Basil Vinaigrette

If you’ve been reading this for awhile, you may remember when I mentioned that I once bought a cookbook simply for a salad dressing recipe. Subsequently, I’ve learned to love Rebar’s lime sugar cookies and have tried numerous other recipes in the book. But it’s the basil vinaigrette that keeps me coming back to this book every single time.

Salad close-up

I first tried the basil dressing when I had a salad at Rebar one afternoon. It was a fantastic meal. (I have this theory about salads, that they are always best when someone else makes them. In this case, it’s not all that surprising when you look at what they include in their giant salads: grated beets, grated carrots, lettuce, tomatoes, sunflower seeds, cheese . . . . The list goes on.) And I’ve barely tried anything else when I’ve gone there again because the salad is so good.

And they don’t blink when I ask for a little extra dressing on the side.

People, this is good stuff.

And no doubt, there is A LOT of basil in here. Once blended with vinegars, dijon and a few other ingredients, then emulsified with olive oil, this comes out very thick, very green and very fantastic.


As soon as basil starts to show up at the farmer’s market each summer, I buy a couple of huge bunches, make a batch or two of pesto and then this dressing, which I devour on salads all week.

(Um, may I suggest checking your basil before blending?)
Extra passenger

The measurement for basil (1 1/2 ounces) doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s a few cups, so make sure to buy enough. Otherwise, cut the recipe in half if you don’t have enough.

All in the blender

Basil Vinaigrette

Basil Vinaigrette II

Dressing on lettuce

Simple salad with Basil Vinaigrette

Basil Vinaigrette

from the Rebar Modern Food Cookbook

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 ounces fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cracked pepper
  • 1 cup olive oil

Combine all of the ingredients, except the olive oil, in a food processor (I use a blender and that works just as well, I’ve found.) and blend. Slowly add olive oil in a slow, thin stream until thick and creamy.

Season to taste and serve. Can be refrigerated up to three days.

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  1. I have a basil plant that is just flourishing on my windowsill. I’ve been looking for unique uses for basil, can’t wait to try this recipe! How long does it keep once prepared?

    1. The recipe says it’s good for about three days, though mine has lasted a day or two longer. But it doesn’t keep much longer than that, so I recommend eating it sooner rather than later.

  2. I just made this tonight on a whim because I saw the post and have a basil plant and we were planning a salad anyway. It was delicious!!! My food processor obviously doesn’t work as well as your blender, as mine was less smooth and a little more ‘piece-y’ with basil bits, but it still tasted sooo good. Thanks!!!

  3. this looks incredible! i’m definitely picking up basil at the farmer’s market next weekend. i feel like this would be amazing over a simple tomato and fresh mozzarella salad.

    1. At Rebar, they also do a bread salad with fresh mozzarella and tomatoes topped with this dressing, so you can bet your idea will be delicious!

  4. Sounds like an unbelievable dressing! Basil and cilantro are my favorite herbs, so I’m always drawn to recipes that use them as the primary ingredients.

    Awesome blog, by the way! I love your pictures!

  5. nothing related to the recipe… but my daughter LOVED that pic of the ladybug on the leaf! :) I didn’t have the heart to tell her that it nearly became part of salad dressing! :S

  6. Gwendolyn! So, I went to Rebar this weekend and I had the same salad you had with the basil vinaigrette. Then I came searching online for the recipe and the first thing that pops up is your blog :) Amazing. Your blog and the recipe, that is.

  7. Gwendolyn, you are truly a talented cook. I shared this fantastic recipe on my blog, The Morning Fresh – and can almost guarantee that I’ll be back for more! Thank you, thank you. I have a giant jar of pesto waiting to be devoured, but it’s going on the back burner while my thoughts are clouded with fantasies of this dressing.

    Where exactly is this Rebar place you’re raving about? I’m dying to treat my taste buds to one of those salads.

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