Sweet Basil Vinaigrette

Sweet Basil Vinaigrette. The most delicious dressing with vibrant basil flavor. If this dressing could talk, it would be shouting "summer!".

My husband Scott, has the greenest thumb ever. Don’t believe me? Check it out.

We rooted a few tiny basil plants in early May. They sure didn’t stay that way long. This is how they look now, despite me helping myself to these delicious green leaves everyday.

Basil. So prolific (if you know what to do with it), so delicious!

Basil, can you ever have enough?

Basil. So prolific (if you know what to do with it), so delicious!

We rooted a few tiny basil plants in early May. They didn't stay that way long. This is how they look now, despite me helping myself to these delicious green leaves everyday.

Basil. So prolific (if you know what to do with it), so delicious!

If there’s a bug or pest problem, Scott knows exactly how to take care of it, without using any chemical pesticides. He’s even figured out a way for the plants to (practically) water themselves. I’m sure that’s what makes them grow so prolifically. He wrote about that technique here: A Recipe for Endless Fresh Herbs Without Endless Watering.

He’s quite amazing when it comes to this stuff ………… just one of the reasons (there’s a million more) why I really, really like this guy!

If you’re a frequent visitor here at The Café, you know that cooking with fresh herbs is one of my signatures. I think they add amazing flavor to almost everything, and make beautiful garnishes as well. We grow rosemary, chives, mint, parsley and oregano for much of the year here in North Carolina, right on our back deck. Each summer we add new basil plants. LOTS of basil plants! In addition to a few pots of classic sweet basil, Scott also plants lemon, Thai, purple and spicy Globe varieties.

Yesterday I took one look at his jungle of fresh basil, and decided it was time give them all a “haircut” and make one of my favorite recipes ever; Sweet Basil Vinaigrette. I actually shared this recipe back in the early days of the Café, but it’s gotten buried in the archives, (650 recipes and growing!) and the only image in the post was one I snapped with my iPhone. It’s almost too embarrassing to share ………. but we’re friends right? Don’t laugh. Promise? Sweet Basil Vinaigrette ………. you promised!

Sweet Basil Vinaigrette. The most delicious dressing with vibrant basil flavor. If this dressing could talk, it would be shouting "summer!".

I use this dressing with lots of different salads. It’s fabulous in a simple salad , tossed with fresh greens and topped with a handful of Garlicky Croutons. It goes well in salads with fresh corn, zucchini, eggplant, peaches, summer squash, blackberries, raspberries, nectarines ………. almost any summer fruit and/or veggies …… but my all-time favorite pairing is tomatoes. And if you have some homegrown, still-warm-from-the-sun tomatoes, you might just think you’ve died and gone to heaven!

Sweet Basil Vinaigrette. The most delicious dressing with vibrant basil flavor. If this dressing could talk, it would be shouting "summer!".

I love to stack sliced tomatoes with fresh mozzarella then drizzle the piles with this beautiful, emerald green, vibrantly fresh dressing. And if I’m feeling a bit indulgent, I’ll scatter the top with some buttery toasted pine nuts.

Sweet Basil Vinaigrette. The most delicious dressing with vibrant basil flavor. If this dressing could talk, it would be shouting "summer!".

Yesterday, I did something a little different. I took a tomato, core-end down and sliced it about 1/4-inch thick, but stopped slicing about 1/2-inch from the bottom. I cut fresh mozzarella in partial circles to fit in the little wedges and stuffed them into each opening. With a drizzle of Sweet Basil Vinaigrette and a sprinkle of pine nuts, it made a delicious and beautiful presentation. We happily gobbled up it up right after the photo shoot!

Sweet Basil Vinaigrette. The most delicious dressing with vibrant basil flavor. If this dressing could talk, it would be shouting "summer!".

If you don’t grow your own basil, FIND SOME! Friends and neighbors would probably be thrilled to give some of their bumper basil harvest a happy home. The more you cut the crazy stuff, the more vigorously it grows. It’s also readily available and quite inexpensive at farmer’s markets and vegetable stands this time of the year. Just find some and whip up a batch of this “summer-in-a-jar”. When you take the first delicious taste, you’ll start thinking that summer didn’t really arrive ………. till now!

P.S. We recently discovered another delicious way to serve this dressing. It was sort of by accident, but we were sitting on the deck after lunch one day. There were a few pieces of bread left in the basket and this dressing in a small bowl. We started dipping the bread in the dressing – it was wonderful. I thought about what a fun appetizer it would make served with a good baguette. Guests could just pull off chunk of bread and dip, dip, dip.  Oh dear, Scott may have to plant even more basil next year ……….

