Are you looking for a new vinaigrette to jazz up your salads? One that sings of summer bounty, that’s also quick and easy to make? This Basil Honey Vinaigrette is a wonderful way to celebrate the basil in your herb garden or at the market.
About a year ago, I got a salad at the Byron Freehouse that came with a Basil Honey Vinaigrette. I always ask for my dressings on the side when I’m eating out, not only because I don’t like my greens doused but also because I never know how much I’ll like a dressing. Well, this one won me over. It’s possibly the best vinaigrette I’ve had at a restaurant. So, of course I decided I’d like to try my hand at my own version of it.
Years ago the shelves inside my fridge door were always lined with a motley collection of bottled dressings (it seemed like everyone in the family liked something different — can you relate?). Then I discovered how easy it is to make my own vinaigrettes, and haven’t looked back. I’ve written about them many times here on the blog, including this primer on making a classic vinaigrette. Rather than making a big batch using a whisk, most of the time I simply put all the ingredients in a small bowl, give them a good whisking with a fork until the dressing has emulsified, and voila … enough dressing for that night’s salad.
Although I generally keep the tools basic — bowl and fork — this Basil Honey Vinaigrette is good enough for me to haul out some more serious equipment. I made it in my mini chopper, not only to break down the basil but to help blend it into the liquid ingredients. If I were making a much bigger batch, I’d use my blender; it might render the basil even finer, but I don’t mind the small pieces in the batch I made.
Basil is such a wonderfully fragrant herb; it always makes me happy when I smell fresh basil in my kitchen and on my hands. I don’t usually sweeten my vinaigrettes, but the honey here adds not just sweetness but its unique flavour. I use a mild local honey, from Dave’s Apiaries, and that makes the dressing even more special. Just a note: I wouldn’t use a strongly-flavoured honey, such as buckwheat honey, in this dressing as it would be too strong and detract from the flavour of the key ingredient, the basil.
And one more ingredient note … a vinaigrette deserves your best oil, one that’s not only flavourful, but fresh. Try not to keep olive and other oils for more than six months (in the proverbial cook, dark place), and if they’re getting up there in age, give them the sniff test or take a little taste to ensure they haven’t gone rancid.
This is my favourite of all the vinaigrette variations I’ve made over the years. It has it all: beautiful green colour, the scent of basil, subtle natural sweetness and memorable flavour. Don’t limit yourself to using it only on greens; it would be good on potato salad and in devilled eggs, too. That said, I can’t wait to have another salad with it!
Basil Honey Vinaigrette
© Marlene Cornelis, Urban Cottage Life.com 2017
Once you’ve tried this dressing, you’ll find yourself making it over and over. I used the whole batch at once, so don’t have experience with storing it. If I were to keep it in the refrigerator it would only be for a day or two at the most. Vinaigrettes with things like herbs, garlic, et cetera in them are best eaten fresh.
- about 15 leaves fresh basil
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil — the best quality you can afford
- 1 1/2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp mild honey
- about 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
- pinch salt
Place all the ingredients in the bowl of a mini food processor, and process until the liquid is a beautiful pale green adorned with verdant flecks of basil. (Yes, this Basil Honey Vinaigrette makes me feel poetic.) Taste, and adjust seasonings if required. Use right away, preferably. Otherwise, store sealed in the refrigerator for a day or two at the most.
Looking for Other Vinaigrettes?
This red wine vinaigrette is a true classic, and the post contains a step-by-step photo guide to making vinaigrettes (it’s like a bonus with purchase, except you didn’t have to pay a cent!). For something a little different, why not try avocado oil in a dressing, like this avocado lime vinaigrette? And for something even further out there, if you happen to make pickled strawberries, then you really need to try this pickled strawberry vinaigrette.