This thick and creamy, oil-free salad dressing is incredibly simple and easy to make. We use cashews, instead of oil, to create the texture and richness that we all crave on our perfect crunchy vegan salad. It’s plant-based, soy free, and dairy-free, but you’d never guess it. Soak, blend, and savor––that’s all there is to it!
Why buy expensive, commercial dressings laden with preservatives when you can make your own at home for a fraction of the cost? Once you make this savory, luscious salad dressing yourself, you’ll never go back. What we love about this recipe is that you can halve or double this recipe depending on your needs.
Not only is this vegan salad dressing versatile with its ingredients and serving sizes, but you can also use this recipe on foods other than green salads. Which meals can be made even more mouthwatering, you may ask? Keep reading to find out!
It’s also suitable for almost every type of eater at the table, as it checks all these boxes:
In our opinion, every ingredient in this delightful dressing is pretty awesome. But, these three truly stand out due to their extraordinary flavor or versatile texture. When they all work together in harmony, the results are extremely appetizing. Yum!
While there’s not much to blending up this batch of salad-friendly sauce, there are few ways to switch it up a bit. Use your imagination (or your kitchen pantry) to inspire you. Once you get going, you might come up with your own no oil salad dressing!
Soaking cashews is simple and easy. Place one cup of raw cashews into a large bowl and cover with one and a half cups of tepid or warm water. Allow the cashews to soak overnight (5-8 hours maximum). If they are soaked too long, they tend to get an unpleasant taste and also become slimy in texture. Drain and allow them to sit for around 10 minutes to get rid of the excess liquid.
Forgot to soak your cashews, or just in a rush? Boil them instead. Here’s how:
If completely forget to soak your cashews the night before, no problem! Again, place the cup of raw cashews into a large bowl. Boil one and half cups of water. Pour the water over the cashews. Let the cashews soak for 30 minutes. No need to cover. Drain and allow them to sit for around 10 minutes to get rid of the excess liquid.
First of all, don’t panic. There’s a simple solution. If your dressing seems a little too thick after siting a while in the fridge, add a tablespoon each of plant-based milk and rice wine vinegar to thin it out. If you want less tang, just use the dairy-free milk. Add more or less to create the consistency that is right for you.
Because this dressing is made fresh and with no preservatives, it will have a slightly shorter shelf life in the refrigerator. Store any leftovers in a sealed plastic or glass container (like a mason jar) for up to 4 days. Not recommended for freezing.
The best thing about this dressing is that it’s not only quick to make, but also requires only a few standard kitchen tools. You can always use a standard high-speed blender, but the smaller one does seem to blend the dressing a little easier. It’s really up to you and what you have on hand.
Helpful Hint: If you whip up this dressing the day before, the flavors will be even more concentrated and the texture is creamier and thicker. Totally worth making ahead of time!
That’s a very good question and something we’ve been wondering ourselves. Now that we know, we can pass that info on to you! The answer actually comes from the word vinaigrette.
A vinaigrette is a mixture of an oil and a vinegar, while a salad dressing is usually a mixture of some type of fat (could be oil, nuts, avocado, vegan mayo, etc.) and an acid (possibly lemon juice, lime juice, or vinegar) that is cold and can cover any type of food, not just salad.
If you’re interested in making this oil free ranch dressing for a special occasion and you’re not sure which salad would be the perfect fit, please check out our Making the Best Vegan Salad guide. We have tons of sweet and savory salad recipes for you to try!
Yes, you can. Using the raw form of this nut will give you a lighter, creamier flavor and texture. If you only have roasted cashews, the final blended dressing may be a little grittier and have a toasted flavor. If that sounds good to you, then go for it!
We’re so glad you asked! It’s this recipe! Feel free to add a tablespoon each of dried parsley and chives to the recipe for an extra “ranch-like” flavor. Yum!
For this recipe, we’re using cashews, but there are many ways in which you can substitute the fat portion of your salad dressing for a non-oil ingredient. If you’re tired of cashews or want the dressing to be nut-free, we suggest trying hemp seeds, sesame seeds (or tahini), avocado, vegan mayo, or a rich, unsweetened, plant-based yogurt.
This oil free vegan salad dressing recipe was developed and written by Gina House and edited by Amanda Meth. Content copyright World of Vegan, all rights reserved. Photos by J.J. Steele. This whole food plant based salad dressing recipe includes affiliate links when available and shopping through these links supports World of Vegan.