Giada De Laurentiis for Target Genovese Basil Pesto & Charred Tomato Vinaigrette Review


           I had noticed the Giada De Laurentiis for Target food line before in my local Target store, somewhat oddly placed far away from all the other foods and instead positioned by the Giada cookware.  I did not have the opportunity to try the foods yet, however.  Due to the reputation of Giada as a chef, I was anxious to sample the products.

The Giada pesto and vinaigrette initially attract attention for their packaging, which immediately says “upscale product.”  The jar and bottle both feature a photo of the familiar and beautiful TV chef, modern fonts and a contemporary color scheme of salmon, light teal and brown, all of which contribute to the impression that these will be quality foods.

I decided to prepare an all-Italian meal to test both of the products, and I served my husband, two preschool sons and mother garlic and herb grilled chicken, ciabatta rolls, angel hair pasta with the Giada pesto, and a salad with green-leaf lettuce, grape tomatoes, fennel and mozzarella chunks topped with the Giada vinaigrette.

The pesto is all about fresh basil.  It has a strong, pleasant basil smell, and a taste exactly like just-picked basil.  The garlic taste is not as strong as in many pestos, which appealed to my mom and husband, but disappointed me a little.  A big upside of the lower garlic content is that this pesto will not give you “dragon breath” for days.  We all enjoyed the pesto’s texture and thought it had sesame seeds in it, but we could not find any mention of sesame seeds on the ingredient list.  We finally deducted that the “sesame seeds” were really the crushed cashews and pine nuts mentioned on the jar.  Overall, we felt this was a very good pesto for one that is not homemade.

Our experience with the charred tomato vinaigrette was somewhat interesting.  Initially, no one at the table cared for it at all, commenting that it was oily and lacked a distinctive flavor.  My husband went so far as to say that it was not too much different than simply pouring vegetable oil on our salad.  We all put on more dressing, even though the salad had already been tossed with the vinaigrette, trying to find some inkling of a stronger flavor.  Finally, my husband poured all of the dressing left in the bottle into a bowl and mixed it up.  He did this partly because the bottle top had cracked, making shaking the dressing a risky proposition, and partly to make sure we were getting the chunks at the bottom of the bottle.  Sure enough, the dressing had radically changed with stirring it up in a bowl and not the bottle: it was now a flavorful, delicious, tangy dressing with a chunky texture and a unique charred tomato flavor.

“Charred flavor?” you say. “Really? Come on .  .  .” Truly, though, it does taste like a grilled tomato with a little bit of charred black edges, in a good way.

The only potential negatives of this dressing were a possibly too fragile bottle top and that it was a bit too oily.

I would also suggest shaking the bottle and then pouring the dressing as fast at you can onto your salad, to make sure to get all the flavor bits at the bottom.  Alternatively, you might pour it all into a bowl like we did, along with a ladle or spoon for scooping.

Overall, we we were very pleased with our experiences with the two Giada De Laurentiis for Target products.

This review was written by Lisa for The Mama Report.


I received the above mentioned products for review purposes, all opinions are my own.



  1. has anyone else noticed that the giada genovese basil pesto is no longer sold at target? this is my absolute favorite product of giada’s and im hoping that they are just out of stock temporarily.

    • The Mama says

      I’m not sure Sarah. Her line had a lot of products, I guess I wouldn’t be surprise if they discontinued a few. I’m sorry:( I love the tapinade. It is so tasty!

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