This Basil Vinaigrette is like pesto’s tangy cousin, with a brighter and lighter taste that’s bursting with fresh basil flavor. Once you try it you will want to slather it on everything — roasted chicken, crispy smashed potatoes, broccoli, and more.
Basil was the first fresh herb that I fell in love with. I remember the exact moment, too. My stepmom had made caprese toasts, and I thought, what is this magical green leaf sandwiched between this mozzarella and tomato? ME WANT, ALL THE TIME!
Seriously though, basil smells amazing, it tastes amazing, and if you have fresh basil on hand, you automatically have the opportunity to make something delicious.
Basil vinaigrette is not as popular as pesto, but I’ve come to love it even more than pesto. It pairs with more foods and I really like how much lighter and brighter it tastes.
I’ve made my fair share of basil vinaigrette in my life, but during my recent Whole30 I made it a LOT more and fell in love all over again.
It is flavor city, and pretty much everyone can enjoy it. Unlike pesto, basil vinaigrette is Whole30 compliant, paleo, vegan, etc.
If you’re feeling in a bit of a food rut lately, make this. Really. It will be a nice addition to a lot of the foods you’re already making, and it’s SO easy to make.
It’s perfect slathered on chicken, like this Bruschetta Chicken where the tomatoes and basil go beautifully, or my Slow Cooker Chicken Breast for something really simple. You can also dip roasted Fingerling Potatoes into the basil vinaigrette, or drizzle it on Crispy Smashed Potatoes.
How to make Basil Vinaigrette:
To get started, remove all the stems from the basil, so you are left with just the leaves:
Unlike cilantro or parsley stems, basil stems are bitter and tough.
Wash and dry the leaves, and place them in a blender jar.
Next chop up some shallot and garlic:
Shallot is better than onion here, but if you don’t mind that “raw onion zip,” you can get away with red onion as a substitute.
Place the garlic and shallot in the blender, and add salt, red wine vinegar, and olive oil:
Blend on high speed until the basil looks smooth and blended:
You’ll see in the recipe notes that I recommend between 1/2 cup and 3/4 cup of olive oil for this recipe, and my sweet spot is right in the middle, at 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp.
That’s this consistency right here:
1/2 cup will give you a thicker texture, and 3/4 cup will give a more drizzle-able texture than what’s pictured above.
What to use Basil Vinaigrette with:
This Basil Vinaigrette is like pesto's tangy cousin, with a brighter and lighter taste that's bursting with fresh basil flavor.
- 5oz package fresh basil (2 cups firmly packed leaves)
- 1.5 tsp minced garlic (2 cloves)
- 2 tbsp chopped shallot (1/2 a shallot)
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil* (I like 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp)
- Remove all the stems from the basil, so you are only left with leaves (the stems are bitter).
- Wash and dry the basil leaves, then place into a blender.
- Add the garlic, shallot, red wine vinegar, salt, and olive oil, and blend on high speed for 30 seconds until smooth.
- If desired, add more olive oil to get your desired consistency, and blend.
- Taste and make any necessary seasoning adjustments. Enjoy!
Basil vinaigrette will keep in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.
*It is so important to use a good quality extra virgin olive oil here. My personal favorite is California Olive Ranch, but you want an EVOO that's fruity and flavorful.
Did you make this recipe?
I'd love to know how it went!