Why Should You Make This Recipe?

Basil pesto dressing is a mouthwatering yet simple recipe you can’t get enough of. This vinaigrette is easy, fresh, and pairs well with dozens of delicious dishes. 

  • This 5-minute pesto vinaigrette recipe is a great way to use fresh basil, especially if you’re growing your own fresh herbs. Who can resist natural ingredients?
  • Elevate any dish with ease when you top it with this herby and robust dressing. Whether you use pesto sauce for salad (or pasta salad!), to drizzle on pizza, or even to top grilled meat, your tastebuds will thank you.
Basil Pesto Salad dressing in a jar

Ingredients

For this pesto dressing recipe, gather fresh basil leaves, pine nuts, minced garlic, white wine vinegar, fresh lemon juice, parmesan cheese, kosher salt, black pepper, and extra virgin olive oil.

Ingredients for the recipe portioned from the top view

Substitutions & Variations

  • Nuts: Don’t have any pine nuts on hand? No problem! Swap out your pine nuts for almonds or even walnuts for an easy substitution.
  • Vinegar: Give your pesto vinaigrette sweeter, sharper, or more robust undertones by swapping out which vinegar you use. Simply substitute your white wine vinegar with an equal amount of red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar for a delectable Pesto Balsamic Dressing.
  • Make it a 3-ingredient pesto vinaigrette: You can make this pesto vinaigrette with store-bought pesto, white wine vinegar, and parmesan cheese. For measurements, I recommend mixing ½ cup prepared pesto with ¼ cup vinegar and ¼ cup parmesan cheese.
  • Copycat Sweetgreen Pesto recipe: If you have ever dined at one of the Sweetgreen restaurant locations, you probably already know about their pesto dressing. It seems like Sweetgreen’s Pesto Vinaigrette recipe is very similar to mine except that they use red wine vinegar instead of white wine vinegar and add a teaspoon of dijon mustard to your basic lemon pesto dressing.
  • Make it vegan: To make a vegan version of this delicious recipe, all you need to do is use vegan parmesan. For a homemade substitution, I suggest using this recipe for vegan parmesan.

How to Make Pesto Dressing

Wondering how to make pesto vinaigrette? This 5-minute recipe for classic basil pesto dressing is as easy as it is fresh, and it comes together in just three steps.

a collage of photos showing how to make pesto vinaigrette
  1. Chop/Pulse the ingredients in a food processor: Place all the ingredients except the olive oil (i.e., fresh basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic, vinegar, lemon juice, parmesan cheese, salt, and black pepper) into a food processor. Pulse the mixture 4-5 times for a rough chop.
  2. Add the olive oil: Turn on the food processor and, while it runs, drizzle the olive oil through the tube. Stop the machine 1-2 times while mixing to scrape the bowl’s sides. Continue running your food processor until the salad dressing is creamy (approx. 45 seconds).
  3. Season and serve: Taste your pesto salad sauce and add any additional seasoning. Give the mixture one more pulse, and then serve.

How to Store

This pesto salad dressing recipe is a delicious addition to any meal. With these simple storage tips, you can keep your leftover vinaigrette fresh for days.

  • Storage: To store lemon pesto vinaigrette, place it in an airtight container (like a mason jar) in the fridge. Your dressing will stay fresh for up to 5 days.
  • Freeze: You can freeze this vinaigrette for up to 2 months in an airtight container.
  • Thaw: To thaw your pesto dressing, let it sit on the counter for 2 hours before using.

Recipe Ideas to Use

Basil pesto vinaigrette is a delicious dressing that goes with just about anything. This topping adds a sumptuous flavor to countless dishes, from leafy green salads to hearty mains.

pasta salad in bowl using this basil salad dressing

FAQs

Pesto vinaigrette dressing is easy enough for even beginner chefs to prepare. Still, you can become an expert saucier in no time with these helpful FAQs!

How to turn pesto into salad dressing?

