Lemon Basil Vinaigrette will add a splash of aromatic, fresh flavors to your greens. It's sweet and tart and elevates salads to another level, and it works as a delicious marinade for chicken and fish too.
On occasion, my mom added fresh basil leaves to her "Famous" Lemonade. The combination was so delicious that it inspired this Lemon Basil Vinaigrette.
Ingredients for Lemon Basil Vinaigrette
- lemons- I always use Meyer lemons over regular lemons when given the option. Meyer lemons are a touch less tart and a touch sweeter. And with a thinner skin and fewer seeds, they are incredibly juicy.
- fresh basil - Get bunches with smaller leaves if possible.
- shallots - Shallots are slightly more mild and delicate than red onions.
- fresh garlic - Raw garlic cloves should be firm without any dark spots.
- fresh ginger - Fresh ginger root should be firm and feel heavy for its size.
- honey - Use your favorite!
- extra virgin olive oil - I like this one.
- salt - I almost always cook with Kosher salt. (It's coarse and salts foods in a subtle way that enhances their flavor without making them taste salty.)
- black pepper - Freshly ground is best.
How to Make it
- If your basil leaves are large, stack a bunch of them on top of each other, roll them up, and then slice the roll to make thin strips. This is called chiffonade and you can check it our here. (I prefer larger pieces of basil in the dressing so that it adds bigger bites of flavor along with the lettuce in salads.)
- In a small bowl or large jar, combine lemon juice, shallots, garlic, ginger, salt and honey.
- For a bowl: Gradually whisk in the oil, stir in the basil leaves and season to taste with the pepper.
- For a jar: Add all of the ingredients, put the lid on tightly and shake.
Recipe Tips and Substitutions
- The easiest way to make the Lemon Basil Vinaigrette is in a jar. All you have to do is add all of the ingredients to it, put he lid on and shake.
- This dressing is best when you let it sit for at least an hour before using it. It allows time for the flavor of the basil to really seep into the dressing.
- The fresh ginger adds a tiny bite to the flavor and works really well with lemon. However, if you're not a ginger fan, skip it.
- You can use finely diced red onion if you don't have shallots.
- In this recipe, I do not recommend using dry ground spices. The fresh garlic and ginger are best for a vinaigrette.
- If your basil leaves are small, you won't need to finely chop them.
- Use Meyer lemons if you can. (As I mentioned above, they're jucier, slightly less tart and a touch sweeter than other lemons.)
- When you add the honey, if it's very thick, warm it for a few seconds in the microwave.
- The best way to mince the garlic and ginger is to use a microplane zester -- it turns it into a pulp so it will mix smoothly and easily into the vinaigrette.
More Scrumptious Dressings and Vinaigrettes
- Creamy Avocado Dressing with Lime
- Blackberry Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Blood Orange Vinaigrette
- Balsamic Cranberry Dressing
- Jalapeño Lime Vinaigrette
- Prickly Pear Vinaigrette
- Citrus Wasabi Dressing
- Salad dressings can often double as a marinade for poultry or fish. This one would be fabulous with chicken, and any mild white fish like Cod, Sole or Mahi Mahi.
- It's also fantastic drizzled into sandwiches and over pasta.
How long will it keep?
- If stored properly, Lemon Basil Vinaigrette should last for about two weeks in the refrigerator. Store it in an airtight container (a jar is best).
- When you're ready to use it, remove it from the refrigerator about 30 minutes ahead of time so that it has time to soften if it has solidified from the oil. (You can pop it in the microwave for a few seconds if it's still too solid.)
- After a couple of days the basil will have discolored a bit, but it will still taste delicious.
Lemon Basil Vinaigrette Recipe
- 1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, washed and dried
- 1 cup lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons fresh ginger pulp
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1½ tablespoons honey
- ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Prep the basil. If your basil leaves are large, stack a bunch of them on top of each other, roll them up, and then slice the roll to make thin strips. This is called chiffonade. (Or feel free to roughly chop them.)
- Mix. In a small mixing bowl or large jar, combine the lemon juice, shallots, garlic, ginger, salt and honey. If you're using a bowl, gradually whisk in the oil, stir in the basil leaves and season to taste with the pepper. If necessary, add more salt. If you're using a jar, add all of the ingredients, put the lid on tightly and shake. If necessary, add more salt.
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You have me wanting to drink the whole jar of vinaigrette! So summery and refreshing.
Thanks, Angie! Hope you love it. (I'll get you a straw. Haha.) 🙂 ~Valentina
I never buy salad dressings and love collecting new yummy recipes. With all the basil in my planter, this one is a done deal!! Simple and delicious!
Lucky you to have a planter full of fresh, home grown basil. I love it. Thanks, Liz. 🙂 ~Valentina
Reading down the ingredient list of this vibrant, herbaceous dressing, I know I'd love it! Wonderful to have dressings that also work well as a marinade - this one seems like a winner for all kinds of fish and seafood!
Thanks, Marissa! Enjoy. 🙂 ~Valentina
How long will this keep?
(By the by... LOVE it💖 Thank You)
Hi Nancy, It should last for at two weeks in the refrigerator. Store it in an airtight container (a jar is best). When you’re ready to use it, remove it from the refrigerator about 30 minutes ahead of time so that it has time to soften if it has solidified from the oil. (You can pop it in the microwave for a few seconds if it’s still too solid.) Enjoy! 🙂 ~Valentina
While lemons are wintry, this just screams summer to me — and a great condiment to have ready for salads and grilling… so fresh! xo
I'm with you on that, and it's always felt counterintuitive to me that citrus is a winter fruit. It's just so refreshing! Thanks for checking out the recipe. 🙂 ~Valentina
Oh, wow! This dressing is packed with flavour! I bet it turns any salad into something extra delicious! And I bet it would be so so good on fish. Nothing like homemade, is there? This one is a must try for sure. 🙂
Thanks so much, Dawn. It is indeed good with fish. I marinated salmon in it the other night and it was delicious. 🙂 ~Valentina