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April 10, 2023

Basil Vinaigrette

A bright and fresh basil vinaigrette can serve as dressing, sauce, or marinade. You’re minutes away from a flavorful meal anytime you add a drizzle of this easy-to-make dressing.


homemade basil vinaigrette in a small bowl made with garlic, lemon zest & Juice, basil, olive oil, sugar, salt and pepper

Attention Pesto Lovers, We Have Your New Favorite Dressing

A basil vinaigrette has a lighter texture than its relative basil pesto because it leaves out the parmesan and pine nuts. Instead of the dense, spreadable texture of pesto, basil vinaigrette is pourable and still packs the flavorful punch of basil and citrus we crave when we see a fresh bunch of beautiful basil leaves. All it takes is a quick whiz in a blender or food processor, and you’re steps away from flavor-enhanced roasted veg, meats, pasta, cheese (hello fresh mozzarella!), and of course salads! This basil vinaigrette is an ultra versatile vegan and gluten free dressing that can double as a sauce or marinade, depending on what you use it for.

garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, basil, olive oil, sugar, salt and pepper in bowls to make homemade basil vinaigrette

What Makes Something A Vinaigrette?

A vinaigrette (from the French word vinaigre, literally “sour wine”) is simply any combination of oil and vinegar. Lemon juice, which has an acidity similar to vinegar, can also be used to make a vinaigrette. Seasonings, herbs, dijon mustard, and alliums (garlic and onions) are all tasty additions to level up a simple vinaigrette. The word vinaigrette is often used as a term that encompasses both French dressing and Italian dressing.

garlic, lemon zest, lemon Juice, basil, olive oil, sugar, salt and pepper in a blender to make homemade basil vinaigrette

How To Make Simple Basil Vinaigrette

  1. Prepare your ingredients. This is where you channel your inner Gordon Ramsey: Smash one clove of garlic. Zest a lemon. Drizzle the olive oil. We could go on and on, but you get the idea!

  2. Add the fresh basil leaves and the rest of the vinaigrette ingredients to the base of a high-powered blender or a food processor.

  3. Blend until mostly smooth.

  4. Season with a few cracks of black pepper and a dash of salt to taste with more salt or lemon juice, if needed.

homemade basil vinaigrette in a blender made with garlic, lemon zest & Juice, basil, olive oil, sugar, salt and pepper

What To Serve With Basil Vinaigrette

Fresh pasta loves a drizzle of basil vinaigrette, and our Spinach Orzo Salad With Feta, Tomatoes and a Basil Dressing is no exception. You could also splash a little over Creamy Cavatappi Cacio e Pepe for a touch of zesty herb. Basil vinaigrette also goes well with fish, and our recipes for Creamy Feta with Tinned Fish or Easy Niçoise Salad would both do well with a splash, as would Shrimp Scampi and Baked Salmon. If you’re looking to add depth to simply prepared meats, our Grilled Chicken Thighs with a crisp salad and a gentle pour of basil vinaigrette over everything would be divine! Don’t forget about the veggies! Our Crispy Smashed Potatoes need this lemon basil vinaigrette recipe. Skip the balsamic glaze and use the best basil vinaigrette instead on our Caprese Salad recipe. Swirl in a little basil vinaigrette to your next bowl of Tomato Soup. Really anywhere that you can imagine a freshly torn leaf of basil or a fresh squeeze of lemon, would be the perfect landing place for a bit of basil vinaigrette.

Tools You’ll Need

Homemade Pantry Essentials Are Our Jam

We’ll take any opportunity we can get to replace a store-bought item with a simple homemade version. Don’t stop with this lemon basil vinaigrette. Here’s more great staples to make at home:

homemade basil vinaigrette in a small bowl made with garlic, lemon zest & Juice, basil, olive oil, sugar, salt and pepper

An Everyday Basil Salad Dressing

Show us what you made with our lemon basil vinaigrette dressing and maybe even a video of the beautiful people you feed it to. Tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper. Happy eating!

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Basil Vinaigrette

  • Serves: 4
  • Prep Time:  10 min
  • Cook Time:  0 min
  • Calories: 160


  • 1 garlic clove, smashed
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon), plus more to taste
  • ½ cup fresh basil, packed
  • ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste
  • Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste


  1. To the base of a blender or food processor, add the garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, basil, olive oil, sugar, and salt. Blend until mostly smooth. Season to taste with pepper and more salt or lemon juice, if needed.

  2. Store refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories160
  • Protein0 g
  • Carbohydrates1 g
  • Total Fat18 g
  • Dietary Fiber0 g
  • Cholesterol0 mg
  • sodium265 mg
  • Total Sugars0 g

Basil Vinaigrette

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