Pesto Vinaigrette


This pesto salad dressing is a simple way to add zesty Italian flavor to your favorite greens. Made with fresh basil, garlic, olive oil, and parmesan cheese, this vinaigrette has a bright and tangy flavor that pairs perfectly with salads, grilled vegetables, or pasta dishes. Whip up a batch in just a few minutes and enjoy a homemade dressing that will take your salads to the next level!

There’s something about homemade dressings that just makes every salad taste better. Like homemade ranch or Caesar dressing, this pesto salad dressing is no exception. Made with fresh ingredients like basil, garlic, and parmesan cheese, it’s a simple yet flavorful addition to any salad or vegetable dish. Plus it’s a great way to use up leftover pesto!

A small bowl of pesto dressing containing basil with a spoon inside next to grape tomatoes and a bowl of salad.

This egg-free dressing is incredibly easy to make – all you need is a food processor and a few basic ingredients, and you’ll have a delicious and versatile pesto vinaigrette that can be used in a variety of recipes. The pine nuts add extra texture and complete the pesto flavor, but are an optional ingredient. Pesto pairs well with many vegetables. So whether you’re looking for a quick and easy lunchtime salad like a pesto chicken salad, or toss in with roasted asparagus for a flavorful side dish, this pesto salad dressing will add a zesty interest to your meal.

How to make pesto vinagrette

  1. Blend fresh basil leaves, grated parmesan cheese, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor or blender until finely chopped.
  2. Slowly pour in olive oil while blending, then add lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste.
  3. Store the dressing in the refrigerator for up to one week and shake well before use.

Key ingredients & substitutions

  • Basil leaves – Fresh basil leaves are the highlight of this dressing recipe. Basil gives a subtle sweet, peppery flavor and has trace notes of mint, anise and clove. If you don’t have fresh basil, you could use another fresh herb, such as parsley, cilantro, or mint, or a combination of herbs. However, keep in mind that this will change the flavor of the dressing.
  • Parmesan cheese – Fresh grated parmesan cheese makes the best pesto! If you don’t have parmesan cheese on hand, you could use a different type of hard, salty cheese, such as pecorino Romano or asiago. If you are dairy free or vegan, use nutritional yeast, which has a similar umami flavor.
  • Garlic – Use fresh cloves of garlic. Garlic powder (1 teaspoon) could be used in a pinch.
  • Pine nuts – These are optional but do compliment the pesto flavor and provide texture to the dressing. If you don’t have pine nuts or are allergic to them, you could substitute another type of nut, such as walnuts, almonds, or pistachios.
  • Olive oil – A healthy neutral flavored oil perfect for Italian dressings and vinaigrettes. Grapeseed oil or avocado oils are other neutral-tasting oils that can be substituted; however, they will change the flavor the salad dressing.
  • Lemon juice – Fresh lemon juice is ideal for this pesto vinaigrette; however, bottled lemon juice will work. Another type of acid, such as red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar, will help provide an acid balance if lemon juice can’t be used.
Subscribe to the KetoFocus YouTube Channel

With 100s of videos and millions of views, Ketofocus is one of the most popular Keto channels on YouTube.

Pesto Salad Dressing Ingredients

  • 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoon pine nuts, optional
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Pesto Vinaigrette Directions

  • Pesto Vinaigrette
  • Creamy version of pesto dressing in a small bowl in front of a bowl of salad

    Creamy pesto salad dressing

    If you aren’t a fan of oil and vinegar based dressings, turn this pesto salad dressing recipe into a creamy dressing.

    To make a creamy pesto salad dressing, whisk in 1 1/2 tablespoons of mayonnaise into the dressing. A dollop of plain Greek yogurt or sour cream could work as a substitute to mayo in the mixture.

    How to use pesto dressing

    Salad dressing

    The obvious use for pesto vinaigrette is to use it as a salad dressing. It’s a zesty alternative to an Italian dressing and will work well in a classic green salad, caprese salad, Greek salad or antipasto salad.

    Vegetable side dish

    Toss a variety of roasted or steamed vegetables with pesto dressing to add tremendous flavor.

    • Asparagus
    • Broccoli
    • Cauliflower
    • Zucchini or summer squash
    • Steamed artichokes

    Spread or sauce

    This dressing can also be used as a dip or spread for sandwiches, wraps or as a sauce for pizza. Add less oil to make it thicker.

    Pasta salad

    Cook your favorite pasta or noodles and toss with cherry tomatoes, sliced black olives, diced bell peppers, and this salad dressing. Chill in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving for a refreshing and easy pasta salad side dish.





    A small bowl with basil pesto vinaigrette inside next to cherry tomatoes, lemons and a bowl of salad.

    Storage information

    When storing the dressing, it’s important to use a container with a tight-fitting lid to keep the dressing fresh and prevent any odors from seeping into the dressing. Store the salad dressing in the refrigerator for up to one week. Shake the container well before using the dressing to ensure the ingredients are evenly distributed.

    Pesto Vinaigrette: FAQS

    What is the difference between packed and unpacked basil leaves? How should I measure them?

    Packed and unpacked basil leaves refer to how the leaves are packed or arranged within a measuring cup or spoon.Packed basil leaves are tightly packed into the measuring cup or spoon, so there are no gaps or spaces between the leaves. This usually results in a higher volume of basil leaves in the measuring cup or spoon, since there is less air between the leaves.

    Can I use a mortar and pestle instead of a food processor or blender?

    Yes, you can use a mortar and pestle to make basil first. Then thin out the dressing by slowly whisking in olive oil and the rest of the ingredients.

    Can I make this dressing without a food processor?

    If you don't have a food processor or blender, you can still make this recipe by finely chopping the basil leaves, garlic, and pine nuts with a knife, then whisking everything together with the remaining ingredients in a bowl.

    Nutritional information & Macros

    Nutrition Information

    Pesto Vinaigrette

    Servings: 6

    Amount Per Serving
    Calories 149
    Fat 15.3g
    Protein 2.5g
    Total Carbs 0.8g
    Net Carbs 0.7g

    Other Keto Condiments & Dressings Recipes

    A scoop digging into fluffy keto bread crumbs in a bowl.
    2 Mins
    Keto Bread Crumbs

    This 3 ingredient recipe for keto bread crumbs adds a thick panko-style breading to your favorite recipes. You’ll love that the coating stays...

    See the Recipe
    A skillet filled with colorful red and green sliced bell peppers, red onion and slices of cooked chicken.
    60 Mins
    Chicken Fajita Marinade

    This easy chicken fajita marinade uses pantry staples and takes only 30 minutes to infuse your chicken with incredible fajita flavor!

    See the Recipe

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *