Incredibly simple to make, 3-ingredient pesto vinaigrette uses premade pesto, lemon juice and olive oil for an easy dressing that will liven up any dish!
About this Pesto Vinaigrette Recipe
I’m a big fan of taking common pantry staples and finding new ways to use them.
Pasta sauces are one of those things that can be used to flavor so many other dishes beyond just pasta.
This healthy, homemade salad dressing gets a big flavor boost from a humble jar of basil pesto sauce.
The fresh herbs and garlic in the pesto combine with fresh lemon juice and rich, extra virgin olive oil to make a bright and versatile dressing.
Making it is as simple as adding everything to a jar, shaking it together and drizzling it on everything from salads to bowls, chicken dishes and even fish!
Process & Tips
The great thing about this homemade dressing is that it comes together easily in just a mason jar.
Shaking the ingredients together in a jar helps bring all the ingredients together and cuts down on clean up.
I love using a mason jar for my dressings because you can store any leftover vinaigrette in the same jar, reducing dishes even further.
Skipping the need for a blender or food processor makes this recipe easier, faster, and involves much less clean up then many other vinaigrette recipes out there.
If you use storebought pesto you’ll save even more time since it’ll already be full of flavor from fresh basil and herbs, garlic, olive oil and lemon juice.
That being said, my homemade basil pesto recipe works really well for this dressing and is great if you’re looking for a dairy-free and nut-free option.
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Extra virgin olive oil: Any neutral oil will work in this recipe, such as avocado oil, vegetable oil or canola.
- Lemon juice: Use red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar in place of lemon juice.
- Honey: Add 1 teaspoon of maple syrup or honey to balance out the flavor of the other ingredients. Use maple syrup if you’d like to make a vegan version. Omit it entirely if you’d like to make this recipe whole30 friendly.
- Kosher salt: look for kosher salt with the regular iodized salt at the grocery store. It has a subtler flavor. Use less iodized salt if that’s what you have on hand.
- Parmesan cheese: Add traditional (or vegan) Parmesan cheese if you like.
- Premade pesto: Use homemade pesto in place of storebought for an extra flavorful dressing.
What to Serve with Pesto Vinaigrette
Any leafy greens as a quick side salad, but arugula and baby spinach are particularly good with this dressing.
Drizzle over top chicken, fish or your favorite cooked grain.
Make a copycat Sweetgreen Earth Bowl by tossing together cooked chicken breast, cooked broccoli, chickpeas, corn kernels, baby arugula, chopped cherry tomatoes, cooked quinoa, white cheddar cheese with the pesto dressing.
How to Store & Freeze Leftover Dressing
Store covered, tightly sealed and refrigerated for up to 5 days.
The vinaigrette may separate and look clumpy when refrigerated. This is because oil can solidify at cooler temperatures.
To use, simply remove from the refrigerator, allow to come to room temperature, and shake well to recombine.
More Healthy Dressing Recipes
This Recipe Is…
I hope you’ll make this healthy Pesto Vinaigrette recipe soon.
If you do, be sure to share it on Instagram and tag me at @realfoodwholelife so I can see!
3-Ingredient Pesto Vinaigrette
- 1/2 cup prepared pesto or vegan pesto
- 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp maple syrup or honey
- additional grated parmesan cheese or vegan parmesan
- To a 8-oz mason jar, add the pesto, lemon juice, olive oil and salt.
- Add the lid, and shake vigorously until the salt has dissolved and all the ingredients are combined.
- Taste and add additional salt or lemon juice if desired.
- Store, refrigerated, for up to 5 days. To use, allow to come to room temperature, and shake well to recombine.
This post contains affiliate links