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Lefty’s Black Walnut Vinaigrette

This walnut vinaigrette recipe is in honor of my father Lefty, who taught me how to forage for and prepare these delicious nuts.

The Black Walnut Vinaigrette is served over a mixed green salad with hunks of goat cheese.

My father was a baseball pitcher in his younger years and got the nickname of “Lefty” because of his mean lefty fast ball.

I learned how to forage for and prepare walnuts from him.

This dressing is no curve ball. It is simple, elegant and easy to make. It is brilliant from late fall through the spring, especially on salads with a balance of sweet and salty components. Think pears and blue cheese.

Lefty’s Black Walnut Vinaigrette


  • 1 cup salad oil
  • 1/4 cup black walnuts, finely ground
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar, highest quality
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons scallion, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 4 teaspoons fresh thyme, minced

Cooking Directions

  1. Heat salad oil and black walnuts in a sauce pan until they are lightly brown and oil is infused with the walnut flavor. Remove nuts and set aside. Cool the black walnut oil to room temperature.
  2. Whisk vinegar, lemon juice, scallion, garlic, mustard, honey, salt and pepper together. Slowly add the Black Walnut Oil. Stir in nuts and thyme.
  3. Make 2-3 hours before using for flavors to marry and bloom. Then adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve at room temperature.

Chef Daniel Orr

Chef Daniel Orr is the owner of FARMbloomington and the author of several cookbooks. He draws from a lifelong curiosity about individual ingredients combined with extensive training in the art of finding food’s true essence and flavor. The result is simple, yet sophisticated; the best of American food tempered by classic European training.

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