In my early twenties I used to wait tables at the Old Spaghetti Factory across the street from Pier 70 in downtown Seattle. It’s the type of family friendly restaurant where the energy is always high, flipping tables is a must, and the smell of spaghetti never washes out of your clothes. Most of the entrees are served as a budget-friendly three course meal. Free bread with garlic or plain butter, milk (tea, or coffee), side salad with your choice of dressing, entree, and a scoop of spumoni or vanilla ice cream for dessert. Back when I used to work there, all of this could be yours for under $10.
The most popular salad dressing choice was their creamy pesto dressing. Served on a bed of chopped iceberg lettuce and seasoned croutons, this salad dressing developed a cult-like following. People would come into the restaurant just to buy pints of this stuff! I used to spread it on bread, so good!
Discovering a jar of pesto in the refrigerator today inspired me to make a copycat version of the salad dressing at home. I’m very happy how my version turned out… just like I remember from when I worked there!
The recipe itself is very easy to make and tastes like you would expect; like a creamy ranch dressing except with a distinct pesto flavor. Mix some buttermilk, sour cream, mayonnaise, pesto, and parmesan cheese. That’s it.
Hope you enjoy this dressing as much as I do!
- ⅓ cup low-fat buttermilk
- ⅓ cup mayonaise
- ⅓ cup sour cream
- 2 tablespoons pesto
- 1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
- Whisk all the ingredients in a bowl until well combined.
Excellent. I did double and add a teaspoon of garlic powder. Also added some extra butter milk so it would not be as thick. Does anyone know how long the fridge life is?
Ha! I worked at that exact same Spag in my early 20’s (late 90’s). You description of the smell that never washed out is so accurate. But to this day, I still crave and adore my Manager’s Special half meat/half myzithra, and salad with creamy pesto dressing. There are a couple copycat recipes out there that taste JUST like it, and it doesn’t use actual pesto but dried basil. I am gonna give yours a try tonight and see what I think. Thanks for sharing!
Dori Lewis says
I love the creamy pesto dressing recipe to use with my own homemade pesto I freeze each year.
Greatas written.. Added a bit more salt pepper and about a tablespoon of pesto to taste. Would also be good with Dijon mustard perhaps some anchovy for different version
Thank you for this recipe! I added a smidge more pesto because I really wanted that flavor to come through. And I used 1/4 c of all the other wet ingredients because I didn’t want as much left over. But the flavor was amazing!!! For anyone interested, I calculated that 2 tbsp of this is 3 WWP points. Not too bad!! I served it on a salad with some simple sautéed shrimp and steamed green beans on the side — it was heaven! This is Pinned forevermore and I KNOW I will use it over and over. A winner!!
Thank you very much I just loved that dressing!! I really did want to buy a pint of that good stuf!
They served its in Honolulu Hawaii!!
Thanks again MAHALO!!
Mine was a bit too think so I suggest adding more milk until desired consistency. I also like a more prominent pesto flavor and didnt taste it much, so if you are like me you will need an extra tablespoon of pesto (maybe a little less).
Overall a yummy dressing though!
I used to work at Spag. factory in downtown Fullerton,CA. And yes that meant for about 4 years I always smelled like spaghetti!!! I Used to sneak this dressing home all of the time. And eat it with crackers on my break!!! Just made this and it’s in my fridge (but not for long.) Thank you so much recipe!!!
I love their salads!! I am swapping my original plan for dinner tonight with this!
Tried it out yesterday and it was delicious. Everyone really appreciated it. Thank you so much for the recipe. Making it again today 🙂
I made this dressing tonight and it was delicious. Thank you for the recipe
Jessica Jordan says
Your dressing recipe sounds wonderful. I do not tolerate mayo well, can you recommend any substitutions that wouldn’t alter the flavor?
Melanie Flinn says
This looks SO good to me. I am a salad lover and adore homemade dressing. I will definitely try this- love that it’s so simple!
P&O house dressing is the BEST! Do you have the copycat recipe for that?? Since Costco stopped selling it I’ve been stressing, and now that the restaurants are (temporarily??) closed, I’m dying for it!
Wendi @ Bon Appetit Hon says
Alice, I whipped up some of this dressing over the weekend and I cannot stop thinking of reasons to open the container and have a taste. It is sublime.
Sarah, you can make butter milk with milk and lemon juice/vinegar, not sure of the exact portions but you could find it online.