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Basil Balsamic Vinaigrette

Basil balsamic vinaigrette is bright, flavorful and so easy to make. This balsamic basil dressing is ready in just 5 minutes and is the perfect way to add fresh flavor to any meal. This vinaigrette is the perfect use for the abundance of basil throughout the summer.

If you love making your own dressing at home, try this tahini balsamic dressing or one of these 6 healthy salad dressing recipes!

Basil balsamic dressing in a bottle with white napkin.
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Why you will love this recipe

  • Easy to make – making balsamic basil vinaigrette is so simple. Just add all the ingredients to the blender and blend until smooth.
  • Simple ingredients – this healthy basil dressing has just 6 ingredients, most of which are pantry staples. If you have basil growing in your garden, you likely have all the ingredients you need for this dressing.
  • Versatile – use this basil balsamic dressing in so many ways! Use it in salads, pasta salads, on sandwiches, in marinades or over veggies.
  • Great for all diets – this balsamic basil vinaigrette is vegan, gluten free, dairy free, paleo, Whole30 and low carb.
Ingredients to make basil balsamic vinaigrette in ramekins.

Ingredients

  • Basil – Fresh basil really helps to create the flavor of this dressing. It’s fresh, bright and so flavorful. Use the fresh basil leaves (not the thick stems) for the best flavor.
  • Olive oil – olive oil blends with the balsamic vinegar to create the perfect vinaigrette.
  • Balsamic vinegar – balsamic vinegar really helps to create the flavor of this dressing. Be sure that you are using a balsamic vinegar you love since it really is one of the main flavors in this dressing.
  • Water – water helps to create the perfect consistency to this dressing.
  • Spices: Salt and garlic powder – salt amplifies the flavors and really makes this dressing pop. Garlic powder adds a slight garlic flavor that doesn’t overpower the dressing and also adds some umami to the dressing helping to round it out.

How to make basil balsamic vinaigrette

Add the basil leaves, olive oil, lemon juice, water, salt and garlic powder to a high speed blender.

Blend on high until smooth.

Top tips

  • Remove the thick stems from the basil before adding it to the blender.
  • Love a slightly sweeter dressing? Add a little sweetness to this dressing by adding 1-2 teaspoons of maple syrup or honey
  • If you find that your dressing is not emulsifying, add a little dijon mustard. This will help the oil and the vinegar emulsify and thicken the vinaigrette.
  • The oil will start to solidify in the fridge from the cold temperature. If this happens, let the dressing sit out for a few minutes (5-15 minutes) to allow the dressing to come to room temperature. Shake well once the oil has returned to its liquid state.
  • If you really love garlic, add 1 or 2 cloves of garlic to the dressing along with the garlic powder.

Ways to use balsamic basil vinaigrette

  • Green salads – add this bright, flavorful dressing to your usual green salad is a great way to change up the flavor of your usual salad greens. I love this on a salad of mixed greens or spinach with sliced radish, bell pepper, carrots and homemade croutons.
  • Antipasto salads – drizzle this lightly over your favorite antipasto salads to add so much flavor.
  • Caprese salad – the balsamic and basil pair so well with tomatoes, this would be the perfect way to add more basil flavor to this summery salad.
  • Pasta salad – use this basil balsamic dressing on your pasta salad instead of italian dressing to change up the flavors. Since this is not a mayo based dressing, it would hold up well at cookouts or picnics.
  • Use basil vinaigrette on sandwiches, wraps, pitas and more. Use this dressing like a pesto or oil and vinegar to add so much flavor to your favorite sandwich.
  • Fruit based salads – use this dressing on salads with blueberries, strawberries, cherries, grilled peaches, nectarines or watermelon. This dressing would be so good on this kale cherry salad instead of the cherry dressing. 
  • Over your favorite veggies like blistered tomatoes, air fryer tomatoes, air fryer zucchini or air fryer zucchini and squash.
  • Chicken salad, tuna salad or canned salmon salad – instead of using mayo or another dressing, use this balsamic basil dressing.
Green salad with balsamic basil vinaigrette.

Common questions

Why should you make your own homemade dressing?

Making your own homemade dressing or vinaigrette allows you to really control the quality of ingredients. Many of the salad dressings available in stores have less than desirable ingredients like questionable oils, preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, gums or thickeners or other unnecessary ingredients.

The few dressings that do have high quality ingredients are often more expensive. Making your own dressing at home is budget friendly and helps you get in the best ingredients. 