For an easy pesto vinaigrette salad dressing, mix ½ cup of leftover pesto, ¼ cup of white wine vinegar, and ¼ cup of parmesan cheese. It’s that easy!

What is in Sweetgreen pesto vinaigrette?

Sweetgreen pesto vinaigrette is made with apple cider vinegar, fresh basil, garlic, dijon mustard, parmesan cheese, pine nuts, and salt and pepper.

What is pesto dressing made of?

This basil pesto salad dressing recipe consists of fresh basil leaves, pine nuts, minced garlic, white wine vinegar, lemon juice, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and olive oil.

Other Homemade Salad Dressing You Might Like:

If you try this Pesto Vinaigrette recipe or any other one of my homemade salad dressing recipes on Foolproof Living, please take a minute to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. It helps others who are thinking of making the recipe. And if you took some pictures, be sure to share them on Instagram using #foolproofeats so I can share them on my stories.

Pesto Vinaigrette Recipe

5 from 3 votes
Yields4 servings
Prep Time10 minutes
Total Time10 minutes
Learn how to make pesto vinaigrette recipe to use in salads, sandwiches, and more. Made with everyday ingredients, this basil salad dressing is easy and quick to make.

Ingredients 

  • 1 ½ cups of fresh basil leaves, loosely packed
  • cup pine nuts, or sliced almonds
  • 2 small cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons shredded parmesan cheese
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt*
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • cup extra virgin olive oil

Instructions 

  • Place fresh basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic, vinegar, lemon juice, parmesan cheese, salt, and black pepper into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse 4-5 times to give them a rough chop.
  • Turn the machine on and while it is running drizzle the olive oil through the tube. Stop and scrape once or twice and continue running the machine until the salad dressing is creamy, 45 seconds or so.
  • Taste for seasoning and add in if necessary. Give it one more pulse and serve.

Notes

  • This recipe yields 2/3 cup pesto salad dressing.
  • This is one of those recipes that you want to taste as you go. I listed 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, but please give it a taste before serving to make sure that it is properly seasoned to your taste.
  • Make it a 3-ingredient pesto vinaigrette: You can make this pesto vinaigrette with store-bought pesto. For measurements, I recommend mixing ½ cup prepared pesto with ¼ cup vinegar and ¼ cup parmesan cheese.
  • Pesto Vinaigrette Sweetgreen Recipe: For a version similar to Sweetgreen’s pesto vinaigrette recipe, use red wine vinegar instead of white wine vinegar and add a teaspoon of dijon mustard.
  • Storage: To store lemon pesto vinaigrette, place it in an airtight container (like a mason jar) in the fridge. Your dressing will stay fresh for up to 5 days.
  • Freeze: You can freeze this vinaigrette for up to 2 months in an airtight container.
  • Thaw: To thaw your pesto dressing, let it sit on the counter for 2 hours before using.

Nutrition

Calories: 254kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 2mg | Sodium: 336mg | Potassium: 121mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 501IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 45mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Salad Dressing
Cuisine: American/Italian
Tried this recipe?Mention @foolproofliving or tag #foolproofeats!

About Aysegul Sanford

Hello Friend! I'm Aysegul but you can call me “Ice." I’m the cook/recipe-tester/photographer behind this site.

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5 from 3 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating




2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I love vinaigrettes like this! If you ever come across white or rose wine balsamic vinegar, try that instead. The inherent sweetness of the balsamic and the natural, sweetness of the basil goes so well with the acidic punch from the vinegar and lemon juice. I processed some fresh basil with just the rose wine balsamic alone to see how it might work. Just as a stand-alone, it was fantastic! So I did freeze some with a bit of oil for later use (I have some plans). But the vinaigrette was amazing!

    Btw, looking at your name, Ice Girl or Icy Girl or just Icy could also be a cool nickname for you, too! Lucky you to have that name. Lol! Thanks so much!

    1. Thanks Chieko. Glad to hear that you liked it. I will look for rose wine balsamic vinegar next time I go to the store.