If you’re new to eating a whole food plant-based diet, you may be wondering how to make oil-free salad dressings because oil, and usually olive oil, is often the main ingredient in a homemade salad dressing. However, a whole food plant-based diet does NOT generally recommend eating processed oils such as olive, canola, avocado, or sunflower.
Whether olive oil is healthy or not is still being debated and that’s a topic I’ll cover in a future post. So, other sources of fats are recommended for a plant-based diet.
What do we use instead of oil?
We use whole plant sources of fat such as avocado, nuts, and seeds. Nuts and seeds can be soaked in water, drained, and blended to create a creamy addition to the other recipe ingredients such as lemon juice or vinegar.
We can also use tofu, white, or cannellini beans for added nutrition and protein. These beans can be substituted in most recipes that call for raw cashews.
And, if you’re wondering about nuts and seeds because you’ve heard that those aren’t recommended (by some), check out these important insights from plant-based pioneers, Dr. Joel Fuhrman, and Dr. Michael Greger.
Salad Dressing Formula
To discover how to make your very own ORIGINAL oil-free salad dressings check out my “how-to” formula in this video and post.
But, I digress. Let’s get hoppin’ on to these ten oil-free salad dressings that are sure to pump up your salads and make you feel eager to eat more.
Oil-free salad dressings can be vinaigrette-type salad dressings or creamy salad dressings.
Easy and Delicious Oil-Free Salad Dressings
Some of these are dressings on their own and some are made to go with the salad.
Oil-Free Green Goddess Dressing: A creamy oil-free dressing made with tahini and this dressing also has beautiful green herbs to pump up the flavor, parsley or cilantro, green onion, and also avocado.
Oil-Free French Salad Dressing: This dressing is like the kind you may remember purchasing from the market but this gets confused with Catalina dressing which is also a beautiful orange color.
Oil-Free Tahini Salad Dressing: This recipe uses no oil but gets its creaminess from tahini (ground sesame seeds) which supplies good fats in your diet and, wait for it….. cannellini beans.
Easy Oil-Free Vinaigrette: If you’re in a rush for a delicious and easy oil-free dressing, this vinaigrette is sure to hit the spot. Made with your favorite vinegar, tamari, or light soy sauce, mustard, and don’t forget the garlic.
Oil-Free Ranch Dressing: You can keep this oil-free dressing light by using plant milk or keep it creamier with soaked raw cashews. It’s great served with a wedge of lettuce or for dipping your favorite veggies.
Thousand Island Dressing: This version of Thousand Island dressing starts with 1/2 cup tofu… You heard that right. Tofu is a great creamy substitute for mayonnaise and will keep the calories lower. You could also use 1/4 cup soaked unsalted raw cashews plus 1/4 tofu for a different take.
Oil-Free Lime Cilantro Dressing: I created this dressing to go with my Mexican Chopped Salad, but it’d be a great oil-free dressing for any salad made with, you guessed it, lime and cilantro.
Oil-Free Honey Mustard (vegan): This oil-free dressing is tangy and sweet and low in calories from the applesauce. Made without a blender you can make it in a flash. Use maple syrup if you don’t have vegan honey.
Oil-Free Orange Ginger Dressing: Oh, yes, this oil-free salad dressing is to die for so don’t waste a second before you try this. You’ll love the addition of ginger, apple cider vinegar, and a hint of tamari or light soy sauce.
Oil-Free Curried Vinaigrette: Remember, oil-free dressings also work well on grain salads such as this Curried Chickpea Rice Salad. Another easy-to-make recipe just waiting for you.
Oil-Free Asian Dressing: Another oil-free dressing that’s made for a hardier meal like this Asian Noodle Salad. The dressing is made with a little peanut butter, tamari, or light soy sauce, ginger, maple syrup, and a little chili garlic sauce to kick up the heat.
Oil-Free Waldorf Salad Dressing: Here’s another creamy oil-free dressing that’s made with cashews or you can make it with vegan mayonnaise (homemade preferred). It only has two other ingredients, lemon juice, and maple syrup, but it’s sure to hit the spot.
I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below for this oil-free salad dressing recipe roundup! If you have a photo, post it on my Instagram page, tag me using the hashtag #plantbasedcooking in your caption, and I won’t miss it!