Can you used dried basil instead of fresh?

If you only have dried basil, your dressing will be more of a balsamic vinaigrette with just a little dried basil to add interest to the dish. Fresh basil and dried basil have very different flavors, so if you wan the bright, summer flavors, you have to use fresh basil.

If you are just looking for a good balsamic dressing, add about 1 teaspoons of dried basil to the dressing along with about 1 tablespoon of dijon mustard and simply shake all the ingredients together in a jar with a tight fitting lid.

Basil balsamic vinaigrette in a glass bowl with salad in the background.

Do you have to use a blender?

Blending the basil with the rest of the ingredients gives you the best flavor.

I think it is easiest to make this vinaigrette in a blender, but you could also use an immersion blender or a food processor.

However if you don’t’ have a blender, you can finely chop the basil or mash it in a mortar and pestle. Make the balsamic vinaigrette (add about 1 tablespoon of dijon mustard to help it emulsify) by shaking together the balsamic vinegar, olive oil and spices in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Once the dressing is thickened, add the chopped basil and shake again.

What is balsamic vinegar?

Balsamic vinegar is a vinegar made by fermenting grape juice that has been boiled down (grape must). Traditional balsamic vinegar is usually made in Italy in the Modena or Reggio Emilia provinces. As the balsamic vinegar ferments, it gets sweeter tasting.

Storing leftovers

  • Fridge: Store this basil balsamic vinaigrette in an container with a well fitting lid for up to 5 days.
  • Freezer: You can freeze this dressing for up to 3 months, however the color of the dressing will change when frozen, so I don’t really love the idea of freezing this dressing.

Substitutions

  • Basil – fresh basil is best for this recipe and there really is not another fresh herb that will give you the same flavor. You can use dried basil (1 teaspoon) but it will taste like balsamic dressing, not balsamic basil dressing.
  • Balsamic vinegar – use balsamic vinegar or a white balsamic vinegar for the best flavor. If you don’t have balsamic, you can use lemon juice but the flavor will be different.
  • Olive oil – you could also use avocado oil in place of olive oil.
  • Garlic powder – you can also use fresh garlic for a more intense garlic flavor. If you don’t love garlic, simply omit it from the recipe.
Basil balsamic vinaigrette in a glass bottle with basil leaves in backgroudn.

If you love homenade dressing, you should try

Creamy Basil Dressing

Honey Mustard Dressing

Vegan Ranch Dressing

Homemade French Dressing

★ Did you make this recipe? Please give it a star rating below!
Balsamic basil vinaigrette in glass bottle with balsamic vinegar in back.

Basil Balsamic Vinaigrette

Basil balsamic dressing is healthy, flavorful and easy to make. With just six ingredients and five minutes of prep time, it's great for salads, marinades, sandwiches, and wraps. Plus, it's vegan, gluten free, dairy free, Whole30, paleo, and low-carb, making it a versatile choice for any diet. The fresh, bright taste of basil and balsamic vinegar make it a delicious addition to any dish.
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Course: Salad Dressing
Cuisine: American
Keyword: balsamic basil vinaigrette, basil balsamic dressing, basil balsamic vinaigrette
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Add all the ingredient for the dressing to the blender.
  • Blend on high 1 minute until smooth.

Notes

Top tips
  • Remove the thick stems from the basil before adding it to the blender.
  • Love a slightly sweeter dressing? Add a little sweetness to this dressing by adding 1-2 teaspoons of maple syrup or honey
  • If you find that your dressing is not emulsifying, add a little dijon mustard. This will help the oil and the vinegar emulsify and thicken the vinaigrette.
  • The oil will start to solidify in the fridge from the cold temperature. If this happens, let the dressing sit out for a few minutes (5-15 minutes) to allow the dressing to come to room temperature. Shake well once the oil has returned to its liquid state.
  • If you really love garlic, add 1 or 2 cloves of garlic to the dressing along with the garlic powder.
Storing leftovers
  • Fridge: Store this basil balsamic vinaigrette in an container with a well fitting lid for up to 5 days.
  • Freezer: You can freeze this dressing for up to 3 months, however the color of the dressing will change when frozen, so I don’t really love the idea of freezing this dressing.
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Nutrition Information

Nutrition Facts
Amount per Serving
Calories
109
Fat
 
11
g
Carbohydrates
 
3
g
Fiber
 
0.1
g
Sugar
 
2
g
Protein
 
0.2
g
Where does nutrition info come from? Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy, sourced from the USDA Food Database.
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