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Part of the beauty of kiwifruit — besides its richness in flavor and vitality — is that it's extremely versatile. It can be used as a snack to deliver more than a day's worth of vitamin C in just a few quick bites. It can be used to tenderize and marinate meat. And it makes absolutely delicious desserts and frozen treats.

One place where kiwifruit really shines, though, is with salsas and salads. And not simply as a garnish or topping. Zespri Kiwifruit can deliver a delightful dip of vibrant zest to the salad dressing — especially if you prefer a vinaigrette.

So let's talk about kiwi-infused vinaigrettes — why we love them, why they're awesomely delicious, and how we can take a recipe and add our own spin on them. Once you get the basics down, you'll be able to experiment with your own flavors until you find the perfect, go-to vinaigrette.


Dressing and a Vinaigrette

You can usually spot the difference between dressing and vinaigrette at a glance. Dressings are thicker. Vinaigrettes are more translucent.

A vinaigrette is a mixture of oil and something acidic. The oil is often olive oil but can be any kind (more on that later). The acidic ingredient is usually a citrus juice (often lemon) or vinegar, from balsamic, rice, wine or apple cider.

A dressing is more general, more all-encompassing. It’s more like a sauce — usually cold — used to top salads, some meats and some vegetables. Whereas a vinaigrette is oil-based, dressing has a thicker base, usually mayo, buttermilk or even yogurt or avocado.


The Basic Vinaigrette

The most straightforward vinaigrette recipe will have a simple ratio: three parts oil to one part vinegar, plus some salt and pepper to taste. This will make a slightly sharper flavor, but you can tone it down by either adding a bit more oil or using other ingredients along with the basic formula.

In our SunGold Kiwifruit Salad recipe, for instance, the dressing calls for olive oil, balsamic and red vinegar in a 3-to-1 ratio. But the inclusion of feta cheese along with the tropical flavor of SunGold kiwifruit works to tame the sharpness, adding a healthy sweetness to the salad.

Making a Vinaigrette

Once you’ve settled on the ingredients going into your vinaigrette, it’s time to whisk everything together. Oil and vinegar will naturally separate into two separate layers. But we want them to combine — to emulsify — for a smooth, even coat over salad.

Whisk it. Shake it. Blend it. These are all ways to emulsify vinegar and oil. But none of these ways will create a permanent emulsion. Eventually, the vinaigrette will separate back into its component parts if you don't use all of it at once. But when that happens, just shake the vinaigrette again.

Your New Secret Weapon — Kiwifruit

Part of the charm of a vinaigrette is its flexibility. You can add a lot of other ingredients to make a tasty combination of flavors, from cilantro to agave.

And yes, Zespri Kiwifruit.

Making your vinaigrette with kiwifruit not only adds a natural sweetness to the dressing, it adds an extra nutritional punch to the mix. After all, kiwifruit is filled with vitamins C, E and K, fiber, potassium — all nutrients and antioxidants your body needs.

And let's face it, kiwi-based vinaigrette just looks great.

Simple Kiwi Vinaigrette Dressing

You'll Need: To Make Dressing
4 Zespri kiwi peeled and quartered 1. Place all dressing ingredients into a blender.
1/4 cup olive oil 2. Blend on high until smooth.
1 teaspoon honey or agave syrup 3. Place in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.
21 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar 4. Dressing recipe will make extra for future salads.

Recipe Tip: As with most kiwi-inspired recipes, you can choose between Zespri Green or SunGold. Go green for tangy. Go gold for tropical. Or be bold and go for both!

Fresh Kiwi Vinaigrette

Now that you've mastered the basics, you can get a little more elaborate with your vinaigrette and use it to tone down or counter some of the flavor of your salad. For instance, this Fresh Kiwi Vinaigrette recipe delivers sweet and tangy flavor without adding extra sugar. It will perfectly complement a salad that features saltier meats like salami, ham, sopressata and, of course, bacon. More importantly, it's super easy to make. Once you try it, you'll rarely want to buy store-bought vinaigrette again!

