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

Pesto salad dressing
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Can you put pesto in salad dressing? With a big batch of homemade pesto on hand, Alex asked me this question as we 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 less calories than the typical dressing, but is creamy and addicting. It’s kind of like a ranch dressing, but with pesto. How can you go wrong with that?

Pesto salad dressing

Notes about this pesto salad dressing

This pesto salad dressing recipe is a spin on our Healthy Ranch Dressing. We’ve stumbled upon a secret for making healthy creamy dressings: substitute some of the mayo with plain yogurt! Using yogurt cuts down on the calories in this pesto salad dressing.

With all the flavor going on in this dressing, it weighs in at 48 calories per tablespoon! The other great thing about 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. Here’s what to do:

  • 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

Tip: make homemade pesto

You can make this creamy pesto dressing with purchased pesto or homemade pesto. 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. Make our favorite Basil Pesto, or try Cashew Pesto, Walnut Pesto, or Vegan Pesto.

This dressing would go perfectly with our Best Tossed Salad

Ways to serve it

What salads would go well with this pesto salad dressing? The question is really, 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! Here are some ideas to get you started:

Pesto salad dressing

Dietary notes

This pesto salad dressing recipe is vegetarian and gluten-free.

Frequently asked questions

How long will homemade pesto dressing last?

Homemade pesto dressing can typically last up to 5 days in the refrigerator if stored in an airtight container.

Can I freeze pesto salad dressing?

We recommend not freezing this pesto salad dressing.

What types of salads pair best with pesto dressing?

Pesto dressing is incredibly versatile! It works wonderfully on simple green salads, pasta salads, grain salads, and even roasted vegetable salads. It also complements grilled chicken or grilled fish beautifully.

How can I adjust the consistency of pesto dressing?

If your pesto dressing seems too thick, you can thin it out with a little water until you reach your desired consistency.

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Pesto salad dressing

Pesto Salad Dressing

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5 from 2 reviews

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


  • 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

Looking for salad dressings?

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

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Tina says:

    I made the Pesto dressing. Really simple and yummy!

  2. Chloe says:

    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.