How to Dress (your salad) to Impress: Lemon-Basil Buttermilk Vinaigrette

Many salad dressing recipes are made from just a few ingredients and are quick and easy to stir up.

For instance, a basic vinaigrette dressing can be made by mixing oil and vinegar with a little garlic and mustard.

I created this Lemon-Basil Buttermilk Vinaigrette using a blend of herbs from my garden: mostly basil, some dill, and chives.

  • Prepare and refrigerate dressing up to two days before use.
  • Dressing will keep for up to 10 days in the fridge.

growing basil in my garden
garden & basil in the mid-summer sun


  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp fresh chives, finely minced
  • 1 tbsp shallot, finely minced
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tbsp plain greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp dried mustard seeds
  • kosher salt and black pepper to taste


Lemon-Basil Buttermilk dressing tastes great with arugula and tomatoes from the garden.

Before you start…..Here are a few hacks that guarantee you will be able to easily make this dressing and it will turn out tasting amazing, too.

  • Make your own buttermilk by adding 1 tablespoon of white vinegar to 1 cup of regular milk. Come on, who has buttermilk on-hand? Nobody. But you don’t have to turn down recipes that call for buttermilk. Just add the vinegar to the milk and let it stand on your countertop for about 20 minutes. You don’t mix or stir at all, just add vinegar to the milk. When 20 minutes are up, take a spoon and scoop from the bottom of the cup to check if the mixture has thickened and become a little lumpy. Lumps happen when the milk has curdled, which is what you want to happen! It won’t be as thick as the buttermilk you’d buy but it does the job just fine. I made my own and the recipe assumes that you will, too – you will find that the yogurt in this recipe gives the dressing a little extra thickness.
  • Using a store-bought carton of buttermilk? It will be thicker than DIY buttermilk, and you might decide to leave out the yogurt. All depends on how thick you want it.

1 Last Tip:

Shortcut option: Just make the recipe using ½ cup store-bought ranch dressingyou don’t need buttermilk at all. 


Get the herbs ready

  • Rinse the herbs clean by running under cool water.
  • Spread out on a paper towel and allow to dry for at least 1/2 hour.
  • Use a food processor to combine: basil, lemon zest, yogurt, cider vinegar, olive oil.
  •  Process until basil is finely chopped.

 Create the dressing mixture

  • Next, in a separate small mixing bowl, combine all the other ingredients except the buttermilk.
  • Transfer the mixture from the food processor into the small and mix.
  • Add the buttermilk last, and use a whisk to combine all the dressing ingredients.
  • All done! Cover and chill in fridge.





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