This simple pesto salad dressing is the perfect vinaigrette for salads, sandwiches, and marinades! It comes together in minutes with just a few ingredients and it’s loaded with flavor. You’ll love adding it to just about everything!
The smell and flavor of fresh basil is just one of those quintessential summer things. Every year when the basil in my garden is going crazy, I love making a huge batch of pesto to use in a variety of dishes. I freeze it, make pasta, slather it on paninis, and make this simple vinaigrette.
If you love pesto, you’ll love this dressing. It combines the basil-y flavor of pesto with the tanginess of white wine vinegar to make a dressing that is versatile and delicious.
Basil pesto: You can use homemade or store-bought pesto for this simple recipe. This easy dressing is a great way to use up leftover pesto!
White wine vinegar: I like white wine vinegar the best, but it’s also tasty with red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
Extra virgin olive oil: Use a quality olive oil for best results. Some inexpensive olive oil is very bitter.
Fresh Lemon Juice: Add a lot of brightness and acidity with freshly squeezed lemon juice.
Parmesan cheese: Use grated parmesan cheese so it doesn’t make the dressing chunky. You can use the shelf-stable variety or fresh grated cheese.
How to Make Pesto Salad Dressing
If you do not have pesto already made, you will need to start by preparing some homemade pesto. Store-bought pesto can also work.
I have a great recipe here made with fresh basil leaves, pine nuts, fresh garlic, parmesan cheese, and extra virgin olive oil.
To make the dressing, combine all of the ingredients in a glass mason jar. Insert an immersion blender into the jar and pulse it until the dressing comes together. Put the lid on the jar for easy storage.
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There are so many tasty uses for this fresh homemade dressing! Try using it one of these ways or anywhere else you think it sounds great.
- Fresh salads with leafy greens and fresh veggies
- Cold pasta salads (like this orzo pesto pasta salad)
- Use for an extra dose of flavor in potato salads
- Use as a marinade for meats, tofu, or mushrooms
- Make a Caprese salad with cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and balsamic vinegar
- Drizzle it over a sandwich
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I freeze this salad dressing?
I haven’t personally tested freezing the salad dressing, but you can freeze the pesto to have on hand for easy salad dressing later on. Freeze it in an ice cube tray then put the cubes into freezer bags so you can easily grab a small portion to thaw and use.
How do I make this a creamy salad dressing?
If you’re looking for creamy basil pesto salad dressing, follow the recipe as-is but add in a couple of tablespoons of plain yogurt, sour cream, or mayonnaise.
How do I store this salad dressing?
This dressing will be good for over a week if kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It should last even longer, just do a smell check and look for mold before using it past the week mark.
What other oil can I use?
If olive oil isn’t your thing, you can use avocado oil in this dressing.