Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Garden Salad With Basil-Pesto Vinaigrette

My pesto vinaigrette store in a Mason jar...like Pizza Outback!
My favorite pizza joint in Taos...actually one of my favorites anywhere....is Pizza Outback. Their pizza is phenomenal, and I will share some of their combinations another time. Today I am writing about one of my obsessions...their salad dressing. Salad dressing you ask? Seems odd to get this excited, right? But....this one is a delicious pesto based vinaigrette thinned with a bit of vinegar and other, secret, ingredients. People order the salad and then buy mason jar filled dressing to take home. I live a block away and confess I am one of their best customers.
fresh basil from the garden
I decided I would try to recreate the pesto vinagrette at home. I have bushes of basil growing in the summer, and it seems wrong to keep buying my dressing at Outback. (Winter is a different story, I will be back to my mason jars), but for now I am making my own version of the original. I haven't quite figured out their exact recipe, but I am pretty happy with my take. I used my regular classic pesto recipe but swapped almonds for the more traditional pine nuts and added some apple cider vinegar. I know that Pizza Outback's vinaigrette does not contain nuts, but I like the hint of sweetness the almonds add.

I used this dressing on green salads of course, but it is also delicious drizzled over grilled chicken or fish or vegetables. Your family just might up their daily greens consumption if they have access to the pesto vinaigrette. Enjoy!

Basil-Pesto Vinaigrette
1/2 cup sliced almonds
2 oz parmigiano-reggiano cheese, cut into 2 pieces
2 garlic cloves
pinch red pepper flakes
5 cups basil leaves (packed)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp water (if needed)
sea salt
freshly cracked black pepper

Toast almonds in a skillet until just beginning to brown.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Add cheese to a food processor fitted with the chopping/mixing blade.  Process until the cheese is grated.  Add cooled almonds, garlic, and red pepper flakes and process until all ingredients are finely grated.  Add half of basil leaves, and 1/4 cup olive oil and process until smooth but with a bit of texture. Add remaining basil, remaining olive oil, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper, and vinegar. Process until well mixed. Add water if necessary to reach desired pouring consistency. Taste and adjust seasonings if desired.

The vinaigrette will keep for 1 week in the refrigerator. Let come to room temperature before using.

I like this with a green salad made with crisp lettuce, tomatoes, green onions, croutons and toasted sliced almonds. Toss with the vinaigrette and top with some grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

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Other pesto recipes you may enjoy:

Summer means easy, breezy dishes made from fresh, just-picked produce and this week at Food Network's Summer Soiree we are celebrating PestoDo you have a favorite pesto recipe?  Share in the comments section and/or link to your blog if you have one. And be sure to check out the delicious sounding recipes from my blogger friends and Food Network.

The Lemon Bowl: Lemony Pistachio Basil Pesto
Dishin & Dishes: 
Kale Pesto and Mushroom Stuffed Porterhouse Chops
Creative Culinary: 
Pesto Potato Salad with Parmesan Walnuts
Kale Pesto
Napa Farmhouse 1885: 
Garden Salad With Basil-Pesto Vinaigrette
Red or Green: 
Corn On The Cob With Basil-Jalapeno Vinaigrette
Homemade Delish: 
Spinach and Kale Pesto
Domesticate Me: 
Ratatouille Quinoa Bake with Pesto and Buffalo Mozzarella
The Mom 100: 
Crusted Loin Lamb Chops with Mint Basil Pesto
Taste with the Eyes: 
Fresh, Fabulous, and Frugal - Carrot Top Pesto
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: 
Chicken Breasts with Coconut and Cilantro Pesto
Healthy Eats: 
Green Is the New Black: 5 Must-Try Pestos
FN Dish: 
6 Non-Pasta Ways to Go Big with Pesto


I have started sharing my newest blog "California Girl in Taos."  Please visit and let me know what you think.

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