Summer is close. Can you feel it? I think it’s hiding just beyond the gray clouds that have been dampening my spirits for days. Go away, clouds! I’m ready for sunshine and long days by the pool. Margaritas and late walks with Cookie. Potlucks full of fresh salads.
Since I often pull up my own salad archives to find a simple recipe and then kick myself for making my salads so involved, I thought I’d share a simple, summery dressing today. It’s inspired by classic basil pesto (basil, pine nuts, olive oil, garlic and lemon) and comes together in just a few minutes in your food processor. I typed up a list of mix-and-match ingredients that should go well with it, too. It’s a build-your-own summer salad extravaganza!
I’m inevitably in a hurry when I make salads for potlucks and girls’ nights, so I’m pretty excited about a new-to-me option offered by DeLallo Foods. They are my favorite source of sun-dried tomatoes, marinated artichokes and olives, not to mention whole wheat pasta. DeLallo packages up salad-sized portions of themed complementary flavors called SaladSavors, so you can just combine them with fresh greens and a dressing of your choice. Boom! Salad’s ready.
I threw together the salad you see here in about five minutes flat, thanks to DeLallo’s SaladSavors in Sharp Asiago. I say thumbs-up to making salads easy and eating more greens!
Mix-and-match flavors that pair well with this basil dressing:
- DeLallo SaladSavors in Sharp Asiago: shredded Asiago cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and marinated artichoke
- DeLallo SaladSavors in Zesty Feta: crumbled feta, Kalamata olives and roasted red peppers
- Bell peppers
- Fresh leafy greens
- Goat cheese
- Green beans
- Roasted eggplant
- Summer squash (zucchini and yellow squash)
- White beans
- Whole grains, etc. (farro, millet, quinoa, wheat berries…)
Let me know what you pair with this dressing! Be sure to snap a picture and post it on Instagram with the hashtag #cookieandkate. I can’t wait to see all of your summer salads!
Basil Pesto Salad Dressing
- Prep Time: 5 mins
- Total Time: 5 minutes
- Yield: ½ cup 1x
- Category: Salad dressing
- Method: Blended
- Cuisine: Italian
- Diet: Vegan
This simple basil salad dressing takes cues from pesto and pairs marvelously with green salads, Italian/Greek flavors and a variety of bold, summery flavors. Recipe yields about ½ cup dressing and keeps well for up to 10 days.
- ½ cup packed fresh basil leaves
- 1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
- 3 tablespoons raw pine nuts
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice (about 1 medium lemon, juiced)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Salad as shown
- 4 ounces chopped romaine lettuce
- 4 ounces fresh spring greens
- 1 DeLallo SaladSavors in Sharp Asiago (shredded Asiago cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and marinated artichoke hearts)
- Basil pesto dressing, to taste
- In the bowl of your food processor (a blender will probably also work), combine the basil, garlic and pine nuts. Pulse until coarsely chopped.
- While the machine is running, drizzle in the olive oil, lemon juice and salt. Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper and blend until smooth. For best flavor, use immediately, or cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Storage suggestions: This dressing is best served immediately, but will keep in the refrigerator, covered, for another day or two.
Change it up: Feel free to play around with the herbs and nuts used in this recipe! Mint or cilantro would be lovely additions or substitutions. The pine nuts blend right into the dressing, which is nice, but you could also experiment with almonds, cashews, pepitas and sunflower seeds.
▸ Nutrition Information
Disclaimer: This post was created in partnership with DeLallo Foods and I received compensation for my participation. Opinions are my own, always. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who support C+K!
I’m pretty sure that you just created the world’s best dressing! I will devour anything “pesto,” and I’m betting that this recipe will be a keeper this summer! Pinned!
rebecca | DisplacedHousewife
Oh. My. God. I would eat salad all day long with this dressing!!! I absolutely cannot wait to try and so excited I have everything but the pine nuts. I’m thinking I could easily replace with walnuts, yes? Beautiful post!!! xx
Yes, I think walnuts would be great! Hope you love the dressing!
Nancy of Nottingham
Hi – my intention was to replace pine nuts with sunflower kernels before I even found this recipe. I love Cookie & Kate’s tahini dressing and make all the time. QUESTION!! Can this be frozen? Growing a lot of basil in our garden. Thanks so much from Nottingham, Maryland.
Hi Nancy! Yes, this can be frozen. You can freeze in ice cube trays if you like.
i love the dressing, I eat salad almost every day and always need inspiration for dressings and this one is perfect
This dressing looks fantastic!!!
Andrew and Melissa
just whipped it up for lunch. refreshing and wonderful
Yay, thank you!
Cristina @ I Say Nomato
This looks incredible! I’m a huge fan of pesto, but always on spaghetti. Of course it goes well on salad, why didn’t I think of that? It would significantly increase my salad intake! YUM!
I can’t wait to make this dressing tonight. I don’t have pine nuts on hand, but was going to use sunflower seeds or almonds. I do have walnuts too…
I’m also going to use it in a veggie lasagna recipe that calls for a layer of pesto. Yum!
