If you want to add some serious flavour to your next salad then I highly recommend making this Pesto Salad Dressing. Made using all of the traditional ingredients for pesto as well as fresh lemon juice and white wine vinegar for some zesty tang.
This dressing is perfect for hearty salads like pasta salad or roast vegetable salads.
This simple recipe can turn your fresh salads from average to amazing in minutes. Drizzle over your own salad recipe or maybe try it with my Roasted Brussels Sprout Salad, over boiled potatoes or roasted sweet potatoes. If you love this creamy salad dressing, you might also like to try my Lemon Tahini Dressing.
What You'll Love About This Recipe
There is so much to love about this easy dressing!
- this homemade pesto dressing is fresh, vibrant and flavoursome.
- it is filled with healthy fats from the extra virgin olive oil and pine nuts.
- made using easy to find, simple ingredients.
- stores well for up to one week.
Ingredients Notes & Substitutions
As always, I love this pesto vinaigrette recipe just as it is but here are some ingredient substitutions just in case. All of the ingredients are easy to find and available from your local grocery store.
- fresh basil leaves - of course basil is the star of the show in this pesto, however you can swap basil for other fresh herbs like cilantro or parsley.
- pine nuts - you can also try using cashews or almonds. Or sesame seeds if you are allergic to nuts.
- parmesan cheese - to make dairy free use a dairy free parmesan cheese or a nutritional yeast based alternative. If you're using an alternative to parmesan cheese then you may need to start with a lesser amount and gradually add more to taste.
- extra virgin olive oil - olive oil is definitely the preferred oil for this recipe, however you can use another mild flavoured oil like avocado oil.
- fresh garlic clove - I definitely prefer fresh garlic in this recipe, however if you don't have any you could also use jarred, minced garlic.
- lemon juice
- white wine vinegar - can be swapped for apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar.
- sea salt flakes
Find the ingredient quantities in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
How to Make Basil Pesto Dressing
My creamy pesto salad dressing is so quick and easy to make and tastes so good! You will need a food processor or high-speed blender for this recipe. Or you can go old-school and make this dressing in a mortar and pestle.
Add the basil leaves, pine nuts, parmesan, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, vinegar and salt to the food processor. Place the lid on and process. Pulse at first and then turning the speed to medium until you have reached the desired consistency.
Remove the lid and scrape down the sides of the drum with a spatula. Give the pesto another quick whizz to incorporate any leaves that were up the sides of the food processor. All done!
Store the creamy pesto dressing in a small jar with a firm fitting lid (a mason jar would work perfectly) or in an airtight container. Store in the fridge for up to one week. Alternatively, you can spoon the dressing into an ice cube tray and freeze. Once frozen, pop the pesto cubes out into freezer bags and return to the freezer until ready to use.
The great thing about this delicious and easy basil pesto vinaigrette is that there are so many ways that you can use it! It's perfect for potato salads, green salads and more. Here are some of my favourites:
- drizzle over cherry tomatoes as a delicious side dish.
- toss through pasta or your favourite salad.
- drizzle over leafy greens (like baby arugula), red onion and rotisserie chicken or grilled chicken breast as a quick and healthy dinner or lunch.
- serve with pork chops and salad greens.
- Food Processor or high speed blender
- Measuring Cups and Spoons
- Glass jar or airtight container
- 1 cup fresh basil
- ¼ cup olive oil extra virgin
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- 1 clove garlic peeled
- ¼ cup parmesan grated
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
- Sea salt to taste
- Add the 1 cup fresh basil, ¼ cup olive oil, ¼ cup pine nuts, 1 clove garlic, ¼ cup parmesan, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar and Sea salt to the drum of a food processor.
- Pulse to begin to combine ingredients and then turn to a medium speed until you reach your desired consistency.
- Remove the lid from the food processor and use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the drum. Replace the lid and blend again to blend in any leaves that may have been stuck to the outside of the drum.
- Use the pesto dressing straight away or transfer to a glass jar or airtight container and store in the fridge until ready to use.
- drizzle over rotisserie chicken and fresh salad greens for a quick and easy dinner.
- use to dress potato salads.
- pour over roasted vegetables.