Sweet Basil Vinaigrette

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Well, if your climate is anything like mine, you’ve already made your first basil harvest of the season.  I learned a couple of years ago that you are supposed to harvest your basil about once a month.  By harvest, I mean go out and cut it down until it’s only about 4 inches tall, leaving a few bottom leaves.  It feels cruel and heartless, but your basil will respond with love and glee and by the next month with be a foot tall again ready to harvest!  I usually get four good harvests from my basil:  June, July, August and the final one in September. 

The beauty of basil is that it keeps remarkably well in a vase on your counter or tabletop.  So I just bring my harvest in and use it as I need to, and while I’m using up my vase of basil, out in my herb bed, it’s busily putting forth it’s next harvest! 

And let me ask you this, is there any better predictament to be in than a fresh vase of basil on your counter sitting right next to a bowlful of plump organic heirloom tomatoes?  I’ll answer that for you..no, there isn’t.  I remembered seeing a basil vinaigrette in Fresh Every Day: More Great Recipes From Foster’s Marketby Sara Foster, which she used on a heavenly fried green tomato salad. 


This my dear friends is summer on a plate.  All I did was slice the tomatoes, smoosh some goat cheese on top and drizzle with the vinaigrette.  Love.

Sweet Basil Vinaigrette

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 5 to 7 fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Whisk together the vinegar, lime juice, basil and salt and pepper.  Slowly whisk in the olive oil until it is incorporated.  Can be refrigerated for up to one week. 

Makes 1 cup



This will be my entry for Weekend Herb Blogging hosted by Rachel from The Crispy Cook.

Today’s recipe came from:

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  1. says

    Thank you! So THAT’S how you’re supposed to harvest basil! My first ever basil has been doing beautifully in a pot on my back deck. At lunch time, I will go home and cut it all back. Then I have to find some more recipes to use it with. I will be searching your blog later on basil.

  2. says

    This is my idea of the perfect summer salad. I’m looking forward to picking my own basil but the rain washed the first planting away so it will be awhile.

  3. says

    That looks fantastic. Basil is, by far, my favorite herb. I haven’t been as lucky as you have so far this year, but its finally starting to kick in and I am looking forward to some nice basil very soon!

  4. says

    I loved your tips on harvesting basil, Pam. Your salad sounds wonderful and your vinaigrette will definitely be tried here. I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings…Mary

  5. says

    I am loving having fresh herbs right in my backyard…thanks for the tip on basil…mine needs to be cut right now…something I’ve never done. The vinaigrette is a lovely celebration of basil!

  6. says

    Thanks for the basil tip…I never knew that and I’ve been staring it down trying to figure out what to do with my gigantic basil tree!! Beautiful vinaigrette!

  7. says

    Honestly, what could be better than that! Basil’s amazing…I have two plants at different stages of their lives and they grow like stink after they’re cut back.

  8. says

    Great idea! Maybe I should plant some herbs other than chives? Of course, it’s only 58 degrees here today, so nothing is growing outside. I am not amused.

  9. says

    I have the first Foster’s Market cookbook and LOVE it!
    I have to grow my basil in the kitchen, but love having fresh nearby for cooking.
    Don’t you adore the heirloom tomatoes? So much flavor. I love salads like this, with your basil vinaigrette. Also, a tomato sandwich on country bread with mayo and basil pesto is divine!

  10. says

    Oh, Pam, basil vinaigrette is all that is feeding my fetus these days. I use apple cider vinegar, a splash of orange juice, lots of basil and a clove of garlic. With goat cheese and sliced fruit and toasted pecans it is some good stuff.

  11. says

    Thanks for all the great information about growing basil. I never knew that you had to prune the basil plants so radically. I usually try to keep up with picking off the flowering tops, but now I know.

    And thanks for sending this over to Weekend Herb Blogging. Look for the roundup on Monday!

  12. says

    My mouth is watering – mmmm mmmmm that looks delicious! This is what I want for dinner. Thanks for the info on chopping down the basil – I had no idea. I’ve been doing it SSOOO wrong ever since I’ve been planting it in my garden!

  13. says

    I miss my garden so much. I would never trim my basil – I would let it grow like wildfire and make pesto (and freeze it in the winter months) as if it were going out of style. And I would take basil leaves and rosemary twigs…and rub them all over my dogs faces. They smelled wonderful the rest of the day 😉

  14. says

    I didn’t know about the basil keeping in a vase. Awesome! Last year my basil grew like a weed but this year it’s been so darn cold, it’s pretty much dead. I will have to start over again. What a wonderful vinaigrette!

  15. says

    The tomato salad sound delicious to me. I love basil. Maybe it can grow here. worth a try if I can have a vase of basil like yours:)

  16. says

    we have basil coming out of our ears (wouldn’t that be a sight to behold…) and i’m already sick of pesto. this is a fabulous alternative use for it!

  17. says

    My first year growing basil, and I needed to know that little tip. Going to get my scissors right now! Thanks Pam. That is indeed “summer on a plate”; a pretty plate by the way!


  1. […] I found this recipe in Fresh Every Day: More Great Recipes from Foster’s Market by Sara Foster.  The cookbook was published in 2005, and appears to be out of print, but you can find it used on Amazon.  I highly recommend it, everything I’ve cooked from it has been wonderful:  Rosemary Mint Lamb Chops, Apple and Avocado Salad with Mint, and Sweet Basil Vinaigrette.  […]

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