Basil Pesto Salad Dressing

It’s almost summer. Do you perceive it? My spirits have been dampened by the dreary clouds for days, but I believe it is only beyond them. You clouds, leave! I’m eager for warm weather and extended poolside days. late-night walks with Cookie and margaritas. salads from the garden during potlucks.

I thought I’d offer a straightforward, summery dressing today because I frequently search through my own salad archives to find a straightforward recipe and then blame myself for making my salads so complicated. It’s modeled by traditional basil pesto, which includes basil, pine nuts, olive oil, garlic, and lemon. It comes together quickly in your food processor. I also drew out a list of complementary items that might be combined with it. It’s a summer salad building extravaganza!

basil pesto vinaigrette ingredients

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!

how to make basil pesto vinaigrette

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
  • Almonds
  • Artichoke
  • Asparagus
  • Bell peppers
  • Chickpeas
  • Corn
  • Couscous
  • Feta
  • Fresh leafy greens
  • Goat cheese
  • Green beans
  • Mozzarella
  • Nectarines
  • Olives
  • Parmesan
  • Pasta
  • Peaches
  • Peas
  • Roasted eggplant
  • Summer squash (zucchini and yellow squash)
  • Tomatoes!
  • 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 vinaigrette and Salad Savors

Also read: Cowboy Caviar


Basil dressing

  • 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


  1. In the bowl of your food processor (a blender will probably also work), combine the basil, garlic and pine nuts. Pulse until coarsely chopped.
  2. 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.