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Creamy Basil Dressing

$3.62 Recipe/$0.91 Serving

Creamy lemon basil dressing is the perfect salad dressing, dip or sauce for any meal. Bright, vibrant and packed with flavor this dressing is so easy to make and has just 5 ingredients and is ready in 2 minutes.

Made without mayo or yogurt, this creamy basil dressing is vegan, paleo, Whole30, low carb, dairy free and egg free!

Creamy lemon basil dressing in a bottle, tomato salad in background.

Why you will love this recipe

  • So versatile – use this basil tahini dressing on your favorite salads, on fresh tomatoes, as a dip for chicken nuggets or tater tots! It’s packed with flavor and will give any dish a light and refreshing yet vibrant flavor!
  • Easy to make, all you need is a high speed blender. This recipe could not be easier to make, just measure the ingredients and blend them well in a high speed blender. You can use a food processor, but you may not get all the basil leaves fully incorporated in the sauce.
  • Great way to use up excess basil in the summer.  When your basil plant explodes with basil and you feel like you just can’t make another batch of pesto, make this creamy basil dressing instead!
  • Perfect for parties as it’s suited for almost any diet/lifestyle. Because this recipe is made with super simple ingredients it’s great for any diet! Vegan, nut free, egg free, gluten free, dairy free, Whole30, paleo and keto friendly!
  • Budget friendly: the biggest cost of this dressing is the fresh basil. If you have basil growing at home, the cost of this dressing is significantly lower.
Ingredients for creamy basil dressing.
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Ingredients

  • Fresh basil – fresh basil is so bright and vibrant and really leads the flavor of this dressing.
  • Lemon juice – lemon juice provides the acid of the dressing and is slightly sweet and really helps to cut through the fat in the tahini and helps to mellow out the flavor from the basil.
  • Tahini – tahini is a paste made from ground sesame seeds. It’s creamy and rich and the perfect way to make this dressing thick and creamy without any dairy or mayo. You could also use cashew butter or almond butter.
  • Water – water helps to thin out the dressing.
  • Salt and garlic powder – I like to use garlic powder instead of fresh garlic because I find that fresh garlic can sometimes be overpowering, especially in light dressings like this. If you love fresh garlic, you can certainly use it!

How to make creamy basil dressing

Measure all the ingredients and put them directly into the blender. I  like to use my bullet style blender for this as it’s the perfect size for a small batch of dressing.

Blend on high for about 1 minute until smooth.

Before and after of making creamy lemon basil dressing.
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Top tips

  • Fresh basil when bought at the store in the clamshell can quickly start to go bad, especially if you live in a humid climate in the summer. I recommend you make this dressing the day you bring the basil home if the basil is not still on the plant.
  • Be sure to rinse and dry your basil leaves before using them in recipes, especially if you are bringing in the basil from the garden. I like to use a salad spinner to dry the basil leaves after rinsing them with water.
  • If you want a creamier sauce, add an extra 1-2 tbsp. of tahini to the dressing or reduce the water by 2-3 tbsp.
  • Make a double batch and freeze half for later, especially if you have an abundance of basil!

How to use this dressing

Creamy basil dressing being poured over a tomato salad.

Common Questions

Can you use a food processor?

Yes, you could certainly use a food processor instead of a high speed blender, but you may notice that the basil does not get as finely chopped as with a high speed blender. The flavor will be similar but the dressing may look a bit differently.

What is the best kind of basil to buy at the store?

In the summer months, I prefer to buy living basil – basil in a pot that has some soil in the pot vs. clamshells of basil. This is because the basil in the clamshells can quickly start to wilt and turn slimy and discolored.

If all you can find is basil in a clamshell, you may want to make this dressing the same day you get home from the store, as there is no guarantee your basil will stay fresh in a warm, humid environment.

In winter months I have much better luck with the clamshells of fresh basil leaving them out on the counter for 2-3 days before they start to turn.

