I’m always looking for new ways to use my stash of preserved lemons, and this preserved lemon vinaigrette is perhaps the best one. Light and lemony, it’s just the right balance of acidity and sweetness. Adding the olive oil slowly while blending makes the vinaigrette rather thick and creamy, almost like a caesar dressing.
Ready in minutes, a good lemon dressing is excellent year-round with greens (try it in kale or chard salad), grain salads, and used as the dressing for dishes like lentil salad. This is an all-season version of my strawberry vinaigrette and it’s just as flexible.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Preserved lemon: this can be homemade or store-bought. Note that if you plan on making your own, they’ll need a little over a week before they’re ready to use.
- Lemons: fresh lemon juice will taste better than jarred, but it can be used in a pinch.
- Honey: substitute maple syrup for a fully vegan option.
- Garlic: omit if you are particularly sensitive to raw alliums. There isn’t a significant garlic taste in the final product.
- Add-ins: try adding minced fresh rosemary, thyme, parsley, and even dill once the vinaigrette is blended. A minced shallot is good too.
Step by Step
Step 1: add everything but the olive oil to a mixing container or small food processor.
Step 2: blend until smooth, making sure the garlic has been mixed in.
Step 3: add the olive oil in a slow stream while blending.
Step 4: mix until smooth and thick. The oil should be emulsified.
If you’d like to have some texture, mince another 1/4 preserved lemon peel (not the flesh) and add it to the dressing after mixing. This is particularly good if you also plan on adding shallot and herbs.
As is, the vinaigrette is quite mild and doesn’t have that strong salty sharpness so characteristic to preserved lemon. It is very pleasant but if you want more of that distinctive flavour, add some extra rind as mentioned above.
How to Store
Storage: refrigerate for up to two weeks. The olive oil will probably cause the vinaigrette to harden when chilled, but it will liquify again when left at room temperature for about half an hour.
Freezing: while this can be frozen, it does separate when thawed. Freeze for up to three months and thaw in the refrigerator, then give it another blend to reincorporate the oil.
- Rinse the lemon: preserved lemons are very salty and I find it to be a bit too much if the lemon isn’t rinsed. This removes the excess salt from the outside.
- Don’t add salt: it will be salty enough without adding extra, all coming from the preserved lemon.
- Use a good olive oil: this recipe uses quite a lot of olive oil and you will taste it, so I recommend an extra virgin type that you like.
- Make it without a mixer: if you don’t have an immersion blender (I highly recommend them) or small enough mixer, make this by hand: very finely mince the preserved lemon and grate the garlic, then mix everything with a whisk. Slowly add the oil, whisking constantly, until combined. It takes some time.
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Preserved Lemon Vinaigrette
- 1 whole preserved lemon rinsed and seeds removed
- 1 clove garlic
- 50 ml fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons honey to taste
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper to taste
- 200 ml extra virgin olive oil
- Rinse the preserved lemon under fresh water, then add it to a blending container (if using an immersion blender) or small food processor. Add the garlic, lemon juice, honey, mustard, and pepper.1 whole preserved lemon, 1 clove garlic, 50 ml fresh lemon juice, 2 teaspoons honey, 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Blend until smooth, then add the olive oil in a slow stream while blending. Mix until the oil is fully incorporated and the vinaigrette is smooth and thickened.200 ml extra virgin olive oil
- Taste and adjust as needed. Serve at room temperature. The dressing will keep well in the refrigerator for up to two weeks but will solidify when chilled. This makes just over 250 ml (1 cup).
* For American cup measurements, please click the pink link text above the ingredient list that says ‘American’.
Nutrition is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate. If this information is important to you, please have it verified independently.