This easy, flavorful Basil Vinaigrette is truly our go-to salad dressing for summer! We drizzle it on everything from simple dishes like our Tomato Mozzarella Salad or grilled vegetables to couscous salad or pasta salads. It’s even delicious with grilled meats and seafood! And it’s ready in just 5 minutes.
Because it’s dairy-free and made with oil — there’s absolutely no mayonnaise! — it’ll keep for a long time in the fridge. We typically use our leftovers within a week, but you can make a double batch and keep it on hand for up to 2 weeks. It’s a quick way to add a burst of flavor to all your favorite seasonal dishes.
Definitely stock up on fresh basil whenever you can. If you love it as much as we do, you’ll for sure be making this recipe all summer long! For more fresh, light salad dressings, consider trying out Cilantro Lime Dressing or Kale Salad Dressing (also a vinaigrette) next!
There’s just 8 simple ingredients in this salad dressing recipe, most of which you likely already have on hand.
- Fresh basil: The star of the recipe is hands down bright, sweet, and savory fresh basil.
- Shallot: This adds a subtle onion flavor and a nice little crunch.
- Garlic: We love adding 1 clove garlic to dressings for a bit of heat.
- Extra virgin olive oil: This is the base of the vinaigrette. It’s important to use a high quality extra virgin olive that isn’t bitter.
- Fresh lemon juice: It really makes a huge difference to use fresh juice!
- White vinegar: To help balance out the taste of the dressing.
- Kosher salt: To season the vinaigrette.
- Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes: To add just a little bit of heat to the dressing. Can substitute with Aleppo pepper or black pepper.
How To Make Basil Vinaigrette
Making homemade vinaigrette could not be simpler! If you have a personal blender, go ahead and grab that. We love this Zwilling personal blender and use it almost daily. It’s just the right size and has a powerful motor to finely blend everything together.
Throw the fresh basil leaves and all remaining ingredients in the cup, then secure the lid and blend until very smooth.
Our Favorite Ways To Use
This basil vinaigrette is so versatile, we always find endless uses for it throughout the week. Here are a few of our favorite uses for it:
- On salads, of course! It’s our go to vinaigrette for this Tomato Mozzarella Salad and our Grilled Corn and Zucchini Salad, but it’s honestly delicious on just about any plate of greens that could use a burst of fresh flavor!
- Tossed with pasta! We love it with couscous, orzo, or pretty much any pasta. It’s a great substitute for pesto because it features a lot of the same fresh ingredients. Plus, it’s not heavy at all.
- As a sandwich spread! Again, you can enjoy this in the same way you’d use pesto. It is particularly fabulous when spread on baguette with fresh burrata cheese and thinly sliced mortadella… swoon!
- With grilled meats, seafood, and veggies! This is truly an all purpose sauce. You can serve it on the side of grilled or roasted salmon, steak, shrimp, chicken, or tossed with crispy grilled chicken wings or your favorite roasted or grilled vegetables. You could even serve it over potatoes!
- Use fresh basil leaves! This should go without saying, but you’ve got to use fresh herbs for this one.
- Make a double batch! Given how long this vinaigrette keeps (up to 2 weeks!), it is the perfect sauce to make on hand and enjoy with a variety of dishes all week long.
- Use fresh lemon juice! It tastes so much better than the kind in the squeeze bottle.
- Don’t skip the red pepper flakes! Between the red pepper flakes and the fresh garlic, you get a little much needed heat.
- Don’t bother emulsifying by hand. Truly this is so easy to make in a blender (or a food processor!) — no whisking required!
- Want it creamier? No need to use mayo, just add a half teaspoon of Dijon mustard for a slightly creamier texture.
Truly, this is one of the quickest, most flavorful ways to boost the flavor of your favorite summer recipes. We know you’re going to love it!
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Light & Fresh Basil Vinaigrette (You Won’t Miss The Mayo!)
- 1½ cups packed basil leaves
- 1 medium shallot peeled and roughly choppd
- 1 clove garlic roughly chopped
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp white wine vinegar
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
- pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
- Make the lemon basil vinaigrette. Place all dressing ingredients — 1 ½ cups basil, 1 chopped shallot, 1 clove chopped garlic, ½ cup EVOO, 2 Tbsp lemon juice, 1 tsp white wine vinegar, 1 tsp Kosher salt, and a pinch of red pepper flakes — in a blender (personal blenders are the perfect size for sauces and dressings!), then purée until very smooth. Set aside.
- Leftovers: Store in an airtight container in a fridge for 1-2 weeks.
- For best results, use fresh lemon juice.
- For a slightly more floral taste, substitute crushed red pepper flakes with Aleppo pepper flakes.