If you buy living basil, you can set it up on a small plate in the window sill for months, as long as you water it regularly (daily).

You can also easily grow basil in your outdoor garden. Trim basil leaves from the top (vs plucking them from the bottom of the plant). This helps encourage the plant to continue to grow without throwing off seeds/flowering.

Large jar filled with creamy lemon basil dressing.

Storage

  • Fridge: This creamy basil dressing lasts about 3-5 days in the fridge. The color may start to deteriorate after 3 days but the flavor will still be great!
  • Freezer: You can also freeze this dressing for use later in the season/year. Freeze for up to 3 months in a freezer safe container. I recommend freezing the dressing in 1-2 tbsp. cubes. This way you can defrost only what you need for a salad and you don’t have to use up an entire batch at once if you don’t want to.
    • I love to use silicone ice cube trays to freeze dressing and sauces in. Once frozen solid, transfer to a freezer safe bag or container and be sure to label with the name of the recipe, the amount of each cube, the freeze date and the use by date. This way you aren’t having to question if this is basil dressing or pesto in the freezer!

Substitutions

  • Lemon juice: Lemon juice provides a sweet level of acidity to the dressing. You could also use white wine vinegar if you don’t have lemon juice. You will need about 2 tbsp. white wine vinegar. The flavor will be slightly different but still delicious.
  • Tahini: if you don’t have tahini on hand or cannot have sesame seeds, you can instead use almond butter, cashew butter or sunbutter in place of the tahini. Each of these options will create a slightly different flavor, but they will all be delicious!
  • Garlic powder: If you prefer fresh garlic in your recipes instead of garlic powder, you can use 1-2 cloves of fresh garlic finely minced or grated (on a microplane) to ensure you don’t get a huge chunk of garlic in your dressing.

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Bottle of creamy basil dressing in front of a plate of tomatoes.

Creamy Basil Dressing

$3.62 Recipe/$0.91 Serving
Creamy Basil Dressing – Vegan, Whole30, Low Carb, Dairy Free, Mayo Free, Egg Free, Paleo – this healthy basil salad dressing is easy to make with just 5 ingredients and takes 2 minutes! Great for salads, pasta salads, sandwiches, wraps and as a dip for veggies.
Print Pin Save Rate
Course: Salad Dressing
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: basil tahini dressing, creamy lemon basil dressing
Prep Time: 2 mins
Total Time: 2 mins
Servings: 4

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Add all ingredients to a high speed blender.
  • Blend on high about 1 minute until smooth.

Notes

This recipe makes about 1/2 cup of dressing which is 8 tablespoons. Each serving is 2 tablespoons.
Tips:
Be sure to rinse and dry your basil leaves before using them in recipes, especially if you are bringing in the basil from the garden. I like to use a salad spinner to dry the basil leaves after rinsing them with water.
If you want a creamier sauce, add an extra 1-2 tbsp. of tahini to the dressing or reduce the water by 2-3 tbsp.
Make a double batch and freeze half for later, especially if you have an abundance of basil!
Storage:
  • Store in the fridge for 3-5 days in a well sealed container. The color may start to deteriorate after 3 days but the flavor will still be great!
  • You can also freeze this dressing for up to 3 months in a freezer safe container. I recommend freezing the dressing in 1-2 tbsp. cubes. This way you can defrost only what you need for a salad and you don’t have to use up an entire batch at once if you don’t want to.
    • I love to use silicone ice cube trays to freeze dressing and sauces in. Once frozen solid, transfer to a freezer safe bag or container and be sure to label with the name of the recipe, the amount of each cube, the freeze date and the use by date. This way you aren’t having to question if this is basil dressing or pesto in the freezer!
 
See how I calculate food cost.

Nutrition Information

Nutrition Facts
Amount per Serving
Calories
76
Fat
 
6
g
Carbohydrates
 
5
g
Fiber
 
1
g
Sugar
 
1
g
Protein
 
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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