Lemon Basil Vinaigrette (Copycat Trader Joe’s Recipe)

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Why you’ll love this Lemon Basil Vinaigrette!

  • Fresh Flavor. As the weather warms, there’s nothing better than homemade salad dressing with sweet basil and fresh lemon flavor, perfect for summer salads
  • Easy Recipe. It’s an easy salad dressing with simple ingredients, like good olive oil, fresh herbs, and basic seasonings.
  • Versatile. Lemon dressing is great for drizzling on a bed of greens or tossing into a tender pasta salad. It’s also excellent for adding more flavor to a grilled chicken breast!

A homemade recipe is always better than store-bought dressings packed with preservatives and artificial flavors. Instead, enjoy real ingredients, like fresh basil, spicy garlic, and sweet honey.

Ingredients for making lemon basil dressing on a table.

Ingredient notes

  • Lemons | Get fresh lemon juice from about two large lemons and grate the tangy lemon zest from one, too.
  • Basil | Fresh basil leaves are perfect for summer recipes, and this salad dressing is no exception!
  • Oil | Use a quality oil, like extra virgin olive oil. See the notes for more oil options that work great with this vinaigrette recipe.
  • Vinegar | Make a bright and tangy dressing with white wine vinegar.
  • Garlic | Give the dressing a layer of subtle spice with fresh garlic cloves.
  • Mustard | Dijon mustard acts as an emulsifier for this vinaigrette dressing recipe and gives it a creamier texture.
  • Honey | Give the dressing a hint of sweetness with honey.
  • Salt and pepper | Season the dressing to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Red pepper | Crushed red pepper flakes give the refreshing dressing a light kick of heat.

How to make Lemon Basil Dressing

Today’s lemon basil dressing is more flavorful and satisfying than the top brands at the grocery store. And it only takes a few minutes to make!

STEP 1 | Juice and zest the lemon

First, take out that handy lemon zester. Zest one large lemon to make a tablespoon of zest, then halve the lemon and press out the juice into a measuring cup, juicing more lemons until you have a total of ⅓ cup of fresh juice.

A halved lemon, a zester, and a citrus press on a cutting board on a table.

STEP 2 | Blend ingredients

Next, pour the lemon juice and zest into the bowl of a food processor. Then, add the remaining ingredients and process until the ingredients are blended and smooth.

STEP 3 | Season and enjoy!

Lastly, taste and season with more salt and pepper until the dressing fits your preference. Then, ladel the dressing into in one of these adorable mason jars or enjoy fresh!

Basil lemon dressing in a mason jar on a plate.

tips

  • For best results and full flavor, use fresh herbs.
  • Measure each ingredient accurately for the best salad dressing.

If you’re craving more homemade dressings, check out my BBQ Ranch, Homemade Greek Dressing, and Spinach Salad Dressing!

Variations and substitutions

  • Oil Substitutes. I prefer extra-virgin olive oil for this dressing recipe. However, many other options exist, like sunflower, grapeseed, or avocado oil.
  • Mustard Alternatives. If you don’t prefer Dijon mustard, feel free to use your favorite! For instance, classic yellow mustard gives the dressing a more mild mustard flavor, while spicy brown mustard brings a hint of heat.
  • Vinegar Options. Instead of white wine vinegar, use white balsamic vinegar for richness or apple cider vinegar for a fruitier profile.
  • If preferred, replace the garlic with shallots for a more mild taste.

Storage tips

  • Store the freshly made lemon herb vinaigrette in an airtight container, like a mason jar. Separate from salad ingredients, it will last for about a week in the refrigerator. Be sure to give it a good stir or shake before serving!
A bowl of arugula, sliced carrots, almonds, and shaved parmesan cheese with a jar of lemon basil dressing on a table.

Frequently asked questions

Is lemon basil vinaigrette keto?

Yes! As long as you avoid mustard with added sugars, the dressing is very keto-friendly.

How long is homemade vinaigrette good for?

Technically, how long the recipe will last when appropriately stored in the fridge depends on more ingredients, not only the vinaigrette base. In general, vinaigrettes tend to last up to a week. 

Is lemon basil vinaigrette healthy?

This lemon basil dressing is a healthier option than other salad ingredients and much healthier than the store-bought equivalents.

What are some common mistakes to avoid when making vinaigrette?

Some common mistakes people make when making a homemade vinaigrette dressing are not accurately measuring the ingredients the recipe calls for, leaving out the emulsifying ingredients, and not using fresh herbs.

An arugula salad in a bowl and a jar of salad dressing on a table.

Looking for more Delicious Summer Recipes?

Summer is almost here, so it’s time to add new and refreshing flavors to your menu to fight the heat and make the most of the seasonal veggies and fruits! Try my Corn Avocado Salad the next time you host friends and family or serve Fish Tacos with Mango Salsa for a summer-themed Taco Tuesday! And don’t forget about the summer sweets, like this Blueberry Shortcake — Yum!

Drizzling lemon basil dressing out of a wooden ladle onto a bowl of greens on a table.

What to serve with Lemon Basil Vinaigrette

Of course, this homemade dressing is perfect for salads. I like to make a lemon basil salad with fresh baby arugula, sliced carrots, almonds, and shaved Parmesan cheese — it’s my Trader Joe’s Copycat version!

Lemon Vinaigrette is also an excellent addition to other dishes, like grain salads or these savory rosemary-garlic Broiled Lamb Chops. I love to make a lemon basil salad topped with parmesan cheese, and I also believe this dressing would be delicious in a couscous salad!

Lemon Basil Vinaigrette on a plate with basil and lemons.

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A jar of lemon basil vinaigrette on a table with fresh basil leaves, a lemon, and a wooden spoon to the side.

Lemon Vinaigrette

This easy Lemon Vinaigrette Dressing brightens any salad with a vibrant lemon basil color, fresh basil, and refreshing flavor.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Servings 12 servings
Calories 126 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • cup fresh lemon juice about 2 large lemons
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • cup firmly packed fresh basil leaves
  • cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Instructions
 

  • Zest one large lemon to make 1 tablespoon of zest, then halve the lemon and press out the juice into a measuring cup. Juice more lemons until you have ⅓ cup of fresh juice.
  • Pour the lemon juice and zest into the bowl of a food processor., then add the remaining ingredients. Process until the ingredients are blended and smooth.
  • Taste and season with more salt and pepper, if desired.

Notes

  • For best results and full flavor, use fresh herbs.
  • Measure each ingredient accurately for the best salad dressing.

Nutrition

Calories: 126kcalCarbohydrates: 5gProtein: 0.1gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 9gSodium: 59mgPotassium: 17mgFiber: 0.2gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 45IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 4mgIron: 0.2mg

Life Love and Good Food does not claim to be a registered dietician or nutritionist. Nutritional information shared on this site is only an estimate. We recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator if you need to verify any information.

Keyword Basil, fresh herbs, homemade salad dressing, lemon, olive oil
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was.
Sheila Thigpen, blogger

About Sheila Thigpen

Recipe Developer, Food Photographer, Food Writer

Sheila Thigpen is the publisher of Life, Love, and Good Food — a Southern food blog — and the author of Easy Chicken Cookbook and The 5-Ingredient Fresh and Easy Cookbook. After 20+ years in the publishing industry, she retired in 2018 to focus on her own creative endeavors full time. She and her husband live near the beautiful Smoky Mountains and have a precious little granddaughter who has stolen their hearts. As an influencer, Sheila has collaborated with brands like Creamette, Kroger, HERSHEY’S, Hamilton Beach, Garafalo Pasta, OXO, Smithfield, Valley Fig Growers, and more.

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