Oil-Free Salad Dressing That’s Creamy and Dill-icious! {Vegan + Dairy-Free}

Oil-Free Salad Dressing That’s Creamy and Dill-icious! {Vegan + Dairy-Free}

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!

Why We Love This Oil Free Dressing Recipe

  • So simple to make
  • Incredibly creamy
  • Versatile ingredients
  • Delicious as a dressing or a dip
  • Free of preservatives

It’s also suitable for almost every type of eater at the table, as it checks all these boxes:

  • Gluten-free
  • Dairy-free
  • Sugar-free
  • Oil-free
  • Soy-free (if using a soy-free milk and yogurt)
Vegan Oil Free Creamy Dill Dressing Recipe with Cashews-9

Star Ingredients in This Plant-Based Salad Dressing

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!

  • Dill – Not only is this annual, self-seeding herb super easy to grow in your garden, but it’s incredibly light and flavorful.
  • Cashews – Rich in fiber, protein, and healthy fats. These adorable nuts have almost the same amount of protein per serving as the equivalent of animal protein. They also have a significant amount of copper and are a good source of magnesium and manganese.
  • Dijon Mustard – A tangy, slightly spicy, and sharp mustard that brings another dimension to this creamy nut-based recipe.
Creamy oil free vegan dill dressing ingredients flatlay soaked cahsews milk spices

Helpful Tips for Making This No Oil Salad Dressing

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!

  • Dare To Be More Than Dressing – There are more than a few alternative and appealing options for this delicious dressing. Perfect on salads, baked potatoes or sweet potato fries, as a veggie dip, a sassy sauce for falafel or gyros, and even delicious mixed with your chickpea tuna salad instead of vegan mayo. 
  • Savory Seasoning Substitutions – Instead (or in addition to) the dill, consider incorporating oregano, chives, basil, cilantro, or parsley. If using the fresh herb rather than the dried, make sure to increase your measurements. For example, 3 tablespoons of fresh equals 1 teaspoon of the dried herb.
  • Pleasing Plant Milk Options – Creaminess is key to this dressing. Make sure to use an unsweetened, plain plant-based milk (or yogurt) with a thicker texture, such as soy or cashew. If you only have a thinner plant milk (or yogurt) on hand, add more soaked cashews to the recipe to thicken the consistency.
  • Slightly Salt Sensitive? – If you are salt-free or trying to reduce your salt, feel free to omit the salt all together. You could even use a salt-free mustard. Substituting with a salt-alternative would work, too. 

How Long Do I Soak the Cashews?

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.

My Salad Dressing is Too Thick! What Should I Do?

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.

How Long Does Homemade Salad Dressing Last?

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.

Vegan Cashew Salad Dressing over a fresh homemade salad

Kitchen Tools You’ll Need For Our Oil Free Salad Dressing

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!

Print
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Vegan Oil Free Creamy Dill Dressing Recipe with Cashews-9

Creamy Dill Oil-Free Dressing

  • Author: Gina House | World of Vegan
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes (plus 30 minutes of soaking time or overnight)
  • Total Time: 6 minutes (plus one minute of blending)
  • Yield: 12 ounces (1½ cups) 1x
  • Category: Side
  • Method: Blender
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Make the flavor of your salad soar with this vegan oil-free salad dressing! Even without oil, it’s decadent and creamy thanks to the softened soaked cashews blended into a cream. Once you give this oh-so-creamy, herb-filled recipe a try, it will become your go-to dip and dressing for years to come. Delicious on potatoes and veggies, too.


Ingredients

Scale

Soaking Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • Water for soaking

Ingredients

  • Soaked cashews
  • Scant 1 cup plant milk (unsweetened, plain soy or cashew are great options)
  • 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons of unsweetened, plain, dairy-free yogurt (soy or coconut is recommended for creaminess)
  • 2 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons of dried dill
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Dash of black pepper

Instructions

  1. The night before (or at least 30 minutes before you’d like your dressing to be done), soak your cashews in a bowl with warm water so that the water covers the nuts by ½ inch or so. Once soaked, drain off the excess water.
  2. Add the soaked cashews and all of the other ingredients to a small blender. Cover and shake well.
  3. Blend on high for around 1 minute, or until creamy smooth.
  4. For best taste, refrigerate the dressing for an hour or more to let the flavors meld together. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Salt Sensitive? – If you are salt-free or trying to reduce your salt, feel free to omit the salt all together. You could even use a salt-free mustard. Substituting with a salt-alternative would work, too.
  • Too Thick? – If your dressing seems a little too thick after a while, 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.
  • Gluten-free, dairy-free, oil-free, sugar-free, and soy-free (if using a soy-free plant milk)

Keywords: dressing, healthy, oil-free, vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free, sauce

What Is The Difference Between a Dressing and a Vinaigrette?

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!

FAQs

Can roasted cashews be used instead of raw?

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!

What is a healthier alternative to ranch dressing?

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!

What can use instead of oil in salad dressing?

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.

Vegan Oil Free Creamy Dill Dressing Recipe with Cashews

More Super Salad and Delicious Dressing Recipes To Try:

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. 

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13 Comments - Write a Comment

  1. Amanda · Edit

    Yummm, this looks so good! Love a good creamy, dill-y dressing.

    Reply
  2. I can honestly say I’ve never bought salad dressing in my life. But I also haven’t made one with cashews either. What a brilliant idea for a healthy creamy oil-free dressing. Love it.

    Reply
  3. Andrea · Edit

    Loveeee that it’s oil free! Great recipe Gina!

    Reply
  4. Such a perfect vegan salad dressing recipe! Absolutely love that it’s oil-free!

    Reply
  5. this creamy dill salad dressing is so wonderful. I just want to dip everything in it!

    Reply
  6. Shilpa · Edit

    This salad dressing was so creamy and delicious. I love that it’s oil free too. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

    Reply
  7. Anaiah · Edit

    Love this oil free vegan salad dressing! Definitely going to be a staple in my home. I love how creamy it is!

    Reply
  8. It was such a joy to create this recipe! I love creamy dressings myself and I was so happy with the way it came out. I don’t use oil in my diet, so the cashews were such a perfect substitute. I hope you enjoy my creamy dill dressing recipe!

    Reply
  9. Finally a great dairy-free dressing recipe! Thank you, this is delicious!

    Reply
  10. Michelle · Edit

    I am OBSESSED with this dressing! I can’t believe how creamy and flavorful it is and it only takes a minute to make. I often double the recipe, and it’s crazy how it makes me actually crave salads throughout the week! Vegan salads for the win! The perfect vegan dressing is key, and this is THE ONE for me!

    Reply
  11. Beatriz Buono-Core · Edit

    There are never enough oil-free dressing recipes!

    Reply
  12. Janaye · Edit

    this dressing looks so creamy and good!

    Reply

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