If you love a creamy salad dressing, this is the perfectly easy, make-at-home recipe for you! Made simply with minimal ingredients and just two quick steps. It’s delicious on greens or with vegetables for dipping. This yummy herbed recipe for creamy pesto salad dressing just might encourage your non-veggie eaters to dip!
Creamy Pesto Salad Dressing
Drizzle this creamy pesto salad dressing on a bowl of greens. Or serve it in a bowl along with freshly cut vegetable for dipping. Keep reading for tips about choosing ingredients and how to quickly make this dressing at home.
Restaurant Copycat Recipe
I adore eating at The Old Spaghetti Factory. It’s been my favorite restaurant since I was a little girl! Unfortunately there isn’t a location very close to me. So it’s been relegated as one of those places we only visit every few years.
What to do when I want a salad with their delicious creamy pesto dressing? I do the next best thing to going out to eat…I make it myself at home! The Spaghetti Factory’s Creamy Pesto Salad Dressing will make you crave a big plate of greens.
My family doesn’t eat out much. But we still appreciate excellent restaurant dining and here’s the trick. Use copycat recipes found in books like Secret Restaurant Recipes. These recipes will give you favorite restaurant meals without having to leave home!
Also the cost savings is amazing. Recreating this large jar of salad dressing was a bargain. The quart of buttermilk cost me $1.99. Plus $3.75 for the cheese. Everything else I already had on hand. And now I have enough leftover ingredients to make the dressing three more times!
Ingredients for Creamy Pesto Salad Dressing
Home chefs know if you use the best ingredients, you’ll have the best results! I do have a few recommendations in regards to the ingredients for this dressing recipe.
- Use regular mayonnaise in this recipe, not Miracle Whip (which has a distinctive tangy flavor).
- I highly recommend using real buttermilk if you can. It adds an awesome flavor and thickness to the creamy pesto salad dressing!
- In a pinch if you don’t have buttermilk, you can create a mock version at home. Measure out 1 1/4 cup of regular milk and add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar. Allow this to sit about 10 minutes and the milk will curdle slightly.
- Once you measure the dried basil, rub the herb between your palms. This will help break it up and release the aroma.
- If you love the flavor of garlic, you can substitute an equal amount of chopped garlic for the powder. This will give you a stronger garlic flavor. Just remember to shake the dressing before serving as the garlic will sink to the bottom.
- Be sure to use freshly grated Parmesan for the best flavor (not the dehydrated, dry cheese in a can). Make sure it’s the finely grated version and not large pieces of Parmesan to ensure it will blend well.
Making the Salad Dressing
There are literally just two steps to recreating this easy salad dressing recipe.
- 1. Measure the ingredients into a jar.
- 2. Secure the top and shake! Yes, that’s it.
I used a standard mason jar but there are other suggestions for creating and storing your creamy pesto salad dressing.
Add the ingredients to a shaker bottle, including the wire ball to help combine. A shaker cup has a convenient pouring spout for less mess. For larger batches of salad dressing, load the ingredients into the blender then whir for a few seconds to combine.
While you can eat it right away, I recommend placing the dressing into the fridge for about an hour. This will chill the dressing and allow the flavors to blend. Overnight the dressing will thicken. Give it a good shake before pouring.
What to Serve with Creamy Pesto Salad Dressing
I made several jars of this creamy pesto salad dressing for my birthday party several years ago. For dinner we had a salad bar with lots of different toppings. This dressing was by far the hit of the evening and we were scraping the bottom of the jar by the end of the night!
I like to keep this creamy pesto salad dressing on hand when we serve Italian meals. The tangy buttermilk and basil pairs nicely with tomato based dishes. We recently served it alongside sheet pan pizza for dinner. For Mexican meals, the Avocado Tomatillo Salsa Verde is my go-to dressing.
Creamy and tangy like Ranch dressing, but better. This creamy pesto salad dressing recipe can be used as both a dressing or a dip. Serve it with salad greens, cherry tomatoes and croutons. For a crudite platter, use baby carrots, bell peppers, broccoli crowns and celery for dipping.
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 1/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
- 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 1/2 Tbsp dried basil (break up in palm to release aroma)
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder (or equal amounts of crushed garlic)
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp freshly cracked pepper
- Combine all ingredients together.
- Refrigerate at least one hour before serving.