MealsSauces and Dressings

Easy Lemon Basil Vinaigrette – 5 Mins Recipe

The vibrant flavors of lemon and fresh, tender basil leaves are a great match for a variety of culinary creations. This isn’t just any salad dressing, it’s a lemon herb vinaigrette that elevates simple greens into a symphony of taste. Imagine the irresistible aroma as you toss this homemade dressing with a colorful Kale Quinoa Salad, turning an ordinary dish into an extraordinary experience.


Lemon Basil Vinaigrette

The versatility of this lemon basil vinaigrette goes beyond salads. It can transform a humble bowl of crunchy vegetables into an elegant appetizer or act as a dipping sauce for crusty breads, adding a zesty dimension to every bite. Whether drizzled over grilled fish or used as a marinade for chicken, its vibrant notes make each dish truly sing.

Tip: The key to a truly delicious lemon basil vinaigrette lies in the quality of your ingredients. Opt for freshly squeezed lemon juice and fragrant basil leaves for the most authentic, flavorful experience.

Nutritional Information



Total Fat29g
Saturated Fat5g
Trans Fat0g
Unsaturated Fat23g

Lemon Basil Vinaigrette Recipe

Recipe by Whisk and NibbleCourse: SaladsCuisine: Mediterranean


Prep time





A fresh and flavorful vinaigrette made with lemon, basil, garlic, and Parmesan cheese.


  • 1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves

  • 1 small garlic clove, minced

  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 2 lemons)

  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil (or avocado oil)

  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

  • Pinch of dried oregano or thyme (optional)


  • Combine the basil, garlic, lemon juice, and Dijon mustard in a blender or food processor. Pulse a few times to combine.
  • With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until the vinaigrette is smooth and emulsified.
  • Stir in the Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and any additional herbs you’re using.
  • Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
  • Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.


  • This homemade vinaigrette is easy to make with simple ingredients and can be used in various dishes, from salads to marinades.

Serving Suggestions

Beyond drizzling over a simple green salad, this lemon basil vinaigrette truly shines when paired with specific ingredients. Here are a few ideas to awaken your taste buds:

  • Mediterranean Medley: Toss with chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, Kalamata olives, feta cheese, and a sprinkle of oregano for a taste of the Mediterranean.
  • Grilled Seafood Sensation: Drizzle over grilled shrimp, scallops, or fish for a bright and flavorful finishing touch.
  • Caprese Twist: Elevate a classic Caprese salad with a drizzle of lemon basil vinaigrette for a zesty twist.
  • Summer Squash Symphony: Toss with grilled or roasted zucchini and yellow squash, a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese, and a few fresh basil leaves for a simple yet elegant side dish.
  • Grain Bowl Goodness: Drizzle over a quinoa or farro bowl with roasted vegetables and chickpeas for a hearty and satisfying meal.

Substitutions for Lemon Basil Dressing

  1. Olive Oil: If you don’t have olive oil on hand, you can easily substitute it with avocado oil. Both oils have a neutral flavor that won’t overpower the delicate balance of the dressing.
  2. Lemons: While freshly squeezed lemon juice and zest provide the brightest flavor, you can use limes in a pinch. However, avoid using jarred lemon juice, as it often contains preservatives and lacks the vibrancy of fresh citrus.
  3. Basil: Fresh basil is essential for the authentic taste of this dressing. If you don’t have any, you can try substituting other fresh herbs like fresh parsley or cilantro, but the flavor profile will be slightly different.

Flavor Adventures: Variations on the Classic

This lemon basil vinaigrette is a blank canvas for your culinary creativity. Here are a few ideas to customize it to your liking:

  • A Touch of Sweetness: While the classic vinaigrette is perfectly balanced, a touch of sweetness can complement the lemon and basil beautifully. Drizzle in a teaspoon of honey, maple syrup, or agave nectar while blending for a subtle floral or caramel note that balances the acidity. If you’re feeling adventurous, experiment with spiced honey or whipped honey for an extra layer of flavor and texture.
  • Spicy Kick: If you prefer a bit of heat, add a pinch (or more, to your taste) of red pepper flakes or a dash of your favorite hot sauce. This adds a fiery element that complements the fresh herbs beautifully.
  • Herb Garden Medley: While basil is the star, don’t be afraid to experiment with other fresh herbs. A handful of mint leaves adds a cooling touch, while parsley brings an earthy depth. You can even try a combination of herbs for a truly unique flavor experience.

How to Store Basil Dressing

Storing this basil dressing is simple. It can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. However, because fresh basil can deteriorate quickly and lemon is acidic, some separation or solidifying of the dressing is normal. If this happens, simply let it sit on the counter at room temperature for a few minutes and stir well before serving.

Freezing is not recommended, as the fresh basil tends to darken and lose its vibrant flavor when frozen, and the oil can separate and become grainy upon thawing, leading to an unappetizing texture.

Health Benefits

This lemon basil vinaigrette isn’t just a flavor explosion, it’s also packed with a nutritional punch. Fresh basil, the star ingredient, is rich in antioxidants, which help combat cell damage and may have anti-inflammatory properties. The fresh lemon juice contributes a healthy dose of vitamin C, known for its immune-boosting benefits and role in collagen production. So, while you’re indulging in this delicious dressing, you’re also doing something good for your body.


Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a kitchen novice, this lemon basil vinaigrette is a recipe you’ll want to keep in your back pocket. Its vibrant flavor, versatility, and nutritional benefits make it a culinary powerhouse that can elevate any dish. 


Frequently Asked Questions

What is lemon dressing made of?

A basic lemon dressing typically consists of olive oil, fresh lemon juice, and a blend of dried spices and fresh basil. This combination creates a light and refreshing dressing that complements a variety of dishes.

How long does a citrus dressing last?

Citrus dressing can last for up to 4 days in the refrigerator, but it is best when eaten fresh.

How many calories are in a lemon basil vinaigrette?

The calorie content of a lemon basil vinaigrette can vary depending on the recipe, but a typical serving contains around 130 calories.

What is lemon basil good for?

Lemon basil is a good source of beta-carotene and vitamin K, which are important for anti-inflammatory processes and clotting factors in the blood, respectively. Additionally, the bone strengthening and mineralization aspects of vitamin K are moderate to high, making lemon basil a valuable addition to your diet. It is also renowned for its role in the production of red blood cells, a vital role it plays due to its iron properties.

What is the formula for vinaigrette dressing?

The classic French vinaigrette follows a perfect ratio of 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar. However, you can adjust this ratio to suit your personal taste. If you prefer a less oily dressing, use a 2:1 ratio. Ultimately, the perfect vinaigrette is up to you.

What does lemon basil taste like?

Lemon basil has a unique, herbal, sweet, and tangy flavor with notes of lemon and anise. In late summer, the plants produce lemon-scented, small, white flowers that bloom alongside long, light green bracts, adding another layer of complexity to its aromatic profile.

Whisk and Nibble

Whisk & Nibble is a blog devoted to all things related to food - from sharing recipes for meals and drinks to highlighting the latest dessert trends and culinary lifestyle content. Visitors can find ideas and inspiration for all eating occasions while enjoying engaging writing about food culture. Whisk & Nibble aims to bring readers together over the shared joy of cooking and dining.

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