(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

Winter gets a bad rap when it comes to fresh fruit. Sure, it might not be quite as bountiful as the summer months, but what it lacks in quantity it makes up for with its sunny assortment of citrus.

A Citrus-Herb Vinaigrette: The Basic Formula

Here's the thing about making your own vinaigrette — it really couldn't be any easier. It's not an exact science, and it doesn't require precise measurements. Instead, it comes together with a simple formula that offers plenty of leeway: roughly one part acid to three parts oil. But that ratio isn't set in stone; use more or less acid, like citrus or vinegar, to suit your taste.

For the acid, we're turning to winter's shining citrus superstars: lemons, limes, navel oranges, blood oranges, and grapefruits. These bright fruits bring sweetness and tang, and easily liven up winter salads.

Even though citrus is the primary acidic ingredient in these dressings, I also like to pour in a small splash of white wine vinegar. It helps to balance the sweetness from the fruit, and it makes the vinaigrette just a little bit punchier. You could easily substitute another mild vinegar, like champagne or rice vinegar.

Then, of course, there are the flavor boosters; those little add-ins — like fresh chopped herbs, citrus zest, minced shallots, and salt and pepper — that round out the vinaigrette to make it pop.

For each vinaigrette, you'll need four things to get started:

  • 1/2 minced shallot
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

5 Easy Citrus-Herb Vinaigrettes

Take that basic vinaigrette template, and then plug in any one of these citrus and herb combos. Combine all the ingredients in a jar, tighten the lid, and shake away. All that's left to do is make your favorite salad.

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(Image credit: Kelli Foster)
(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

Lemon + Thyme

Makes about 1 cup

If the mid-winter blues is getting you down, this tangy, lemony vinaigrette is just what you need to brighten your spirits, and you your salad. It tastes like a big, fresh burst of sunshine.

Combine the zest and juice of 1 large lemon, 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, 1/2 minced shallot, 1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar, and a pinch of salt and pepper in a jar. Pour in 3/4 cup of olive oil. Seal the lid and shake to mix together.

(Image credit: Kelli Foster)
(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

Blood Orange + Mint

Makes about 1 cup

These deep red citrus fruits make for a sweet dressing with a soft hint of minty flavor.

Combine the zest and juice of 2 medium blood oranges, 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint, 1/2 minced shallot, 1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar, and a pinch of salt and pepper in a jar. Pour in 3/4 cup of olive oil. Seal the lid and shake to mix together.

(Image credit: Kelli Foster)
(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

Grapefruit + Basil

Makes about 1 cup

Tart, slightly bitter grapefruit meets its match with sweet basil leaves for a well-balanced vinaigrette that will certainly liven up your salad.

Combine the zest and juice of 1/2 large grapefruit, 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil, 1/2 minced shallot, 1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar, and a pinch of salt and pepper in a jar. Pour in 3/4 cup of olive oil. Seal the lid and shake to mix together.

(Image credit: Kelli Foster)
(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

Navel Orange + Oregano

Makes about 1 cup

Fresh oregano gives this mild, sweet dressing a nice herbal boost.

Combine the zest and juice of 1 medium navel orange, 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano, 1/2 minced shallot, 1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar, and a pinch of salt and pepper in a jar. Pour in 3/4 cup of olive oil. Seal the lid and shake to mix together.

(Image credit: Kelli Foster)
(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

Lime + Cilantro

Makes about 1 cup

This is a tart and tangy vinaigrette that will really make your winter salad shine.

Combine the zest and juice of 2 large limes, 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro, 1/2 minced shallot, 1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar, and a pinch of salt and pepper in a jar. Pour in 3/4 cup of olive oil. Seal the lid and shake to mix together.