If you're using storebought or pre-made basil pesto, skip this step! If you're making pesto from scratch, add 1.5 cups of tightly packed basil leaves, 3 tablespoons of pine nuts (preferably toasted), 2 cloves of garlic, ⅓ cup of vegetarian Parmesan or Grana Padano and salt to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until combined. Then, add ½ cup of olive oil slowly through the chute of the food processor until the pesto emulsifies.
To make the simple, healthy pesto vinaigrette, simply add ¼ cup of lemon juice, another ¼ cup of olive oil either to a mason jar along with the pesto, or directly to the food processor container that you made fresh pesto in. Add some freshly ground black pepper and combine well.
Creamy Pesto Salad Dressing
If you want to make a creamier version of the dressing, in addition to above step, add 1.5 tablespoons of mayonnaise (or Greek yogurt for a healthier, tangier finish) along with 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard and combine well.
Choice of pesto - I use traditional basil pesto here, but you can use pesto made with other herbs or greens, sundried tomato pesto or even a broccoli pesto!
Pesto is traditionally made with parmesan cheese, so if you want a vegan version, make sure to pick up vegan pesto!
Choice of "vinegar" - I use lemon juice since it's the simplest vinegar, but you can also use apple cider vinegar in this recipe.