January 16, 2018
The vast array of pre-packaged salad dressings in the grocery store is amazing. There are so many different kinds. However, the vast majority are full of oil and sugar. Although we often think of bought salad dressing as a huge convenience, it is remarkably simple to make your own dressings. My favorites are Mayo, Caesar, Italian, Maple Mustard, Tahini and Cole Slaw Dressing and I like to have at least a couple on hand in the fridge at all times. Homemade salad dressings, full of vinegars, will keep in the fridge for a week or two at least. In fact, I have never had one go bad on me.
Many of my oil free dressings are cashew or tahini based, so rather than just providing a whack of empty calories, they pack a nutritional punch. Salads make great quick but hearty last minute meals. Mix your choice of greens with additional veggies, grains and/or beans and top with chopped nuts. A slice of whole grain bread and you are set.
Oil free, vegan mayo is actually easier to make than the original version containing raw egg. Before giving up oil and eggs, I used to make my own mayo. It was finicky and many, many times it failed to thicken up. However, with this vegan mayo, you just throw all the ingredients in a blender and in a few seconds you have a thick and creamy mayo, every time. And no danger of salmonella poisoning from raw egg.
The version below is a variation of Kim Campbell’s PlantPure Recipes. However, she uses a mix of cashews and tofu to make hers. I prefer to just use cashews. If you would like a lower fat version, try the original recipe with tofu, in the link above, or use 1/4 cup cashews and 1/4 cup cooked small white beans (navy beans).
- 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked at least 2 hours
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp tahini
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tbsp white vinegar
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp honey, agave or sweetener of your choice
- 2 tbsp water
Soak cashews for at least 2 hours. Drain and place in a blender along with the remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust seasonings. If you like your mayo with a nice tang, like I do, add a touch more white vinegar. This mayo is great used as a base for other salad dressings like the creamy Cole Slaw dressing below. Or add some diced dill pickle, onion and ketchup for a quick and easy Thousand Island Dressing.
Caesar salads are our absolute favorite. Lots of bright green romaine lettuce, a handful of fresh kale, thinly sliced onion, cherry tomatoes and a sprinkling of toasted sunflower seeds. It makes a great meal or side dish. My go to recipe is a modification of Angela Liddon’s recipe in her Oh She Glows Cookbook.
• ½ cup unsalted cashews (or ¼ cup cashews and ¼ cup cooked white beans)
• 2 cloves garlic
• 2 tbsp lemon juice
• ¼ cup water
• 1 tsp Dijon mustard
• ½ tsp salt
• ½ tsp black pepper
• 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce (vegan)
• 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
Soak cashews for 2 to 8 hours, drain. Place all dressing ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Adjust seasonings to taste.
This dressing is also based on one of Kim Campbell’s recipes in The PlantPure Nation Cookbook. I use chia seeds to thicken the dressing instead of xanthum gum.
• 1 cup vegetable broth
• ¼ cup red wine vinegar, or to taste (or substitute your vinegar of choice)
• 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
• 1 ½ tsp agave, honey, brown rice syrup or raw sugar
• 3 cloves garlic
• 1 tsp Italian seasonings (or to taste)
• ¼ tsp salt
• ¼ tsp pepper
• ¼ tsp paprika
• 2 tsp chia seeds
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Adjust seasonings to taste. The dressing will thicken as the chia seeds absorb liquid.
Spinach Salad Dressing
My dressing of choice for a spinach salad is a thick creamy tomato based one. By adding 1/4 cup ketchup to the above Italian Dressing, you get the perfect dressing for a spinach, mushroom and red onion salad.
Maple Mustard Dressing
This dressing is my all time favorite for kale salads. It has a bold taste and works best with robust greens like kale, chard and even spinach.
o 1 cup cashews, soaked until soft, drained and rinsed
o 3/4 cup water
o 1/3 cup maple syrup
o 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
o 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
o 1/2 lemon, juice from
o 2 cloves garlic, minced
Soak cashews for 2 to 12 hours. Drain cashews and place all ingredients in high-speed blender and blend until smooth.
Sweet Tahini Dressing
This dressing is great on any green, but also works well as a dip for falafels. It is also from Kim Campbell’s PlantPure Nation Cookbook.
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp parsley
- 1 tsp white miso paste
- 1/2 tsp salt
Blend all ingredients in a blender, or whisk until smooth.
Cole Slaw Dressing
This is a smooth creamy cole slaw dressing with plenty of flavor from Kim Campbell’s PlantPure Nation Cookbook. Top shredded cabbage, carrots, onion and apples with it.
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise (see recipe above)
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp celery seed
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp white vinegar
- 2 tbsp agave, honey or sugar
Combine all ingredients well.
Convert your favorite recipe to oil free
Many of my favorite oil free dressings are from the PlantPure cookbooks. And the intranet is also a great place to find oil free versions of your favorite dressings. However, you can also convert old family favorites by substituting for the oil in your recipes. I find replacing the oil with half as much tahini (and a bit of water to thin it out) works in most recipes. If the recipe is dairy based, substitute with a cashew cream (blend cashews and water). Or substitute water for the oil and add chia seeds (as in the Italian recipe above) to thicken.
Once you get used to oil free dressings, the regular oil ones will begin to taste heavy and oily to you.