This preserved lemon vinaigrette/dressing is a delicious mix of tangy lemon and warm spice flavors. It works particularly well with crunchy autumnal/winter salads but would also be great mixed through couscous and more.
This post may contain affiliate links, where we earn from qualifying purchases. See more details in the policy page.
As I mentioned when I shared my preserved lemon recipe, they are a great ingredient to have on hand to add to various dishes. They are easy to make and great to just store at the back of the fridge for as and when (you can also buy them ready-prepared, though they take very little prep).
This dressing is a perfect example of a way to make the most of their wonderfully complex tart-salty flavor. You only need a few extra ingredients to make this bright mixture that can add fantastic flavor to salads and more.
What's the difference between a vinaigrette and a dressing?
The two terms can be confusing and there is some overlap. A vinaigrette is a type of dressing but not all dressings are vinaigrettes. Vinaigrettes always include something acidic, typically either vinegar or lemon juice, along with oil.
The classic ratio for a vinaigrette is three parts oil to one part vinegar/lemon. In many cases, you also add small amounts of other seasonings such as a little salt, herbs or spices. In some, such as a French vinaigrette, you use a little mustard to help emulsify the mixture.
A dressing, meanwhile, can be much broader in the ingredients. So for example those creamier dressings like ranch or caesar dressing would count as dressings but would not be a vinaigrette.
Preparing the preserved lemon
For this recipe you just want a little of the rind of a piece of preserved lemon. A little goes a long way with it, though I have used a relatively decent amount here to really get the flavor.
You can either finely chop the rind, as I have, then shake all the ingredients together, or you can whizz things up in a small food processor. This way, you may get the pieces smaller but it will depend on your food processor.
Since preserved lemons are a Moroccan ingredient, I have kept with the flavor profile in this dressing by using cumin, paprika and garlic. They complement the lemon really well and the overall mix has lots of flavor going on. I've strayed slightly from the classic ratio with less oil here. You could easily add a little more oil if you like, but I think it works well as it is.
It's pretty flexible in how you use it, being great for salads, of course, but also drizzled over couscous. I can see it being nice drizzled over chicken or fish, or used as a marinade for them.
With a salad, I'd recommend relatively mild flavors to really appreciate the dressing. I made a salad with kale, carrot, apple and cranberries which worked really well.
This preserved lemon vinaigrette is packed with flavor and perfect for robust salads, couscous and more. It's a great way to brighten up a dish and really appreciate the flavors of this lovely ingredient.
Try these other tasty salads with flavorful dressings:
- Grilled chicken and blueberry salad with lemon-feta dressing
- Butternut squash wild rice salad (with an orange dressing)
- Fall farro salad with lemon-tahini dressing
- Plus get more salad and other lunch recipes in the archives.
Preserved lemon vinaigrette
- 1 tbsp preserved lemon
- 1 ½ tbsp lemon juice
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- ¼ tsp cumin
- ¼ tsp paprika
- ½ clove garlic relatively small, crushed
- Remove any of the inner flesh from a piece of preserved lemon and rinse off any white residue on the rind part. Finely chop 1tbsp of the preserved rind to use in this recipe.
- If mixing by hand, place all of the ingredients in a small jar and shake them together. Alternatively, place everything in a small food processor and pulse to combine and further break up the preserved lemon.
- Use immediately or store in a sealed jar in the fridge - note you will need to re-shake the dressing before using as it will settle out.
See some of my favorite cooking tools and ingredients in the Caroline's Cooking Amazon store.