have thin, smooth skins that range in color from bright yellow to orangey-yellow. They are often smaller than regular lemons. Meyers grow in many backyards in California and Arizona. They are gaining popularity nationwide, so they may soon appear in your local specialty produce market.

If Meyer lemons are not available, you can sweeten regular lemon juice to simulate their taste. For this marinade, substitute 1¼ cups of fresh lemon juice and ¼ cup of fresh orange juice for the Meyer lemon juice. Or, add 1 tablespoon of sugar to 1½ cups of lemon juice.



Total Timeunder 15 minutes

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, lactose-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegetarian

Five Ingredients or LessYes

Taste and Texturefruity, garlicky, light, savory, tart


  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, preferably Meyer
  • 2/3 cup high-quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 large cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • ¾ teaspoon coarse or kosher salt


  1. Place all the ingredients in a glass jar and seal the lid tightly. Shake the jar vigorously to combine.

  2. The vinaigrette can be refrigerated, covered, for up to 1 week. Let it return to room temperature and remove the garlic cloves before using.



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