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Pesto in salad dressing? Oh yes. Stirring in this savory basil sauce adds nothing but flavor. This healthy pesto salad dressing will become a go to!

Pesto salad dressing

“Can you put pesto in salad dressing?” With a big batch of homemade pesto on hand, Alex and I were brainstorming uses for it. We’ve got pesto pasta, pesto pizza, and pesto breakfast sandwiches…so why not pesto salad dressing? Turns out, this emerald green sauce adds the perfect boost to salads. Our version is a healthy salad dressing that has much less calories than the typical dressing, but is creamy and addicting. It’s kind of like a ranch dressing, but with pesto. I mean, how can you go wrong with that?

Pesto salad dressing

How to make pesto salad dressing

This pesto salad dressing recipe is modeled after our Healthy Ranch Dressing. You’d think that creamy salad dressings wouldn’t be healthy, but we’ve stumbled upon a secret. Substitute some of that mayo with plain yogurt! Using yogurt to stand in for some of the traditional mayonnaise in a creamy dressing cuts way down on the calories in this pesto salad dressing.

With all the flavor going on in this dressing, it weighs in at a surprisingly low 48 calories per tablespoon! That’s a healthy creamy pesto dressing we can stand behind. The other great things about this pesto salad dressing is that it takes just a few minutes to mix up. If you have the pesto on hand already (which we hope you do!), it takes 5 minutes max.

Here’s how to make this pesto salad dressing:

  • In a small bowl, mix together plain yogurt, mayonnaise, pesto, red wine vinegar, and salt.
  • Serve immediately, or refrigerate until serving!
How to make basil pesto

Making homemade pesto

You can make this creamy pesto dressing with purchased pesto or with homemade pesto. Of course, we always recommend trying it out homemade! Keep in mind that this dressing is easiest when you’ve already made a batch of pesto and are looking for ways to use it up. Making pesto is perfect in the summer when you have access to lots of fresh basil, either in your garden or at the farmers market. If you’re thinking about growing basil, we have a tutorial for growing it at home: How to Grow Basil.

Once you’ve located some basil, all you need is a handful of other ingredients and a food processor. We have several pesto variations you can use for the recipe:

This dressing would go perfectly with our Best Tossed Salad

How to serve it

So, what salads would go well with this pesto salad dressing? Well, what salads wouldn’t go with it? This dressing is very versatile, and we’d use it anywhere you’d traditionally use a ranch or creamy dressing. Honestly, it would be great on a simple butter lettuce, little gem, or romaine salad! But here are a few other ideas to get you started:

Pesto salad dressing

This pesto salad dressing recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free.

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Pesto salad dressing

Creamy Pesto Salad Dressing

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: ¾ cup 1x


Pesto in salad dressing? Oh yes. Stirring in this savory basil sauce adds nothing but flavor. This healthy pesto salad dressing will become a go to!


  • ½ cup plain whole milk yogurt
  • ¼ cup tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons prepared pesto (or homemade Basil Pesto or Cashew Pesto)
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Stir together all ingredients in a bowl. Serve immediately or refrigerate until serving.
  2. Store refrigerated for up to 1 week.
  • Category: Salad Dressing
  • Method: Stirred
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: Pesto Salad Dressing, Creamy Pesto Salad Dressing, Dressing, Salad Dressing

Looking for salad dressings?

Outside of this recipe, here are a few of our very favorite salad dressing recipes:

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you’ll want to make again and again.

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  1. I didn’t have regular yogurt, so I ended up making this with some honey greek yogurt I already had in the fridge. The dressing ended up being a little thick, but it was still AMAZING. I did add an extra 1/2 tsp of vinegar to liquify it a bit, but didn’t want the dressing to be too sharp and pungent, so I just accepted that my dressing would be a little creamier.