This Basil Vinaigrette is like summer in a jar and you can use it in any number of ways! This easy-to-make homemade dressing comes together in the blender in just a few minutes of prep time. From there you can drizzle it over your favorite salad, toss it together with cooked potatoes, or use it for your next pasta salad. It’s packed with fresh basil flavor and my favorite way to use it is drizzled over vine-ripe tomatoes all summer long.
Basil vinaigrette is my go-to dressing all summer long. But I make it in the off-season as well just for the bright taste of summer. If you love basil, this dressing is going to become a go-to for you as well.
We’re so crazy about basil over here that every summer I have a large barrel planted with basil that I can pick from almost every day for at least 5 months. It’s the most affordable way to have loads of basil on hand during the warmer months to use in all sorts of dishes.
I also recommend hitting your local farmer’s market for fresh basil throughout the summer. Locally they sell large packages at our markets labeled as ‘pesto’ basil. It comes in large bags and is perfect for this dressing because the large quantity is sold at a better price!
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Basil – fresh basil leaves are the primary flavor in this dressing, but you can also use cilantro as well if desired for a fun variation. Fresh herbs are a must in this dressing, dried herbs don’t work.
- White wine vinegar – adds acid depth to this vinaigrette, but freshly squeezed lemon juice or red wine vinegar is really good here too.
- Dijon mustard – adds depth of flavor as well, stoneground mustard also works here.
- Garlic – fresh garlic pairs perfectly with the basil and brings savory flavor.
- Olive oil – you want to use the best quality extra virgin olive oil you can get. I’ve also used avocado oil as a neutral base to bring out even more basil flavor, but overall we like the olive oil best.
How to make this recipe step by step
Step 2: Remove the stems from the basil and add the basil leaves to the blender container as well.
Step 3: Blend starting on low speeds and working up to medium until the dressing is mostly smooth and emulsified, and only small bits of green remain.
Season to taste with sea salt and pepper. If desired you can add a teaspoon or 2 of maple syrup or honey to sweeten to taste. Serve right away or refrigerate.
Ways to serve this
- With any salad you like! This basil vinaigrette is particularly good with my Easy Green Salad, but we also like it in place of the dressing listed in my Strawberry Spinach Salad.
- Try tossing this basil salad dressing together with freshly cooked pasta, cooked cubed chicken, and 2-3 cups of bite-sized pieces of cucumber and cherry tomatoes for a very tasty pasta salad. This combo is also really good with some freshly grated parmesan cheese stirred in.
- Make an unconventional potato salad by tossing this dressing together with freshly cooked potatoes cut up into bite-sized pieces. I like to add halved cherry tomatoes to the mix as well.
- Drizzle this over a tomato salad and add some fresh mozzarella or burrata to the plate.
- Try this basil vinaigrette adds fresh flavor as a sauce for grilled meats: chicken, steak, pork chops, salmon, fish of all kinds, shrimp, and seafood all pair well with this dressing drizzled over the top. It’s also great drizzled over vegetables, especially Grilled Vegetables, but it’s also tasty over steamed or roasted veggies.
This simple basil vinaigrette has plenty of fresh basil along with garlic, Dijon mustard, olive oil, and white wine vinegar. Salt and pepper bring out the flavors of this homemade dressing that goes well with just about any salad.
The classic vinaigrette formula is always 1 part vinegar to 2 parts oil. However, feel free to mix this up to your taste as you make homemade dressings. This basil vinaigrette has just 3 tbsp vinegar to 1/2 cup oil which feels very balanced with the bright fresh basil flavor.
- To store – store any leftover dressing in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Make ahead – this dressing keeps perfectly for at least 2-3 days and even up to 5 days. So you can make it ahead, refrigerate it, then let it come back to room temperature and shake/whisk it back together before using it.
- To freeze – this dressing freezes well in an airtight container for up to 1 month. Try using an ice cube tray to freeze it in individual servings. Just note that your ice cube tray might smell like basil forever, it’s worth getting a couple of trays just for freezing food!
Tips & Tricks
- Basil can be expensive in some areas and during the colder months of the year. My budget-friendly tips are to have a container where you grow your own on a patio/deck if possible. Or head to the farmer’s market where you can buy large bunches for a good price.
- If you can’t find reasonably priced basil, try this recipe with cilantro which is usually a good price year round. Serve the cilantro variation with your favorite Mexican-inspired recipes, or try my Cilantro Lime Dressing instead.
- Mix in 1/4+ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese to the finished dressing for a pesto-like dressing.
- I love having a dressing or two made at the beginning of the week because it makes dinner so much easier when you’re in the thick of it and there isn’t much time to think about what’s for dinner. Dinner Formula: 1 pound meat + 2 pounds veggies + 1 sauce = quick and easy dinner. Cook up your choice of protein along with a couple of veggies and drizzle it all with this basil vinaigrette for an easy and memorable dinner.
- This dressing is naturally gluten-free, dairy-free, and perfect for vegans and vegetarians when served with pasta and veggies.
I really hope you enjoy this Basil Vinaigrette! If you do get a chance to make this recipe, I’d love to hear from you in the comments.
- 3 tbsp white wine vinegar - or freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic - minced
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard - or stoneground mustard
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 cup basil - stems remove, packed
- 1/2 tsp sea salt - more or less to taste
- 1/4 tsp black pepper - freshly ground
- 1 tsp maple syrup - or honey to taste, optional
- Add the white wine vinegar, garlic, Dijon mustard, olive oil, and basil leaves to the blender.
- Blend starting on low speeds and working up to medium until the dressing is smooth with small green flecks of basil remaining.
- Season to taste with sea salt, pepper, and maple syrup if desired and serve.
This recipe was originally published in 2013 and updated in 2023 with new photos, and more tips and information.