You are going to adore this Easy Basil Balsamic Vinaigrette Recipe. This Creamy Balsamic Dressing is so delicious, is made with simple ingredients, ready in just 5-minutes, and is sure to become your new favorite salad dressing.
Making your own salad dressings is so much healthier than buying store-bought dressings….and much easier than you think! This homemade vinaigrette is a great way to dress up a simple salad! This easy dressing recipe uses basic ingredients like sweet balsamic vinegar, and fresh basil…for an aromatic, flavorful and bold dressing with the power to make all your favorite salads taste better.
If you’re looking for a balsamic dressing for pasta salad, this is it. Period. End of story.
I love to use this Basil Balsamic Vinaigrette on my beet salad, drizzled over grilled asparagus or any roasted vegetables. It’s delicious poured over a simple tomato and onion salad, and this creamy balsamic dressing also makes a great marinade. It will make any salad greens, including bitter greens, taste infinitely better.
If you have leftover basil after making this recipe, I highly recommend my vegan basil pesto. It’s easy to make, incredibly delicious, loaded with fresh flavor and it’s freezer friendly.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Olive oil: A good substitution for extra-virgin olive oil would be avocado oil. I try to stay away from heavily processed vegetable oils, like canola oil.
- Balsamic Vinegar: A good quality aged balsamic, or a white balsamic vinegar will add the best flavor to this easy recipe. Substitute, if you must, with red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar or fresh lemon juice—this would produce a lemon basil vinaigrette—also delicious.
- Fresh herbs: Fresh basil leaves bring on big flavor, and I’m here for the sweet basil…I mean, It’s a basil dressing after all. Fresh oregano, parsley or thyme would also be a good addition to this balsamic vinaigrette dressing.
- Garlic: I used a microplane to finely grate the garlic before it blends into the dressing. I think a fresh garlic clove is the way to go…but 1 teaspoon of garlic powder (not garlic salt) would be a fine sub.
- Date: Using medjool dates is my favorite way to sweeten dressing recipes. you can substitute 1-2 teaspoons of raisins for the date. Simple vinaigrettes can also be sweetened with a little bit of honey or a splash of maple syrup.
- Dijon mustard: Just one teaspoon really adds great flavor and helps produce a creamier dressing. Mustard powder is good in a pinch.
How to make it
Gather fresh basil, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, pitted date, salt, and black pepper into a tall jar, or bowl of food processor.
Use a microplane to grate garlic onto the rest of the ingredients. Pour on ¼ cup water and process until emulsified, smooth and creamy.
If dressing is too thick, add 1-2 tablespoons water until balsamic dressing reaches a pourable consistency.
Balsamic Vinaigrette takes even a simple green salad to the next level.
Debra’s Pro Tips
- Use less water for a thicker consistency, less water for a thinner, creamy dressing.
- Add a shallot or ¼ small red onion for even more bold flavor.
- This basil-balsamic vinaigrette recipe is thick and creamy, with so much flavor….perfect to use as a dip for fresh veggies.
- Once vinaigrette has emulsified into a creamy dressing, it will stay that way. Stir in a bit of warm water to thin, if needed, making sure it’s totally incorporated.
How to Store & Serve Homemade Vinaigrette
- Store: The best way to store this Basil Balsamic Vinaigrette is in a glass jar with tight fitting lid. I use a mason jar, but any airtight container will keep this dressing fresh.
- Refrigerator: This dressing will stay good in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. It’s best served at room temperature. If it’s cold and congealed, let the jar sit in warm water for a couple of minutes. Stir before serving.
- Freezer: You can freeze this for 3-6 months, depending on the quality of your freezer. Leave extra room in the jar to allow it to expand. Thaw in the fridge or let the jar sit in warm (not hot) water.
- Serve: This Basil Vinaigrette is best served cold Perfect to use as a balsamic pasta salad dressing. Summer salad dressing…use it on your favorite greens. Use as a marinade for tofu or other grilled protein. Drizzle on a tomato and onion salad…divine!
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Basil Balsamic Vinaigrette
- ½ cup packed basil leaves
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup water
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 medjool dates
- ½ teaspoon coarse sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Place all ingredients into the bowl of a food processor. Blend until smooth.