Love this recipe!! I love basil pesto :P
It was delicious! (ended up using sunflower seeds).
Hooray, thanks Perla!
Laura (Tutti Dolci)
I often add fresh basil to my salads and my basil plants are already quite hearty so I can’t wait to give this a try!
Delish!! This looks perfect for all of the fresh tonatoes coming in season.
love this!!!! looks super tasty :)
Jessie Snyder | Faring Well
This looks so fresh and yummy, Kate! Gorgeous! xo
Thank you, Jessie! :)
Yum! Looks like it would go well with some fresh tomatoes and olives! Can’t wait to try this recipe!
I made this tonight for dinner exactly as the recipe is written and it was fantastic. Thank you!!
Awesome! Thank you, Liz!
So…I feel like I’m going to spend my summer pouring this vinaigrette all over ALL THE THINGS. And I love it.
This is literally just pesto tossed on salad. It is in no way by definition a “vinaigrette” as it contains no vinegar. I make pesto by mortar and pestle and always have some on hand. I came looking for a vinaigrette to make things interesting and try something different on a salad but cannot help but leave this site disappointed. You should really rename this to Basil Pesto Tossed Salad.
Erika, I’m sorry you’re disappointed. I would have called it a citronette, which is more accurate, but most people don’t know what that means. I used lemon juice because it tasted better than vinegar, so I certainly don’t regret that.
That was my thought. Its a good pesto, but I was very confused by the complete lack of vinegar. Im just going to try adding balsamic vinegar to it at some point.
Its a good pesto though.
The acid is in the lemon juice, which replaces the vinegar, and adds a nice citrus tang. I just made this for a potluck and everyone loved it!
This was very good! I will be making a lot more of this in the future since my basil plants are going crazy with all the rain, and now heat, that we’ve had in St. Louis. Thanks, Kate!
Thanks, Jayme! So glad you enjoyed it!
I made basil pesto several years ago according to your recipe. It was vegan (recipe called for cashews instead of cheese, I believe). It was so good. Even my little ones enjoyed it. I have tons of basil growing and kids are asking for the SAME basil pesto, however, I can’t find it on your site. Would you be so kind and send me (or post) the recipe again? Thanks.
Hi Mimi! To the best of my memory, I’ve only used cashew in pesto in this recipe. I’m not sure that’s what you’re looking for! Here’s my oldest recipe for pesto, which is made with basil and walnuts.
made this pesto vinaigrette several times. always delish! thank you
Glad you’re enjoying the salads, too, Vicki!
Just pinned this recipe! We are starting to really get into salads now that the weather is so much warmer and I’m sick of all the artificial stuff in stores my kids like. Making this tonight!
This ended up with a very bitter taste. I added more lemon juice and even some honey to try to balance it out, but something was still off. Any thoughts on what could have caused that or how I could have better fixed the problem?
Hi SJ, I’m sorry to hear that. You might try your pine nuts on their own—have they gone rancid? When nuts or seeds go bad, they taste bitter, so that could be it. Otherwise, I don’t know what went wrong. Sometimes adding a little more salt can cut bitterness.
Very good. I made a kale, basil, mint pesto this morning. I used walnuts, 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese and 3 cloves of garlic in the pesto. I actually combined two pesto vinaigrette recipes – I added a couple teaspoons of white vinegar to your recipe.
Oh my goodness, that sounds delicious, Melissa! I’ll have to try adding mint.
It is good. I had picked up a package of mint at Trader Joe’s and thought why not add it to the pesto and it worked. Would green peas, mint and almonds make a good pesto? Would I need to defrost frozen peas first?
I quadrupled the recipe, but added only three T lemon juice, one cup plus one T of olive oil plus two T of Parmesan cheese. DELISH!
I am so confused. It lasts for 10 days, 3 days, or 1 ?? Seeing all three answers here …. can’t wait to try, just not sure how much I can/ should try
Up to 3 days it will last, but is best immediately. I hope this helps, Patricia!
I always find myself landing on your blog cause I love veggies too! Keep creating! Hello to Cookie!
Thank you! Love to hear that.
So tasty!! As someone who isn’t a big fan of salads, I really like this :)
I added some parmesan, as well as substituting pine nuts for cashews
10/10 will make again
You said jarred pesto could be used but never said if more ingredients needed to be added or not.
Hi Susan, I’m not quite sure what you are referring to? This is made from scratch?
Hi, I have made your Basil Pesto Salad Dressing several times now and each time it is very bitter. This is the case when I try other similar recipes as well. I really like some of your other recipes so I I’m thinking there’s got to be a reason why I seem to be the only one who is experiencing this. Do you have any idea why it is soo bitter?
Hi Jace, I’m sorry to hear that. It could be the type of basil you are using or your garlic could be old. I hope you can make it work for you!
Served this salad alongside a creamy mushroom and wild rice soup last night and it was the perfect balance! Will definitely repeat! I did a bit of asiago to the dressing itself, but yum!
We make this frequently, but add some asiago to the food processor, creating a more “true” pesto flavor. Not a ton, just enough.