5.0 from 7 reviews
Sweet Basil Vinaigrette
 
The most delicious dressing with vibrant basil flavor. If this dressing could talk, it would be shouting "summer!"
Author:
Recipe type: Salad Dressing
Ingredients
  • 2 cups (about ¼ pound) tightly packed fresh basil leaves, tightly packed
  • ⅓ cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • ¾ cup canola oil
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Combine vinegar, basil, garlic, mustard, sugar and honey in a food processor or blender. Puree mixture until smooth and bright green.
  2. With motor running, slowly add the salad oil to form an emulsion*.
  3. Add sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. If not serving immediately, store in an airtight jar or container in the refrigerator.
Notes
* An easy (and mess-free) way to do this is to place a piece of plastic wrap over the top (uncovered) of the blender container. Push the plastic wrap down a bit (so it droops), then cover with the blender lid. Remove center insert from the blender cover (usually clear plastic) and poke a few holes in the plastic wrap with a toothpick or wooden skewer. Slowly add the oil, adding more as it drizzles down into the basil mixture.

 

Comments

  1. says

    That tomato-mozaerella salad is too beautiful, I can’t get enough basil and will add this dressing to my basil recipe stash.

  2. says

    I have to tell you..I saved my last grocery store basil and did what you said..rooted it.I have beautiful basil that is called CSF basil:) we bought others..but that one has thrived too.
    I have something munching holes though ..Tips?
    Love the irrigation system too.I will make this Thank you both!

    • says

      I’m so happy Monique and quite honored that you have something in your beautiful garden with the moniker CSF :) Scott is going to do a post on How to grow pest-free herbs. It should come out this week. Thank you!

  3. says

    Oh! I saw your post on G+ and had to come over, Chris! This is the most summery, gorgeous dressing, and I love the presentation on your caprese salad. Lovely! You could call it “Hasselback Caprese!”

  4. says

    We used to plant our own mint, and it smelled amazing! Home grown herbs are the best, using a little in cooking is enough since the flavor and aroma are strong (in a pleasant way). Those basil clicks looks amazing :)

  5. Laurel says

    Can you please share what your husband does to get rid of pests. My basil leaves have holes in them, but I don’t see any bugs. Thanks

  6. says

    I love this dressing and make it several times throughout the summer. I love the tomato/mozzarella idea and will be taking it to the beach!! I also love your basil crema…pour it on crackers and wow can hardly stop eating crackers.
    Thanks, Chris.

  7. says

    It looks like spring, and oh the things you can do with it! They sell fresh basil in most of the grocery stores here. How gorgeous your sliced stuffed tomato is, and easy to do!

  8. says

    My little basil plant didn’t fare well so I’ll have to rely on the farmers market. The chocolate mint on the other hand is holding it’s own. The tomato salad is very pretty!

  9. says

    Love the idea of the tomato cut into thick slices and adding mozzarella slices to the wedges. Love basil so this is a must try recipe!

  10. says

    Hi Chris, I agree with you herbs make the dish. So nice your husband has the green thumb, it only takes one in a relationship. Love this vinaigrette!

  11. says

    That hasselback caprese salad photo is FANTASTIC!! What a creative way to present it. From your post a couple years ago on how to propagate basil, I have tons of it every year now. Love that method.

  12. says

    Please can Scott come and be my garden consultant? I need to plant some more basil seeds. My little plants haven’t really recovered from their last haircut sadly. Chris your ‘terrible’ photo is waaaaay better than my early photos. My goodness they were bad!

  13. says

    I remember your bumper crop of basil each year and you’re right, Scott does have a magic green thumb. Love, love, love this basil dressing. Can’t wait to give it a try. We have a lot of basil again this year too.
    Sam

  14. says

    We do grow basil, so your vinaigrette recipe will really come in handy. Love it — such great flavor. And I really like your tomato and mozzarella presentation — really nice. Thanks.

  15. says

    Wow, I LOVE your “hasselback” tomato!! Gorgeous! And that vinaigrette is perfect for so many summer salads. And I’m envious of your glorious supply of basil. Mine is coming along, but I may need to borrow Scott and his green thumb for a few tips!

  16. says

    Oh Chris – how did I miss this post? This is beautiful and I do remember your husband is an amazing gardener, photographer and partner. Dipping in bread – well yes I would love that and maybe tossed on some pasta for a light cold salad? Beautiful!

  17. Linda says

    I love your blog! I have fun making your amazing recipes and my family loves them also. My question is how long can you store the Basil Vinaigrette in the refrigerator?

  18. Lisa says

    This is my new go to dressing and one that ensures we eat salad at least once per day. I find that it’s sweet enough with just the honey and can probably get by with a little less than 2 tbsp. My basil is just coming on and I’m thinking of preserving the basil in oil in an ice cube tray and then using the oil cubes to make this in the winter. No idea yet if it will actually work, but it would be a wonderful thing to have when it’s cold and damp outside. Thanks so much for sharing it with everyone. Even if I can only enjoy it in the summer, it’s well worth it!

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