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My 3 Favorite Vegan Salad Dressing Recipes

Having my own garden has always been high on my bucket list. I mean, what’s more ‘One Ingredient’ than growing and harvesting your own food straight from the soil? So when a 100 sq. ft. plot opened up at my local community garden last December, I had to jump on it… even though I had no gardening experience.

Like anything worth doing, there was a huge learning curve, a lot of hard work to be done, and not many results at first. But fast forward 4 months and many YouTube gardening tutorials later, and things have exploded… dozens of sugar snap peas, bok choy, radishes (daikon and red belle), beets, multi-colored carrots, and more salad greens than I could ever use โ€“ handfuls of spicy arugula, bags of fresh kale, bunches of crispy spinach, and a near-infinite amount of baby lettuce.

So, as you might imagine, salads have been on my mind a lot lately. Today I thought I’d share my three favorite simple salad dressing recipes. They are all very different, very easy to make, and add a ton of variety to your salads.

Then, don’t forget to check out some of my garden photos below ๐Ÿ˜‰

Orange Mustard Vinaigrette

vegan salad dressing

This oil-free vinaigrette is a super-fresh low calorie dressing that adds a ton of tangy sweetness to any salad. It’s super versatile and you would be hard-pressed to find a salad where this dressing doesn’t work well, but I particularly like how it cuts through the bitterness of more intense greens. Pairing this one with a salad of arugula and fresh fruit is perfection.

Makes about 1 cup

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt, to taste

When I said these dressings were simple, I wasn’t kidding. They all follow the same two-step process: 1) Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. 2) Taste, and adjust any flavors to suit your preferences. Done!

For best results, store refrigerated in a sealed mason jar.


Peanut Sesame Dressing

_DSC8265

I use these classic flavors of peanut butter, soy sauce, and sesame in a lot of dishes, and they make a pretty yummy Asian-inspired salad dressing as well. This one is incredible tossed with a salad of shredded cabbage, carrots, green onions, and sesame seeds. It also works well as a marinade for tofu, or just a dipping sauce for fresh vegetables.

Makes about 1 cup

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Once again, the process is the same: 1) Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. 2) Taste, and adjust any flavors to suit your preferences.

Store refrigerated in a sealed mason jar.


Smoked Paprika Ranch Dressing

_DSC8244

Those of you who read my blog regularly will not be surprised to see that I’m using cashews… It is true that 90% of my recipes these days use this ingredient, but I promise I’m not getting kickbacks from the cashew farmers (though, I should really look into that…).

The reason is that cashews make the perfect plant-based cream when blended. Here, we’re turning that cream into a ranch dressing with kicked-up flavors of smoked paprika and nutritional yeast.

This one pairs perfectly with a simple salad of torn kale leaves and sliced green onions.

Makes about 1 cup

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup raw cashews
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
  • Salt, to taste

Here, the process is the same, but the cashews do need to be soaked for 1-6 hours before blending. This adds another step: 1) soak the cashews and drain of their soaking water. 2) Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. 3) Taste, and adjust any flavors to suit your preferences.

Store refrigerated in a sealed mason jar.


And now for some gratuitous garden photos…

Rows and rows of mixed baby lettuce…
Lettuce

So many sugar snap peas!
peas

Very disappointing broccoli – the weather became too hot before real florets could form ๐Ÿ™
Broccoli

These two wild arugula plants are going crazy.
Arugula

One of my favorite ingredients, these green onions are almost ready!
GreenOnions

This spinach is growing faster than I can harvest it.
Spinach

So. Much. KALE!
Kale

41 Comments

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  1. Omg!!!! Your veggies look so awesome!! I’m super jealous! Salad dressings have been on my mind lately too, something about springtime and fresh veggies…. Thanks for the ideas!

  2. Just wow. That garden looks fantastic! I used to do this eons ago, and it wasn’t as pretty as your crops, but it was a fantastic feeling to eat salad that I’ve planted myself. Thanks for the salad dressing recipes! They will be very useful.

    • Thanks, Hens. Yes, it’s a fantastic feeling to eat food that you grew yourself. Plus, that arugula is literally the most delicious salad green I’ve ever tasted. There’s nothing like making a salad with greens you picked just moments earlier ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. I have a master gardener mentoring me on my newly established Urban garden. Very excited! Thanks for the pictures and recipes. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Your salad dressings sound great! I’m wondering, is there a substitute for the nutritional yeast in the cashew version?

    • Ah, you could probably just omit the nutritional yeast. It adds a bit of body and flavor, but the dressing will be fine without it… just use slightly less water.