You'll Need:
1 Zespri kiwi (variety of your choice!), peeled and quartered
3 Tbsp. lemongrass mint white balsamic vinegar (or plain white balsamic vinegar)
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 Tbsp. thin sliced shallot (or red onion)
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

Place all ingredients in a small bowl and blend together with an immersion blender till smooth. Too thick and creamy? Add more vinegar or oil.

Serve immediately or refrigerate.

Recipe Tip: Dijon mustard is a natural emulsifier. You might find that using it along with kiwifruit will make a creamier vinaigrette. If it's too thick, simply add a bit more oil. Likewise, if you want to make your vinaigrette thicker, add more Dijon mustard instead of a thickening agent. You can also use finely grated garlic or ginger as an emulsifier.

Kiwifruit Champagne Vinaigrette

The bonus with this recipe is that you can get extra flavor without adding sugar in any form. No processed sugar. No honey. No syrup. After all, Zespri Kiwifruit is plenty sweet on its own.

For Kiwifruit Champagne Vinaigrette, You'll Need: For Green Salad, You'll Need:
2 Zespri® Green Kiwifruit 8 oz fresh salad greens, washed and torn
2/3 cup olive oil 1 cup sweet yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
1/4 cup champagne vinegar 3 Zespri® Green Kiwifruit, peeled and cubed
1/4 cup orange juice
1 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper, ground

Helpful Tip: Kiwifruit makes a great meat tenderizer, especially Zespri Green. This means you can use kiwi vinaigrette as a flavorful marinade for steak or chicken — even fish.

Kiwi Avocado and Tomato Salad with Kiwi Vinaigrette

Vibrant. Fresh. Simple and simply delicious. This Kiwi Avocado and Tomato Salad recipe is not only topped with kiwi vinaigrette, but it uses Zespri Kiwifruit in the salad itself, along with avocados. This creates a balanced flavor profile that is pure, mouthwatering bliss.

And it's gluten-free and vegan with zero refined sugars added.

For the Kiwi Vinaigrette, You'll Need: Making the Vinaigrette:
4 kiwi peeled and quartered 1. Place all dressing ingredients into a blender.
1/4 cup olive oil 2. Blend on high until smooth.
1 teaspoon honey or agave syrup 3. Place in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.

The amount of dressing made from this recipe will make extra for future salads or marinades.

For the Salad, You'll Need: Making the Salad:
4-6 cups mixed greens 1. Place mixed greens, avocados, tomatoes, kiwi, and pepitas into a large serving bowl or into 4 individual bowls.
2 avocados sliced 2. Top with desired amount of dressing.
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes halved 3. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
1-2 kiwi peeled, sliced, and quartered
1/4 cup pepitas
salt and pepper to taste

The Key to a Good Vinaigrette

When you want to make flavorful vinaigrette, you need to use a flavorful oil — and any flavorful oil will do. So long as it's a tasty oil that you love. Mild flavored virgin olive oil. Or a walnut oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, or any other oil in your cupboard. It doesn't need to be fancy. It just needs to be something you love.

But be careful not to use oils with stronger, more intense flavors. Some store-bought extra-virgin olive oils might be identified as "bold" or "extra" flavored. Some nut oils also fit this bill. These stronger oils could overwhelm the delicate flavors of a salad. And you might fit that using these oils might drown out the kiwi flavor — which is exactly what we don't want.

Experiment with Flavors

Kiwifruit is known for its versatility, and kiwifruit vinaigrette is just one example. We recommend visiting our recipe page for some of the many ways you can incorporate Zespri Kiwifruit into your meals. Your vinaigrette can be bold, mild, airy, creamy. It can pack a punch or can let the natural flavors of your salad glide over your tastebuds.

Now it's your turn! Making a kiwifruit vinaigrette is quick and easy. So don't be afraid to try mixing things up a bit. Use garlic or ginger as your emulsifier. Add lemon juice instead of orange juice. The sky's the limit!

And once you've found your vinaigrette kiwi-masterpiece, tag us on social media using @ZespriKiwifruit and show us your recipe. You might even be featured!