Summer fresh basil is the star of this creamy Basil Buttermilk Dressing. This versatile homemade salad dressing is a wonderful choice for your summer salads.
Each year when graduation time rolls around, I find myself reminiscing. And, of course, all of my memories seem to be tied to food.
Our youngest son’s graduation from UC Santa Barbara brings back memories of this unforgettable Basil Buttermilk Dressing. Adam and his girlfriend arranged for a post-graduation lunch at The Bistro at the gorgeous Bacara Resort in Santa Barbara. Our two families sat outdoors on a gloriously sunny California day and I ordered a grilled chicken salad that was topped with this dreamy dressing.
After returning home, I couldn’t get this darned dressing off my mind so I emailed the resort to ask if they’d be kind enough to share the recipe. I really didn’t have much hope of a response but lo and behold, Chef Jeffrey O’Brien took the time to respond with small batch version of this delicious dressing that can easily be prepared at home.
The star of this show is fresh basil. If you happen to be growing basil in your herb garden this year, this easy buttermilk salad dressing is a fabulous way to use it.
- minced shallot
- Dijon mustard
- minced garlic
- roughly chopped basil leaves
- white wine vinegar (see note below)
The restaurant version calls for champagne vinegar but I opted for white wine vinegar which is far less expensive and always stocked in my pantry. If you happen to have a bottle of champagne vinegar on hand, definitely use it here, but I don’t think it is worth the cost to purchase it specifically to make this recipe.
Just pulse the ingredients together in your food processor or blender until smooth and creamy.
Storing Dairy Based Salad Dressing
- Transfer your salad dressing to an airtight container. Mason jars or plastic storage containers with tight fitting lids work well.
- Refrigerate any unused dressing promptly.
- Dairy based dressings and dressings that include fresh herbs should be consumed within 1 week.
This Basil Buttermilk Dressing is nearly as versatile as a basic buttermilk Ranch dressing. It is delicious served over a main dish grilled chicken or seafood based salad or just drizzled over a simple tossed green side salad.
At The Bistro it was served on a baby spinach salad with avocado, pistachios, hard boiled egg, grilled chicken breast, blueberries, flax seeds, and goat cheese. Amazing.
An herb-based salad dressing like this one is a great way to add a burst of freshness to any salad.
Basil Buttermilk Dressing
- ⅔ cup buttermilk
- ⅓ cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon minced shallot
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- ¼ cup packed, roughly chopped basil leaves
- 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar or champagne vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- salt, to taste
- Purée all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Taste and add additional salt, if needed.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated using generic ingredients, and is an estimate not a guarantee. For more accurate results, please refer to the labels on your ingredients at home.
Adapted from The Bistro at Bacara Resort and Spa
Questions and Reviews
this dressing was okay. I followed it exactly. My dressing was not green at all, yes I used a heap of fresh basil. And the dressing is watery thin. A bit disappointing
So sorry it didn’t work out for you, Irene. The buttermilk and mayonnaise mixture should blend together to a nice consistency. The dressing should be pourable, as you can see in the images, but not so thin that it’s watery.
I love this dressing!