  5. You’re growing kale? Ah, I’m jealous, The season’s sadly over for us so now I’ll have to wait until November to have it again.
    The salad dressings sound great even to me as a non-salad person. (:

  6. Amazing blog post. One of my faves of yours. Dressings sound amazing…and so easy to make!! Congrats on the beautiful garden, and thanks for keeping me inspired to eat & cook plant-based. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Your vegetable garden is beautiful and so is your photography. The closest I’ve got to growing vegetables was a potato plant that grew by accident and gave me several potatoes!

    The salad dressings are just what I needed, particularly the Orange Mustard Vinaigrette for greens. Thanks, Andrew.

  8. Andrew. You have a green thumb. Your garden looks fabulous! I noticed that you have space between your plants. I’m also growing veg on my rooftop terrace, but in planters. Should I keep them separate? I’ve got them all huddled together.
    My butter beans only took 4 weeks from seed to be ready to eat. Delicious. I’ve got tomatoes, basil, coriander, spinach and Aubergine too.

    • Hi Terri! I don’t think they need a ton of space, just enough so they can each get enough sunlight. The reason I have a bit more space is just because I didn’t have anything else to plant in-between. 4 weeks is fast! I grew everything from seed too and some things (like carrots and beets) have been growing SLOW over the winter.

  9. I am reading your blog from a middle of nowhere hotel room in Argentina and dreaming all the fresh vegan foods I can eat when I return back to the USA!

    I would love to one day have a garden, looks like yours is filling in wonderfully! I hope you find a use for those broccoli greens, it seems most people throw them out, not realizing they too are edible!

    • Ah, I know… we’re lucky in California. We can grow pretty much anything year-round. I’ve heard that broccoli greens are edible but I’ve never been daring enough to try them… maybe I’ll give them a shot ๐Ÿ˜‰

  10. Love the first one!! It goes with EVERYTHING!

    One question; I travel a lot for my job and I always find it super difficult to eat the One Ingredient way from a hotel room with no kitchen. Any suggestions?

    • That can always be a challenge, one thing that’s helpful is to look for places that have a salad bar, either restaurants or places like Whole Foods where you can make your own One Ingredient meal. Also, doing research and seeing if there is any healthy/unprocessed vegan restaurants nearby can be helpful. But yes, it’s always harder away from home.

  11. Vegan ranch……who knew it was possible? Being an Okie, Ranch is dressing is my primary love language. It’s actually our state beverage, in case you weren’t aware. I will definitely be trying this one next week!

    • Hahaha, great! I’ve made a more classic cashew ranch as well… I’ll have to save that one for another day ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Thank you for sharing your fabulous salad dressings, Andrew! The orange one is especially exciting to me. I plan to see what it will be like when I replace the mustard with raw tahini :0). Your gardening is inspiring! Thank you for sharing those beautiful photos! If you really have too many veggies, feel free to mail the scallions, arugula & both kinds of radishes over here to Pennsylvania ;0). By the way, even though your broccoli didn’t come out as you hoped, it is the prettiest of all of your gorgeous photos!

    • Thanks, Abbi! ๐Ÿ™‚ Ooh, I like the idea of a orange tahini dressing!

      Yeah, those little broccoli florets are actually really delicious, they just never got BIG like they should have ๐Ÿ™

  13. Just made the orange dressing and it is really, really tasty! I’ll get some greens tomorrow to go with it. It’s an easy recipe to remember too. thank you!

  14. I have never tried to make dressings like these. They look great and delicious! I can’t wait to try all of them. Thank you for sharing.

  15. Eating the orange mustard vinaigrette dressing right now! Made my salad with mixed greens, strawberries, blueberries, raw cashews and ground chia seed. Yum! Can’t wait to try the rest! Thanks for sharing. We cook from your blog on a weekly basis! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Nice! Thank you, Sheena ๐Ÿ™‚ that sounds like an epic salad! And I’m glad to hear that you included berries, they work so well in salads but no one seems do be doing that..

    • You might be able to use apple cider vinegar, but it’s a little stronger so maybe use 1/2 as much and see how it goes.

  16. Wow thanks for salad dressing recepies. I made the one with OJ and balsamic vinigar. How easy to make. And very delicious. I saved the step of using a blender. I used a mason jar instead. A quick shake of the mason jar and done. Thanks for garden photos too. Makes my move to become vegan all the more positive. โ˜บ

    • Awesome! I’m glad you like them, Sonia. ๐Ÿ™‚ Great tip about using the mason jar and shaking instead of blending for the OJ/balsamic one.

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