Shockinglydelicious Saturday Cooking Class: Basil-Honey Dressing (the little black dress of salad dressings)

by Dorothy Reinhold on September 4, 2010

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You know how your little black dress solves wardrobe problems? You can wear it here and there, dress it up or keep it simple, and it always looks good, and most importantly, makes YOU look good?

That’s what this salad dressing does. It’s the little black dress – the go-to, verdant, herbaceous, sweet-ish finishing touch on fresh baby greens, on a peppery arugula salad, on a plate of sliced heirloom tomatoes, even on cut up fruit. It awakens your dormant taste buds with a pleasant snap! Honey lightly sweetens it without turning it into dessert.

Basil is abundant right now. No excuses!

Note: I submitted this to the Grow Your Own project for September. You can see it along with other Grow Your Own dishes for the month at the lovely blog of Heather/Girlichef from Indiana.

Basil-Honey Dressing

Only takes 4 ingredients! Oops, I forgot to put cider vinegar in the photo

Basil-Honey Dressing

Oil, vinegar and honey naturally make layers

Basil-Honey Dressing

It takes a good handful of basil leaves. The more the merrier!

Basil-Honey Dressing

Excellent on greens or fresh fruit for a sweet touch.

1/2 cup packed whole basil leaves
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup olive oil (or vegetable oil)
1/4 cup cider vinegar
Pinch salt

Roughly chop or tear basil leaves (to give them a head start), and combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until dressing is smooth. There will be small basil flecks. (If you have an immersion blender, you can try that instead.)

Pour into a jar and refrigerate before serving. Keeps for a week or more in the refrigerator.

Basil-Honey Dressing

It makes a gorgeous green dressing…note the basil in background went to flower

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Agnes August 13, 2015 at 1:32 pm

can you use other types of vinigar also?
And can you use instead of vinagar gresh lemon juice?


Dorothy Reinhold August 18, 2015 at 6:00 am

You could use white wine vinegar or champagne vinegar. I wouldn’t use red wine vinegar because the color will be ruined, or balsamic vinegar because it is a lot stronger. If you try it with lemon juice, start with less juice, and add more as you taste and go. I would fear that lemon juice would overpower it. But I am a big fan of trying things, so if you prefer the idea of lemon, try it and let me know how it goes!


Cathy @ She Paused 4 Thought May 5, 2013 at 12:59 pm

I just made this and WOW is it good!


Dorothy Reinhold May 5, 2013 at 9:53 pm

So glad! It might be my favorite dressing of all time.


Debi April 19, 2012 at 8:37 am

This dressing looks awesome. I’d esp love it when the basil is trying to take over the backyard in the summer. Found you on Family Fresh Meals. Thanks for sharing this!


Dorothy April 19, 2012 at 9:07 am

Oh yes, that is my favorite dressing!
Also take a look at this one, for the same reason — it is delicious and versatile. Some people are using it as a sauce for fish, or a marinade for chicken, as well.


lynn January 3, 2012 at 4:00 pm

I finally got around to making this, Dorothy, and it was fabulous as advertised! (Even if I had to buy my basil because it’s out of season for our little garden.) Do you mind if I post about it and link here? Thank you!


Dorothy January 3, 2012 at 10:38 pm

I’m so glad! Please send around the link to whomever you think would like it! Thank you!


lynn October 2, 2010 at 6:01 pm

I came over from the Grow Your Own post. This dressing looks great 🙂 I have been making pesto and freezing it, and also dehydrating some of my basil. But this dressing looks like a nice change of pace. I’m printing out the recipe. Thanks for sharing 🙂


Bonnie October 2, 2010 at 5:20 pm

So many possibilities for this dressing. Love the beautiful color and love any recipe that used basil. It’s the go-to flavor in any good recipe in my opinion and the essence of summer.


Dan October 2, 2010 at 2:17 pm

That noise was the door slamming behind me as I ran out to rescue what was left of our basil.


Dorothy October 2, 2010 at 4:23 pm

Dan, you are so funny! But I did the same thing yesterday! I ran out to make sure I could get what might be the last of my basil. I have made a batch of this every week for the past four weeks….that’s how great it tastes!


Andrea Meyers October 1, 2010 at 10:26 am

Don’t you just love using fresh basil in dressing? It tastes so much better than the store-bought stuff and is easy to make. Love the color!


Dorothy October 1, 2010 at 10:43 am

Agreed! And I love walking by it in the garden and smelling the basil perfuming the air. Or when you water it, the smell is released. Heavenly!


girlichef September 13, 2010 at 10:53 am

Hey Dorothy…I’m so happy you submitted this to GYO this month…such a perfect little dressing! Sounds like the perfect thing to do with the abundance of basil I have in my garden right now. 🙂


Dorothy September 13, 2010 at 12:27 pm

Girlichef, oh yes, if you have basil, you are 5 minutes away from a taste sensation with this dressing. For others who are growing things and cooking with them, you may submit your own offerings to Grow Your Own for September at


Jon P Bednarzcyk September 9, 2010 at 7:51 am

I made the Basil Honey Dressing last night and it was AWESOME! The burst of flavor from the fresh basil was amazing on my arugula salad. Also, I used local wildflower NJ honey with orange honey white balsamic and it was great.


Lynne @ CookandBeMerry September 6, 2010 at 1:17 am

I was also thinking I could drizzle this over a sauteed fish fillet, a wedge of quiche, a little savory artichoke tart, or a garlic rubbed buttery grilled piece of sourdough. You’ve really got me thinking with this one.


Dorothy September 6, 2010 at 7:13 am

Lynne, I like the way you think! I often drizzle a little salad dressing over something that needs to be punched up. Come back and let us know if you try it, what works.


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