This 5-ingredient creamy pesto vinaigrette is perfect for salads, bowls and roasted vegetables. It’s fresh, tangy and slightly sweet–and it uses store bought pesto for a salad dressing with maximum flavor and minimal prep.

Green salad dressing in a white ceramic bowl on a white marble counter, surrounded by a white kitchen towel and a bowl of broccoli

I think we can all agree that the key to salads that satisfy is a dressing that tastes GOOD.

Oil and vinegar just doesn’t cut it. So if you want to eat more vegetables without constantly dreaming of fries and Chipotle, you’re going to need some simple, delicious salad dressing recipes in your arsenal. 

This creamy pesto vinaigrette is one of the tastiest and easiest salad dressings I’ve tried to-date. It’s fresh and deliciously creamy. And somehow, it’ll only cost you 5-ingredients and about 3-minutes of your time. Trust me: this Sweetgreen-inspired pesto salad dressing is going to change your salad game forever.

And hi, I’m Miranda! I’m a Registered Dietitian on a mission to make healthy eating easier with realistic nutrition tips and truly simple recipes. Learn more about my journey from WW to intuitive eating!

Why you need this salad dressing

  • It will make you want to eat more vegetables. If Sweetgreen has it on their menu, you know it’s going to be good. This creamy pesto vinaigrette has the perfect mix of tang, richness and sweetness to make you actually crave salads. 
  • It’s creamy, but not too indulgent. This salad dressing is perfect for those of us who like a lot of dressing. It seriously satisfies, but it’s still light and fresh and will leave you feeling great. 
  • It’s customizable. Everyone’s taste is so different, which is why I like recipes with lots of room for tweaks. We’ll talk through some ways to make this dressing perfect for you later in this post. 
  • It’s easy. You’ll only need 5-ingredients (including salt and pepper) and less than 3-minutes to make this creamy pesto salad dressing. 

Ingredients and substitutions

You’ll need 5 ingredients to make this creamy pesto salad dressing:

  • Store bought basil pesto: easy is the name of the game. So put away your food processor and pine nuts–they won’t be needed!
  • Apple cider vinegar: adds the perfect tang and brightness to balance the basil pesto. You could use white wine vinegar, red wine vinegar or lemon juice too!
  • Mayonnaise: for the most delectable, creamy texture. And I promise, we don’t use too much!
  • Maple syrup: it doesn’t make things overly sweet, but it does balance the flavors nicely. 
  • Salt and pepper: adjust to your taste!
Ingredients in glass bowls on a white marble counter, including mayonnaise, basil pesto, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, and salt and pepper.

How to make this pesto salad dressing

This salad dressing recipe couldn’t be easier. 

Simply combine pesto, vinegar, mayonnaise, maple syrup and seasonings in a bowl and whisk for 30-seconds or until well combined. You can also make this pesto vinaigrette in a mason jar and shake!

How to store

You can easily make this pesto vinaigrette ahead of time and enjoy later!

  • Fridge: store in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the fridge. If the dressing separates, simply whisk or shake before serving!
  • Freezer: store in a freezer-safe container for 1-2 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight, and whisk or shake before serving. 


Make this creamy pesto vinaigrette perfect for your taste and dietary needs with some simple swaps:

  • Plant-based: use a dairy-free pesto and use vegan mayonnaise. 
  • Sugar-free: leave out the maple syrup.
  • Cheesy: add 2 tbsp of freshly grated parmesan.
  • Lemon: use lemon juice instead of vinegar for a brighter taste.
  • Balsamic: use balsamic instead of apple cider vinegar for a richer taste.
  • Sun-dried tomato: try a sun-dried tomato pesto or another pesto flavor you love. 
Grain bowl in a white bowl, inculding quinoa, roasted broccoli, shredded chicken, spinach and green salad dressing.

What to pair with creamy pesto vinaigrette

Try this recipe as a dressing on salad, pasta salad, or grain bowls. It also works well as a drizzle on pizza, flatbreads, sandwiches or roasted vegetables.

Looking to learn?

Read these popular articles on realistic nutrition and wellness:

Green salad dressing in a white ceramic bowl on a white marble counter, surrounded by a white kitchen towel and a bowl of broccoli
5 from 3 votes

Creamy Pesto Vinaigrette

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
This 5-ingredient creamy pesto vinaigrette is perfect for salads, bowls and roasted veggies. It uses store bought pesto for maximum flavor and minimum prep.


  • 2 tbsp store bought pesto
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp maple syrup, or honey
  • salt and pepper, to taste


  • Add pesto, vinegar, mayonnaise, maple syrup, salt and pepper to a bowl.
  • Whisk for 30-seconds or until salad dressing is combined and smooth. Is using a mason jar, secure lid and shake until combined and smooth.


Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the fridge. Whisk or shake before serving if dressing separates.
Serving: 2tbsp, Calories: 112kcal, Carbohydrates: 2g, Protein: 0.4g, Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Trans Fat: 0.02g, Cholesterol: 6mg, Sodium: 126mg, Potassium: 15mg, Fiber: 0.1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 109IU, Calcium: 12mg, Iron: 0.1mg
Cuisine: American, Italian
Course: Dips and Dressings