3-Ingredient Pesto Vinaigrette - Real Food Whole Life

3-Ingredient Pesto Vinaigrette

October 21, 2021

spoon dipping into a small glass jar of pesto vinaigrette with salad in the background

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!

spoon dipping into a small glass jar of pesto vinaigrette with salad in the background

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.

pesto and lemons in white bowls on a white background with fresh basil

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.
salad with pesto dressing being drizzled over top

What to Serve with Pesto Vinaigrette

Veggie Quinoa Power Bowls

Peach Chicken Basil Glow Bowls

5-Ingredient Free Meatballs

Sheet Pan Chicken, Kale and Sweet Potatoes

Roasted Italian Sausage and Vegetables

5-Ingredient Mediterranean Pasta Salad

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.

top down view of pesto vinaigrette in a small glass jar on white background

More Healthy Dressing Recipes

Lemon Dijon Dressing

Apple Cider Vinaigrette

Easy Balsamic Vinaigrette

Chipotle Honey Vinaigrette

3-Ingredient Hummus Dressing

Pomegranate Vinaigrette

Creamy Balsamic Dressing

Miso Tahini Dressing

This Recipe Is…

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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!

spoon dipping into a small glass jar of pesto vinaigrette with salad in the background
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3-Ingredient Pesto Vinaigrette

Yield 16
Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 5 mins

Incredibly simple to make, 3-ingredient pesto vinaigrette uses pre-made pesto, lemon juice and olive oil for an easy dressing that will liven up any dish!

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 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

optional

  • 1 tsp maple syrup or honey
  • additional grated parmesan cheese or vegan parmesan

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

To ensure this recipe is vegan and dairy-free, be sure to use a vegan/dairy-free pesto like the one linked above.
Red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar may be used in place of lemon juice. 
Add 1 teaspoon of maple syrup or honey to balance out the flavor of the other ingredients. Use maple syrup to keep this recipe vegan. Omit entirely to keep this recipe whole30 friendly.
This recipe makes about 16 tablespoons (or 1 cup) of dressing which will serve 16 if you use 1 tablespoon per serving.
For more ingredients & substitutions, see blog post above.

Nutrition

Calories: 61kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 109mg | Potassium: 4mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 156IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 13mg | Iron: 1mg
Nutrition disclaimer
did you make this recipe?Mention @realfoodwholelife or tag #realfoodwholelife!

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