This Healthy Basil Port Wine Vinaigrette is the perfect crown to my Summer Melon Caprese Salad. Sweet, savory and delicious! Super easy to make especially if you have an immersion blender (paid link). Be sure and use a quality port wine, pinot noir and balsamic vinegar to make the basil vinaigrette dressing. It makes a big difference!
How is this vinaigrette healthy?
By making your own salad dressings and vinaigrettes, you automatically start with fresh ingredients which are better for you. No fake stuff.
Health benefits of balsamic vinegar
The health benefits of olive oil have long been proven, but did you know that balsamic vinegar has health benefits as well? Balsamic vinegar is high in antioxidants, helps to control blood sugar and blood glucose levels.
Other ways this vinaigrette is healthy for you
I have adapted the basic port wine vinaigrette recipe from Coriander and Lace and added my own touches. Here are my healthy changes:
- To make it healthier and have less calories, instead of 1 tablespoon of oil, I used olive oil spray (paid link) (be sure to use a good quality oil in your oil mister (paid link)) to sauté the onions/shallots.
- I took the walnut oil out completely. It adds a nutty and rich texture but I decided to save a few calories here.
- I reduced the entire mixture to only 3/4 cup instead of 1/4 cup. In her recipe she reduced the mixture down to 1/4 of a cup. Hers is definitely thicker and more delicious but it also doesn’t make as much only 10 tablespoons. I reduced the mixture to only 3/4 of a cup to make it stretch further which in turn means less calories per serving.
- Overall, calories went from 157 per tablespoon to 100 per tablespoon. It may not seem like a lot but a little here and a little there adds up especially if you decide to use 2 tablespoons on your salad – that means 114 less calories. (Her recipe is 130 calories per tablespoon but I wanted to do a direct comparison so I put her recipe into my nutrition calculator.)
Sometime when creating salad dressings and vinaigrettes, I will use water and less oil. While it’s obviously not as delicious as the full fat version and you lose some of the texture, you still have a great taste without so many calories. The healthy version is still full of flavor and tastes better than a “diet” salad dressing made with preservatives.
A note on the oils and vinegars I use
I have been in love with my 18 year aged balsamic vinegar for over 15 years. Originally I found it a farmer’s market in Monterey, California. Since then it has changed owners and the labels are different but the quality is still fantastic. I buy it in bulk. I don’t get a commision or any money from them but they are a small company and I love to promote them. It’s an old website and hasn’t been updated in years but you can also call them.
Here’s the link to the balsamic vinegar. The label in their picture on the website looks different than mine as they haven’t updated their labels on their site. I also use their Tuscan Extra Virgin olive oil which is great, but it’s the balsamic that so special and compares to none in my opinion. So thick,slightly sweet and delicious! For lunch I often have tomatoes, burrata and just this balsamic vinegar, no oil. It’s not necessary.
How to make Basil Port Wine Vinaigrette in pictures:
Spray a saucepan with olive oil spray (paid link). Heat to medium heat. Sauté the sweet onions until slightly brown.
Use a good quality pinot noir and port. Because often times I don’t like to open a whole bottle of wine, I will use my Coravin (paid link) to pull out exactly what I need without opening the bottle.
This particular pinot noir comes from Joyce Winery. I belong to Sovino, my favorite boutique wine shop in Monterey, California and they send it to me. The Whidbey Washington port I buy from Chateau Ste Michelle, also another favorite of mine and down the street from me.
Add the port and pinot noir. Bring mixture to a boil and reduce it down to 3/4 of a cup. Allow mixture to cool slightly.
To a small bowl or container (I use the one that came with my immersion blender (paid link)), add balsamic vinegar and honey.
Add port mixture and blend. Add basil. Slowly add oil and mix in slightly. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve over Summer Melon Caprese Salad or any other salad.
Healthy Basil Port Wine Vinaigrette
- 2 tablespoons sweet onion chopped
- olive oil spray
- 1 cup port use a quality drinking port
- 1/4 cup pinot noir
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar - use a good quality balsamic vinegar this is important
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves chopped
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2-3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- fresh ground pepper to taste
- Spray saucepan with olive oil spray.
- Heat to medium high heat. Add onions. Saute onions until slightly brown.
- Add port and pinot noir. Boil for about 8 minutes. Reduce mixture to about 3/4 cup. Allow to cool for a few minutes.
- In an immersion blender, add balsamic and honey.
- Add port mixture and blend. Add basil and blend. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Add olive oil and lightly blend. Keeps 1-2 weeks in the refrigerator.
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