Easy Basil Pesto Vinaigrette has got to be the easiest salad dressing ever! As long as you have a little Pesto, that is! It’s such a quick cheat and will be fabulous on all kinds of greens and/or pasta salads. I used it the other day in my Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Apples & Feta and it was a beautiful marriage.
Speaking of beautiful, though, the looks of this dressing? Well, maybe not so much – it is a dull army green. But the flavor? It’s pretty amazing. The pesto in the dressing pops with the basil but mellows it down a bit, too, so you end up with a complex dressing with tones of the Parmesan and pine nuts (if your pesto is the classic and mine was) and just a little zing from the vinegar.
About Easy Basil Pesto Dressing:
But speaking of Pesto, I had some in my freezer that I made last summer and a jar in my pantry (coz yes, it was one of my ingredients I added to my pantry when I stocked up early this Spring) so I was glad to put some of it to good use. Refrigerated pesto works well, too. This dressing doesn’t need much, but no worries, I have a few plans for the rest of it! That might be a fun post sometime, what to do with leftover Pesto!
If you don’t have Pesto, you can make your own, maybe my Classic Pesto, or use one of the newer inventive Pesto Recipes, like this Radish or CarrotTop Pesto. While the Classic Pesto does need a good handful of fresh basil, if you make one of the other “rogue” Pestos, you can get by with very little and if you need to use dried basil in them. Just in case basil is as scarce at your house as it is right now in Minnesota in April. We just thankfully, lost what I hope is the last of our snow from a snow storm mid April!
Using Easy Basil Pesto Dressing:
While this dressing with it’s punchy flavor stood up beautifully to the stronger flavors of the Brussels Sprouts and the Feta in my Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad, I wouldn’t hesitate to use this dressing with other dishes.
It would be fabulous as a simple way to dress tomatoes as a quick side and my mouth is just about watering thinking of this in a cold pasta salad, maybe a spring salad with asparagus in it (and maybe some ham) or one with an Italian twist, either loaded with veggies and olives and/or a little of any of your fave charcuterie Italian meats, chopped up.
Making Easy Basil Pesto Dressing:
Three ingredients and salt & pepper, this couldn’t be easier to make! Keep in mind your pesto can be stronger and more flavorful or mild depending on what you use. It can also be thicker or thinner. Be prepared to adjust the amount of pesto, oil and/or vinegar to find your balance.
You can toss it in a blender or if you don’t mind chunker basil (I blended mine but the leaves are pretty if your basil has them) but it can be dropped in a jar and shaken together.
Even if you use a blender, your dressing won’t be perfectly smooth and homogenized; that’s just kind of the nature of the beast when you make any dressing with a harder grating cheese like Parmesan, whether you add it in yourself or like this dressing, it comes from the Pesto. That’s ok, but do be prepared to stir back together as needed. If it gets cold enough in the fridge, the olive oil can harden a bit but will liquify again if it sits on the counter for a few minutes and you can very carefully pop it in the microwave for just a couple of seconds to help it along.
Saving Money on Easy Basil Pesto Dressing:
Of course, the best way to save money on this dressing is to make your own pesto it “in season” when you can grow your own basil or when it’s more plentiful and abundant at the store. But this dressing is really just as good with any Pesto whether it’s homemade and is so much quicker and easier when you pull a jar from your pantry.
Olive oil is really the perfect oil to use in this dressing, but don’t sweat it if you don’t have it. It’s fabulous with Grapeseed or Avocado oil, too, and will work with any plain old oil. It pays to shop around for olive oil. Your Buyers club will usually have good prices and Aldi does, too. When a new brand comes into the grocery store, it will often be at a stellar price (with coupons if you use them) but generally, those prices won’t last. Stock up if you see deals like this. Often olive oil is buy one get one half off; know your prices, crunch the numbers when you see deals. The smaller bottles might actually be the better deal.Print
Easy Basil Pesto Dressing
- Total Time: 5 minutes
- Yield: about 1/2 cup 1x
- Category: Salads
- Cuisine: Italian
- 2 to 3 tablespoons prepared pesto
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons (or to taste white wine vinegar)
- salt & pepper to taste
Make in a jar: add pesto to a jar and add olive oil bit by bit to loosen if needed, then add the remainder of the oil and the vinegar. Shake together. Taste and adjust vinegar if needed and add salt and pepper.
In a blender: Add pesto to the blender and with the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil to emulsify. Add vinegar. Taste and adjust vinegar if needed and add salt and pepper.
Keep in mind your pesto can be stronger and more flavorful or mild depending on what you use. It can also be thicker or thinner. Be prepared to adjust the amount of pesto, oil and/or vinegar to find your balance.
Keywords: Italian, Pesto, Salad, Salad Dressings, Vinaigrette